Should we stretch before sport?

At Clifton Hill Physiotherapy we often get asked about stretching before sport. Stretching remains a hot topic of conversation and continues to be debated within peer reviewed research. It is very difficult to study as physiological requirements vary greatly between sports, and there are varying types of stretching regimes reported in the literature. Many of our clients are resuming a new spring fitness regime, so our Physiotherapist Paul Jackson, who has a special interest in exercise prescription, has looked at  some tricky questions.

Q1. Does stretching before sport prevent post exercise soreness (delayed onset muscles soreness)?
Evidence has identified that stretching does not prevent post exercise soreness. In one main study the stretching group did report less soreness but there was only a small difference.

Q2. Does stretching before sport prevent injury?
There is not enough evidence to discontinue or to advocate stretching before sport to prevent injury at this stage.

Q3. Does stretching before sport have a negative impact on sporting performance?
Further research and evidence is required to identify the impact of stretching on sporting performance. These articles are looking at stretching before sport not stretching in general. Some literature suggests that stretching may have a negative impact on power and strength components of specific sport immediately after stretching. However these studies had participants performing prolonged stretching which did not represent normal stretching times of 15-30sec. We are also only looking at stretching immediatley before sport.

With the available information would I stretch as part of my training?

Yes. Evidence has not yet proven that stretching before sport prevents injury, but it has not disproven it either. More studies need to be carried out to identify the effects of stretching on specific sporting activities.  It is commonly reported that stretching allows muscles to feel relaxed and less stiff. This allows us to begin our sports specific warm up with more comfort and efficiency. There are multiple ways to perform a stretch and stretching is a widely accepted practice in sports. So in summary the literature is not conclusive on stretching before sport, this does not mean there is not a place for it. Good motor control, flexibility and good range of movement across joints are important in sporting performance so speak with your Physiotherapist for advice on the appropriate stretching regime tailored to your sporting needs.

Herbert RD, de Noronha M, Kamper SJ. (2011). Stretching to prevent or reduce muscles soreness after exercise (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 7.

Cornwell A, Nelson A, Sidaway B. (2002). Acute effects of stretching on the neuro mechanical properties of triceps surae muscle complex. Eur J Appl Physiol. 86(5), 428-434.

Thacker S, Gilchrist J, Stroup D, Kemsey C. (2004). The impact of stretching on sports injury risk: a systematic review of the literature. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36(3), 371-378.

Congratulations to the FITZROY REDS

Congratulations to the Fitzroy Reds, a great year saw the senior team make the Grandfinal (and thus be promoted to B grade for season 2013). The senior side went down fighting in losing by 18 points to top side Parkdale in the Premier C VAFA Seniors Grand Final at the Trevor Barker Beach Oval in Sandringham.  Both the reserves and the thirds capped off successful years winning their Grandfinal’s. Well done to all the Reds, Clifton Hill Physiotherapy looks forward to continuing our relationship for the 2013 season.

Paediatric Physiotherapy at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy: Plagiocephaly (Misshapen head in babies)

Clifton Hill Physiotherapy continues to see a number of infants presenting with Plagiocephaly, or misshapen head. This is caused by children receiving pressure on the back of their heads during the first few months of their life and has become much more prevalent since the advent of the SIDs guidelines were introduced, which recommended that your child always sleep on their back.

Plagiocephaly is preventable by appropriately positioning your child’s head whilst they are sleeping and during play. However sometimes it is not easy to do and unfortunately some health practitioners are still telling parents to not worry about it and the child’s head shape will improve as they get older. Clifton Hill Physiotherapy can help.

Our clinic has begun using an innovative measuring device which is giving us an objective measure of the child’s deformity. This is making it very clear just how severe the deformity is, and provides the necessary information to plan the intervention that is required. Your physiotherapist will guide you through this process, and educate you on correct positioning, any stretches that may be required and also assist with you with any decisions regarding helmet therapy.

Welcome to our new physio Paul Jackson

Paul joins us from WA where he completed his Masters of Physiotherapy at Curtin University. He has special expertise in exercise prescription, having also completed his Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement) degree at RMIT in 2007. A keen sportsman himself Paul is passionate about sports physiotherapy and has joined Josh in providing physiotherapy services to the Fitzroy Football Club. Find out more about Paul on our practitioners page.

“Pain, Plasticity & Rehabilitation”

We are excited to announce a new course for clinicians listed for Neuro Orthopaedic Institute.

The Neuro Orthopaedic Institute (NOI), an international organisation responsible for presenting over 100 courses on pain to clinicians worldwide, has just announced a new course that will be presented for the first time in Melbourne on the 23rd and 24th of November, 2012.

The course will be presented by Brendon Haslam, one of our Physiotherapists and NOI director, Dr David Butler (co-author of “Explain Pain” and “Graded Motor Imagery”)

The course, titled “Pain, Plasticity and Rehabilitation” is aimed at health professionals treating patients with neurological dysfunction and pain. It will cover areas such as central sensitisation, graded motor imagery, sensory training and neurodynamics. Following this first running in Melbourne, it is planned to be presented throughout Australia in 2013. Further details can be found on the NOI website


Brendon’s Physiotherapy passion is helping patients with neurological dysfunction to maximise their function and improve their quality of life, particularly pain management.

We are very proud of his work in developing this course which promotes contemporary scientific concepts in managing pain in this population.

Advice From Your Physiotherapist – Get fit for winter sports!

6th August 2012

Get Fit for Winter Sports from Clifton Hill Physiotherapy!

With the arrival of August we find ourselves well and truly in the classic ‘peak’ of the Southern Hemisphere snow season. At Clifton Hill Physiotherapy some of us have been lucky to enjoy a ski already. For those of you planning on heading to the mountains, in particular those who are looking to participate in snow sports, it is worthwhile ensuring that you are well prepared in order maximise your enjoyment and appreciation of our beautiful alpine environment, as well minimise your risk of personal injury! So here are a few tips from us at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy to help you along.

The best way to avoid many injuries incurred through participation in winter snow sports is to maintain an adequate level of fitness year round. In addition to this, a conditioning program that specifically targets increasing the strength, endurance and coordination of muscles and movements for your chosen winter sports will be of further benefit and should ideally be undertaken at least three times a week for six weeks. Our Physios at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy can help with preparation or any skiing or snowboarding injuries. The following is a small sample of exercises that can be undertaken at home with minimal equipment to condition for alpine and cross country skiing, as well as snowboarding.

• Wall squats
• Stair Climbing
• Jumps (side to side)
• Box Jumps
• Calf raises
• Knee Tucks with fitball
• Ski Pole with Theraband

In addition to being physically prepared, consideration of the following will result in a superior alpine experience:

• Ensure that you bring plenty of layers of insulating clothing to trap more body heat than one bulky layer. This also allows you to add or subtract layers according to your comfort.
• Avoid getting wet. Wear outer layers that are waterproof and ‘breathable’ (i.e. allow moisture produced by sweating to escape).
• ‘Pit zips’ on jackets and zips on pants are useful to release heat when one is exerting oneself excessively and in dangers of overheating.
• ‘Powder skirts’ are a useful feature in jackets to ensure that snow does not go up your jacket on falling in loose snow as this would otherwise make you cold and wet when it is melted by your body heat.
• Take spare gloves, socks and hat in case the ones you are wearing get wet.
• Wear appropriate footwear (such as insulated and waterproof shoes) and wear a blend sock that ‘wicks’ sweat away from the skin.
• Make sure all footwear fits you properly.
• Additional equipment such as helmets, wrist and knee guards or ‘body armor’ padding may be useful to prevent serious injuries from falls. ‘Lids on kids’ is a program that has been developed to promote the use of helmets in winter sports to decrease the risk of head injuries.

For more information click here:

• Wear close-fitting sunglasses or goggles that meet the Australian Standard AS1067.

• Be aware that you are exposed to UV radiation even on cold and cloudy days. Apply broad spectrum 30+ sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin. Reapply regularly.
• Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. Warm up thoroughly before playing your chosen winter sport. Remember to take cold temperatures into account and spend more time warming up than usual.
• In downhill snow sports obey the alpine responsibility code and any rules of the mountain.
• Know your ability and always stay in control and be able to stop and avoid other people or objects. It is your responsibility to stay in control on the ground and in the air.
• Take lessons from qualified professional instructors to learn and progress.
• As you proceed downhill or overtake another person, you must avoid the people the people below and beside you.
• Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or run or are not visible from above.
• When entering a trail or run or starting off downhill, look uphill and give way to others.
• When riding chairlifts always use the restraining devices. Always use suitable restraints to avoid runaway ski/snowboard equipment. Ensure your equipment is in good condition.
• Observe and obey all signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails or runs and out of closed areas.
• Before using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
• Do not ski, snowboard, ride a lift or undertake any other alpine activity if your ability is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
• If you are involved in, or witness an accident, alert Ski Patrol, remain at the scene and identify yourself to Ski Patrol.

• When using terrain parks demonstrate appropriate etiquette. ‘Smart Style’ is a set of guidelines for this that was designed in America by Burton Snowboards and the National Ski Areas Association. The simple messages of this are:
• Look before you leap – obey signs, scope around jumps first, use a spotter when necessary
• Easy style it – know your limits and stay in control
• Respect gets respect – wait your turn and call your start, only one person at a time on each feature, clear the landing quickly

For more information on for exercising in alpine environments visit:

For a program that is specific to your Winter Sport Goals make an appointment with Cathy, our Sports Physiotherapist at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy who is a Certified Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding Instructor.

Time to get up and get moving

With the increasing roles of computers and other technology in our life we are all spending too much time sitting. In fact among those with sedentary occupations it is not unusual to be seated for up to 8 hours per day. At Clifton Hill Physiotherapy we regularily encounter clients with back and neck pain directly related to prolonged sitting. Alarmingly two recent studies have also found that prolonged sitting times are  related to mortality and chronic disease. Dr. Van der Ploeg and colleagues from the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney in a study of over 200,000 people found a strong relationship between long periods of sitting and death. Disturbingly, this relationship did not change for those who combined long periods of sitting and regular physical activity.  However Katzmarzyk and Lee recently published an article in the British Medical Journal demonstrating a 2 year increase in life expectancy in those who limited their sitting to less than three hours per day.

Do you feel like standing up yet?

Our experienced physiotherapists at Clifton Hill Physiotherapy  can help with a comprehensive assessment, sensible advice and an exercise program to get you moving !

Hidde P. van der Ploeg, Tien Chey,; Rosemary J. Korda, Emily Banks,; Adrian Bauman, MBBS, Sitting Time and All-Cause Mortality Risk in 222 497 Australian Adults Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(6):494-500.

 Peter T Katzmarzyk, I-Min Lee Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis BMJ Open 2012;

Winter Breakfast Dry Needling

Our Physiotherapists have just enjoyed an early breakfast at Caulfield Racecourse, updating our knowledge on Dry Needling. Dry Needling is the use of specific needles for treatment of muscle or nerve pain and myofascial trigger points. Dr Peter Selvaratnum gave an entertaining and insightful presentation discussing the increasing body of evidence for the different chemical effects of dry needling.
Our Physiotherapists are trained and accredited to safely provide dry needling as an adjunct to comprehensive patient management. The hot coffee and views of beautiful horses on the track topped a great morning.

Footy is back

Footy is back and Josh has resumed his post as Physiotherapist for the Fitzroy Football club. He is following up on our intensive  pre season  screening of the senior players. Liz has made an impressive start in the cut throat CHP footy tips, although Sarah is looking like another Dark Horse…..

Good luck to ‘ The Reds’ this year.