Remote effects of a 7-week combined stretching and foam rolling training intervention of the plantar foot sole on the function and structure of the triceps surae

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  • Andreas Konrad
  • Marina Maren Reiner
  • Anna Gabriel
  • Konstantin Warneke
  • Masatoshi Nakamura
  • Markus Tilp

It is known that a single bout of foam rolling (FR) or stretching can induce changes in range of motion (ROM) and performance in non-directly adjoining areas of the dorsal chain (i.e., remote effects). However, to date, it is not known if such effects exist following long-term interventions. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the remote effects of a 7-week combined stretching and FR training intervention of the plantar foot sole. Thirty-eight recreational athletes were randomly assigned to either an intervention (n = 20) or control (n = 18) group. The intervention group performed stretching and FR exercises of the plantar foot sole for 7 weeks. Before and after the intervention, the dorsiflexion ankle ROM, passive resistive torque at maximum angle (PRTmax) and at a fixed angle, as well as maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) torque, were measured with a dynamometer. Gastrocnemius medialis and lateralis stiffness was assessed with shear wave elastography. The results showed no interaction effect for any of the parameters. There was a time effect indicating an increase in MVIC and PRTmax, which was more pronounced in the intervention group (+ 7.4 (95% CI 2.5–12.4), + 4.5 (95% CI − 0.2–9.2)) than the control group (+ 3.6 (95% CI − 1.4–8.6), + 4.0 (95% CI − 2.2 to 10.2)). The results indicate no or minor remote effects of combined stretching and FR of the foot sole in the ankle joint. Potential non-significant changes in ROM were accompanied with an increase in stretch tolerance, but not with changes in muscle structure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1645-1653
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 08.2023

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by a grant (Project P 32078-B) from the Austrian Science Fund FWF.
Open access funding provided by Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
Publisher Copyright: © 2023, The Author(s).