Monday, September 15, 2008
The Foam Roller Revisited
The foam roller is an excellent, inexpensive piece of workout equipment that can be used to mobilize tight muscles, increase flexibility, and prevent injury. It can also be used for a number of core strength exercises. There is a great link to the Perform Better website that outlines a number of exercises that can be performed on the foam roller: http://www.performbetter.com/catalog/assets/Exercisesheets/PDF/FoamRoller.pdf
The number one injury that we use the foam roller for is Ilio-tibial Band Syndrome (ITB Syndrome). We see many runners and athletes that have lateral knee pain or hip pain that is due to or at least in part by an IT Band that is full of adhesions and trigger points. Usually, these restrictions are the result of some other impairment or muscle imbalance (weak gluteals or hip stabilizers, shoes, leg length discrepancies, cycling mechanics, etc.)
During rehabilitation, we have patients perform ITBand release techniques daily. We start out with 1-2 minutes of rolling and progress to 5-10 minutes. The first few times usually are not very comfortable especially if a person has multiple trigger points or "hot" spots. We will instruct clients to roll until you "feel" a hot spot and hold at that point for 15-20 seconds and then continue rolling.
We recommend after rehabilitation is complete performing foam roller muscle release exercises 1-2 times or more (depending on the person) per week to keep tissues and muscles flexible.
In the future, we will post video of several myofascial release techniques using the foam roller.