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Acute Effects of the Dry Needling Session on Gastrocnemius Muscle Biomechanical Properties, and Perfusion with Latent Trigger Points – A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial in Mixed Martial Arts Athletes

J Sports Sci Med. 2024 Mar 1;23(1):136-146. doi: 10.52082/jssm.2024.136. eCollection 2024 Mar.


The study aimed to evaluate the immediate effects of a dry needling (DN) therapy session on biomechanical properties, muscle power, perfusion, and pressure pain threshold of the gastrocnemius muscle with latent trigger points. Twenty mixed martial arts athletes (MMA) were randomly divided into two groups: experimental (eDN, n = 10) and sham (qDN, n = 10) to undergo one session of DN either with a real or a qazi needle. The measurements were taken at rest, 1-5 minutes after the DN (Post1-5min) and 24h after the DN (Post24h). DN significantly increased the muscle perfusion (Post1-5min and Post24h, p < 0.001), reduced its tone (Post1-5min and Post24h, p < 0.001) and stiffness (Post1-5min, p < 0.05; Post24 h, p < 0.001), and improved its elasticity (Post1-5min and Post24h, p < 0.001). DN also caused a significant increase in pressure pain threshold (Post1-5min, p < 0.001; Post24h, p < 0.05) and in muscle power (Post24h, p < 0.01). The DN session increased the blood perfusion and improved the biomechanical properties of the gastrocnemius muscle, which led to improved muscle power. The DN also had an analgesic effect. These effects were maintained at 24 h, which suggests that DN could facilitate muscle recovery in a post-exercise period of MMA athletes.

PMID:38455447 | PMC:PMC10915622 | DOI:10.52082/jssm.2024.136


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