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The Effects of Dry Needling on Hamstring Range of Motion: A Critically Appraised Topic

J Sport Rehabil. 2023 Sep 28:1-5. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2023-0167. Online ahead of print.


CLINICAL SCENARIO: Hamstring range of motion (ROM) and the influence it has on injury risk is among great discussion in the literature. Hamstring injury may result from hamstring tightness, poor flexibility, or decreased ROM, and many argue that this can be prevented through various intervention strategies. In active populations, risk of further injury, pain, and complications throughout the kinetic chain can occur if minimal hamstring ROM is left untreated. One therapeutic intervention that has been applied to varying parts of the body to help improve function while relieving pain is dry needling (DN). This intervention includes the application of needles to structures to induce responses that might benefit healing and overall stimulation of a neurological response. In this review, the intent is to identify evidence and the effects of DN on hamstring ROM.

CLINICAL QUESTION: What are the effects of DN on hamstring ROM?

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS: Among total 11 articles, 1 single-blinded randomized controlled trial and 2 double-blinded randomized controlled trials were included in this critically appraised topic. All 3 articles had inconclusive evidence to isolate the application of the DN intervention. There was insufficient evidence to identify if DN independently improved hamstring ROM; however, in combination with interventions such as exercise and stretch plans, there were improvements on ROM.

CLINICAL BOTTOM LINE: DN does not significantly increase or decrease the ROM of the hamstrings. When combined with exercise and stretch plans, DN could increase ROM.

STRENGTH OF RECOMMENDATION: The grade of B is recommended by the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy for inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence.

PMID:37770064 | DOI:10.1123/jsr.2023-0167


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