A British Medical Journal study found that pre-event stretching does not reduce the overall risk of injury. However, stretching does slightly reduce the risk of specific kinds of damage (injuries to muscles, ligaments and tendons). These soft tissue injuries are common in both elite and recreational sportspeople. It seems reasonable and common sense that stretching may not prevent you suffering a broken bone or a joint dislocation, but it could reduce your chance of a soft tissue injury.
The other main finding was that stretching reduces the risk of experiencing soreness, which always makes exercising more enjoyable!
While sustained stretches in isolation may not be the answer, other studies have shown that warming up does reduce your injury rate. While there is no “absolutely proven”method of warming up yet, the preferred options appear to be a graduated progression to prepare you for your sport. In simple terms, warm-up steadily from gentle exercises that increase in intensity and speed as you progress through your warm-up period.
It makes common sense for you to warm things up slowly to start and then prepare with replicate skills, to what you will require shortly on the field, at the end of your warm-up.
For more specific warm-up and injury prevention advice particular to your sport or work, please ask your physiotherapist to prescribe a warm-up and warm-down routine specific to you and your sport or physical activity.