In this Foam Rolling 101 we let you know how you can get the best from these secret weapons for a painless, happier body. Foam rollers essentially look like large noodles, but they’re brilliant. They not only work on releasing soft tissue but they also work on breaking down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. They also improve blood circulation throughout your skin, fascia, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
What are foam rollers used for?
The cylindrical roller can be used to perform a self-massage to release and break up trigger points and tight fascia whilst increasing blood circulation to surrounding soft tissue by using one’s own body weight. A superficial fascia is a soft connective tissue located just below the skin – it connects muscles, bones, nerve and blood vessels of the body together. This fascia combined with muscles make up the myofascial system, which can become ‘stuck together’ from muscle disuse, inadequate amount of stretching and from previous or current injuries. When this happens it’s called a soft tissue adhesion. It results in restricted movement, pain along the myofascial system and surrounding joints as well as stiffness and soreness with activation. Releasing this adhesion is done through a ‘myofascial release’ which is a technique used to soften and lengthen fascia and break down scar tissue or adhesions between skin, muscles and bone. This is done by producing a sustained pressure on the soft tissue whilst applying traction to the fascia.
Things to be aware of when foam rolling:
– Make sure you understand the technique before use (come and see us if you’re unsure)
– Don’t push through the pain
– Be aware of nerves located near muscles – if the pain is too painful, you start to get pins and needles, numbness and weakness in the surrounding muscles, please stop!
The Iliotibial Band (ITB)
The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is a band of fascia on the outside of your upper leg. When it is tight it can cause knee and hip pain.
– Lie side on with the affected side on the foam roller, rest your upper body through your forearm. With your unaffected leg, place over the affected side and place the full surface of your foot on the ground. Start with the foam roller just above your knee and roll back and forth slowly for 30 seconds to just below your hip bone. For further pressure, place the unaffected leg on top of the affected side.
Tight quadriceps can pull on your patellar tendons (tendons that attach to the knee) causing pain around the knee and surrounding structures.
– Lie on your stomach with the roller placed under your thighs. Hold your body straight and rest your upper body through your forearms. Roll yourself back and forth slowly from just above your knee to just below your hip bone. For further pressure bend your knees.
A tight Thoracic Spine can cause pain throughout the middle of the back and between shoulder blades. This can result in stiffness and reduced range of movement.
– Lie on your back and place the foam roller beneath your upper back, near your shoulder blades. Bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the ground. Place hands behind your head or wrapped around your chest. Before commencement brace your abs and buttocks (to lift body off the ground). Slowly work the roller for 30 seconds up and down your upper back (near shoulder blades) to around the middle of your back (not to lower back).