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March 2020

Paraffin therapy induces a decrease in the passive stiffness of gastrocnemius muscle belly and Achilles tendon – A randomized controlled trial

Authors: Li Ya Peng 1, Feng Ya Nan 1, Liu Chun Long 2, Zhang Zhi Jie 1

Author information:

  1. Rehabilitation Therapy Center, Luoyang Orthopedic Hospital of Henan Province, Luoyang, China
  2. Clinical Medical College of Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Rehabilitation, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China

Journal: Medicine - March 2020, Volume 99, Issue 12 - p e19519 (DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000019519)

Background: The purposes of this study were to examine the feasibility of using the MyotonPRO digital palpation device in measuring the passive stiffness of gastrocnemius muscle belly and Achilles tendon; to determine between-days test–retest reliability of MyotonPRO; and to evaluate the acute effect of paraffin therapy on stiffness measurements in healthy participants.

Methods: It is a randomized controlled trial. Twenty healthy participants (male, n = 10; female, n = 10; total, n = 20) were recruited to evaluate the passive stiffness of gastrocnemius muscle belly and Achilles tendon. Dominant and non-dominant legs were randomly divided into an experimental side (20 cases) and a control side (20 cases). The experimental side received 20 minutes of paraffin therapy.

Results: The stiffness of muscle and tendon in the experimental side decreased significantly after paraffin therapy (P < .01), whereas no significant differences in stiffness measurements were found in the control side (P > .05). The passive stiffness of muscle and tendon was positively correlated with the ankle from 30° plantar flexion to10° dorsiflexion for dominant legs. Between-days test–retest reliability in stiffness measurements was high or very high (ICCs were above 0.737).

Paraffin therapy induces a decrease in the passive stiffness of gastrocnemius muscle belly and AT. The MyotonPRO can reliably determine the mechanical properties of gastrocnemius muscle belly and AT tissue. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the effect of the paraffin therapy on the human MTU stiffness to prevent the occurrence of the sports injury and improve athletic performance.

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