Effect of Dry Needling on Thigh Muscle Strength and Hip Flexion in Elite Soccer Players



Effect of Dry Needling on Thigh Muscle Strength and Hip Flexion in Elite Soccer Players


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PURPOSE: Increase in muscle force, endurance and flexibility is desired in elite athletes in order to improve performance and avoid injuries but often hindered by occurence of myofascial trigger points. Dry needling (DN) has been shown effective in eliminating myofascial trigger points. METHODS: This randomized controlled study in 30 elite youth soccer players of a professional soccer Bundesliga Club investigated the effects of four weekly sessions of DN plus water-pressure-massage on thigh muscle force and range-of-motion of hip flexion. A group receiving placebo-LASER plus water-pressure-massage and a group with no intervention served as controls. Data was collected at baseline (M1), treatment end (M2) and four-week follow-up (M3). Furthermore a 5-month muscle injury follow-up was performed. RESULTS: DN showed significant improvement of muscular endurance of knee extensors at M2 (p=0.039) and M3 (p=0.008) compared to M1 (M1:294.6+/-15.4nm/s, M2:311+/-25Nm/s; M3:316.0+/-28.6nm/s) and knee flexors at M2 compared to M1 (M1:163.5+/-10.9Nm/s, M2:188.5+/-16.3Nm/s) as well as hip flexion (M1:81.5+/-3.3 degrees , M2:89.8+/-2.8 degrees ; M3:91.8+/-3.8 degrees ). Compared to placebo (3.8+/-3.8 degrees ) and control (1.4+/-2.9 degrees ) DN (10.3+/-3.5 degrees ) showed a significant (p=0.01 and p=0.0002) effect at M3 compared to M1 on hip flexion; compared to non-treatment control (-10+/-11.9Nm) DN (5.2+/-10.2Nm) also significantly (p=0.049) improved maximum force of knee extensors at M3 compared to M1. During the rest of the season muscle injuries were less frequent in the DN group compared to control groups. CONCLUSION: DN showed a significant effect on muscular endurance and hip flexion range-of-motion that persisted 4 weeks post-treatment. Compared to placebo it showed a significant effect on hip flexion that persisted 4 weeks post-treatment and compared to non-intervention control a significant effect on maximum force of knee extensors 4 weeks post-treatment in elite soccer players.





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