Contraindications to stretching

  The following should be kept in mind as contraindications to stretching: 

Joint Instability

Joint instability can be the result of a prior dislocation, fracture, or sprain. Get advice from your physical therapist or orthopaedic surgeon before stretching an area of previous injury.

Diseases Affecting the Tissues Being Stretched

Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can leave joint structures weakened. Those with connective tissue disorders also have altered connective tissue viscoelastic properties. Stretching  can lead to disability, instability or deformity.

Acute Injury

Consult a physical therapist prior to initiating a stretching program as scar tissue takes time to mature. Premature stretching can cause reinjury and the deposition of more scar tissue prolonging the rehabilitation process.

Vascular injury

Talk to your surgeon if you are recovering from a vascular trauma or are on anticoagulants. Premature or excessive stretching can lead to further vascular injury and thromboembolism.


Consult your family doctor prior to stretcing an area that is infected to avoid tissue damage or spread of the infection.

Excessive Pain When Stretching

If stretching is excessively painful you may be suffering from an underlying medical condition. See your family doctor or physical therapist.

Inflammation or Joint Effusion

 Be careful when starting a stretching program around an area of inflammation. Inflammation can change the viscoelastic properties of connective tissues and can cause injury if not undertaken correctly. Aggressively stretching a joint with an effusion can damage capsular structures. See your physical therapist.

For Stretching Precautions click here.