What is a foam roller?
A foam roller is a cylindrical piece of foam that can be used to aid self-massage and myofascial release. Your physical therapist may have prescribed some self massage to help you continue to heal after your visit to them.
How do I use a foam roller?
There are various techniques that can be used with a foam roller.
Simply rolling the muscle over the roller is the obvious one. Roll the muscle slowly up and down in the direction of the muscle you want to massage between the joints.
Cross fibre friction can be performed at the muscle attachments but putting weight on the roller just below the joint and then moving the muscle in a cross-ways direction.
Trigger points can be released by using the edge or corner of the roller in the ‘knot’ or tension point of the muscle. Apply even pressure or gently move over the spot until the tension has eased. Alternatively you can use a tennis ball or spikes ball on easy to reach tension points.
Not only is it a good way to release sore muscles when they’re injured, it’s a great technique to include in your exercise routine warming up and stretching after to prevent injury.
Get tips on rolling and the muscle you’ve injured from your physical therapist.
Does it hurt?
Foam rolling can be intense. Go slowly and at your own pain tolerance level. Going beyond that, you may be injuring yourself further. After using a foam roller, look after yourself like you’ve had a massage. Rest, drink plenty of water, take an epsom salt bath to help your muscles recover. You may be a bit sore the next day, but like your muscles have had a work out, rather than the initial injury.