Fast-forward to 2011. I've now met quite a few doctors who have informed me that I'm hypermobile. Hypermobility essentially means what it sounds like - my joints have a lot of motion around them. No one PT actually suggested that I stop stretching so much, but one did tell me to maybe focus on foam rolling instead of stretching. The difference, to me, is that with stretching, you are lengthening the muscles and with foam-rolling, you're just hunting for knots and using pressure to release them.
This coincided with an article I had recently read by my hunky orthopedic hero, Dr. P. It's about a very interesting study done on runners concerning the pre-run stretch, but it essentially boils down to this. There was no difference in injury between the group of runners that stretched before a run and the group that did not. The only point from the article is that the runners that changed their habits - started or stopped stretching for the study - had a higher risk of injury.
Now, of course, I should have read that article and taken away the point about changing my habits. However, over the summer I actually ran very low mileage, after taking quite a bit of time off to deal with the pain in my ass. I've never stretched when going out for a 2- or 3-mile run, so for most of the summer, I wasn't stretching, and didn't feel like I needed to. As I've ramped up my mileage, I haven't returned to pre-running stretching. I still spend quite a bit of time on the foam roller as needed, but I don't stretch very much. At some point I discussed this with my PT, and he gave me the okay to continue to leave the stretching out. My weekly mileage has been in the 20-30 range for the past two months, without stretching, and I feel great. My shin pain is completely gone, and actually went away once I stopped stretching my calves all the time. Coincidence?
So, of course I'm curious. Do you stretch before running? Do you just foam roll? Are you not-so-secretly in love with your orthopedist too?