Calf Dry Needling Improves Overhead Squat Depth
Dry needling is a commonly utilized Physical Therapy intervention which targets taught, tender bands of muscle tissue. This effective treatment has been previously shown to reduce muscle pain and improve muscle performance and function. In our Boulder Physical Therapy clinic we commonly see an immediate improvement in muscle length and mobility following the dry needling intervention. A recent study examined the effectiveness of dry needling on functional movement.
Lake and colleagues enrolled 30 healthy males into their study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (2018). Participants were then randomized to one of three groups: calf dry needling, stretching, or dry needling and stretching. Each participant performed a series of lower quarter functional movements both before and after the treatment, as well as, 4 days post treatment. Authors reported a significant increase in overhead squat depth following dry needling of the calf musculature. This effect is likely secondary to improved ankle bend or dorsiflexion allowing each participant to squat deeper on reassessment. No significant differences were noted in the Y balance functional testing.