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How can stretching be making things worse, even if it feels good? By Marathon Physio Lucy Macdonald


Why should I not be static stretching?

We have already covered the fact that static stretching before or during exercise not only has no benefits, but it could also increase your chance of injury. This is because stretching reduces the reaction time of muscles and this delay in responding to an obstacle could lead to injury.


Can stretching help my tendon pain?

If you have pain in your tendons – previously called tendinitis’ and now called tendinopathies – you should not statically stretch them because research shows that this can make them worse long term. This may be counter-intuitive because stretching can feel great at the time. 

Tendinopathies are a common cause of pain in runners. Here are the most common running related tendinopathies and what stretches not to do if you think you might have one:

  • Don’t do calf stretches if you have an Achilles tendinopathy – pain at the bottom of your calf.
  • Don’t do quads stretches if you have a quadriceps or patella tendinopathy – pain above or below the knee cap.
  • Don’t do a glutes stretch if you have a glutes tendinopathy – pain at the side of your hip.
  • Don’t do hamstring stretches if you have pain in your hamstring tendons – by your bottom or at the back of your knee. 


What should I do instead of stretching?

Unfortunately stretches are one of the most common exercises that are given to people with tendon pain, removing them and replacing them with appropriate loading exercises can have an immediate positive effect.

Get in touch with Lucy and her physio team if you are not sure if you should be doing the stretches you have been given.


More marathon physio advice 

Follow @octopusclinic on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and/or Lucy Macdonald on YouTube to access our latest free videos on marathon training and injury prevention. If you would like our marathon handbook and are running for charity please contact Lucy Macdonald directly on lucymacdonaldphysio@hotmail.co.uk or if you would like to get the video course Your Marathon: Your Physio please click on the link. 

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