January 2023

Effect of Active Stretching and Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization on the Hip Joint Range of Motion and Stiffness of the Tensor Fascia Lata in Subjects with Shortened Tensor Fascia Lata

Authors: Jin-yong Lim 1, Suk-ho Nam 2, Kyoung-don Kim 3


  1. Department of Physical Therapy, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Daegu University, Daegu, Korea
  2. Department of Physical Therapy, Himsen Hospital, Daegu, Korea
  3. Department of Physical Therapy, Deagu Health College, Daegu, Korea

Journal: Journal of Musculoskeletal Science and Technology - December 2022, Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 43-50 (DOI: 10.29273/jmst.2022.6.2.43)

Background: Various therapeutic methods have been suggested to increase the flexibility of shortened muscles in patients with knee pain. However, no previous study has directly compared the hip joint range of motion (ROM) and muscle stiffness as a mechanical property following the active stretching (AS) and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) for shortened tensor fascia lata (TFL).

Purpose: To compare the effects of AS and IASTM on hip joint ROM and TFL stiffness in subjects with shortened TFL.

Study design: Two groups pre- and post-test design.

Methods: Twenty healthy male subjects with shortened TFL were selected. The subjects were randomized between the AS group (n=10) and the IASTM group (n=10). A smartphone was used to measure the hip joint adduction ROM and MyotonPRO was used to measure the TFL stiffness. Paired t-test was performed to analyze the within-group variation before and after the intervention, and an independent t-test was used to compare the between-group variation.

Results: In the within-group comparison, both the AS and IASTM groups showed a significant increase in the hip joint adduction ROM after the intervention, whereas neither group showed a significant difference in the TFL stiffness after the intervention. In the between-group comparison, a greater increase in the hip joint adduction ROM was observed for the AS group compared to the IASTM group.

Conclusions: This study found that the hip adduction ROM of the subjects with TFL shortness increased immediately in both AS group and IASTM group, although the TFL stiffness was not decreased. And the greater increase of the hip adduction ROM was revealed in AS group than IASTM group.


Keywords: active stretching, MyotonPRO, soft tissue mobilization, stiffness, tensor fascia lata

Our findings verified the immediate effects of the AS and IASTM in increasing the hip joint adduction ROM in subjects with shortened TFL, although the TFL stiffness was not reduced. Importantly, the increase in hip joint adduction ROM was increased to a greater extent by the AS compared to the IASTM. Therefore, our findings suggest that the AS is more effective than the IASTM to immediately increase the flexibility of the shortened TFL.