A critical evaluation of percussion massage gun devices as a rehabilitation tool focusing on lower limb mobility: A literature review
Aims In recent years there has been a significant rise in the popularity of muscle gun devices. However, the current research regarding handheld muscle gun devices is unclear. Therefore, this literature review will explore the current literature regarding the effect of muscle gun device on lower limb range of motion, muscle activation, force output and the possibility of reducing delayed onset muscle soreness. Methods Four databases were used along with two academic search engines to search for studies that satisfied the inclusion criteria. To fulfil the inclusion criteria studies had to be of a pre-post design with a focus on the use of percussion massage devices on lower limbs. Studies exploring range of motion and muscle force output were of particular interest. Results Thirty-nine included studies were used in this literature review. It was found that handheld percussive massage devices are the most effective method of increasing lower limb range of motion compared to foam rolling and other self-myofascial protocols. The use of handheld percussive massage devices directly after exercise reduces delayed onset muscle soreness. However, there was no reported significant increase in muscle activation or force output following the usage of a handheld percussive massage device. Conclusion The use of muscle gun devices is recommended as part of a structured warm-up pre-exercise due to an increase in range of motion, reduction in perceived muscle soreness whilst having no negative impact on muscle activation and force output. Muscle guns may also be implemented as part of a rehabilitation programme post injury due to their ability to increase range of motion and reduce perceived pain and muscle soreness.