We all know that it hurts!! But what happens to the body when we use a roller?

You use your own body mass to exert pressure on the soft tissue – a form of self massage. 

What foam rolling CAN do:
  • Reduce the discomfort associated with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) by reducing our pain pressure threshold (PPT). This is the minimum pressure we can tolerate before we feel pain. I.e. a higher PPT indicates increased muscle soreness. 
  • This reduction in DOMS may lead to a short term enhanced performance for individuals in sport who have limited rest periods. For example: sprint speed and power.
  • It can facilitate lactate removal
  • It can reduce oedema 
  • It can increase blood flow
  • It can lead to SHORT TERM increase in joint range of motion
  • It can alter our SENSATION of stiffness/tightness through modulatory changes within our nervous system.
What foam rolling CANNOT DO:
  • Lead to long term changes in muscle length or flexibility
  • Lengthen of stretch fascia
  • Break down scar tissue
  • Break down adhesions
= The above are very strong structures and it is very unlikely that foam rolling will have an effect. 

In summary, foam rolling is a great adjunct to a regular static and dynamic stretching program. However, it is should never be used as a SUBSTITUTE to regular stretching and the effects are often short term.

I do advise foam rolling to my patients and I do use one myself regularly. 


Thanks for reading.

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Our clinic is based at 5 Upper Wimpole Street in Marylebone and we can be reached on 0207 935 7344 weekdays from 8am - 6pm.

Wimpole Street Physiotherapy Clinic

5 Upper Wimpole Street
Marylebone, London

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