On a (foam) roll

I have a bit of tightness in my right ITB.  It mainly hurts when I kneel (and hit that bit of excess fluid), but I find it annoying.  I’ve had it off and and for years and everyone has always recommended stretching to treat it.  I have trouble stretching this band which frustrated me no-end.  The best way I’ve found is to lie on the island counter in my kitchen facing toward the center of island.  Then I drop the top leg backward off the edge of counter and let gravity pull the leg down a bit.  This stretches the band a bit, but not enough to help much.  And, seriously, lying on my kitchen counter means I’m likely to get some kind of stain all over me.

Recently I read a suggestion to use a foam roller to roll out the tight band.  The technique is known as self myofascial release. Fascia are connective tissue (like ligaments and tendons) that surrounds muscles, giving some support and protection.

Sport Fitness Advisor explains:

According to many therapists, trigger points in the fascia can restrict or alter the motion about a joint resulting in a change of normal neural feedback to the central nervous system. Eventually, the neuromuscular system becomes less efficient, leading to premature fatigue, chronic pain and injury and less efficient motor skill performance. An athlete’s worst nightmare!

The theory of SMR is that sore spots (trigger points) can exist in the fascia before injury occurs in the muscle.  Treat these trigger points to heal/prevent the muscle injury associated with it. To do so, you use a foam roller, a massage stick, or a tennis ball (at home, I use a rolling pin!) and gently roll through the muscle.  When you find a sore spot, you stop and hold the spot until the pain decreases.  Check out the cute demonstration of the massage technique.

So last week, I gave it shot.  Let me just say.. when they say “this may be PAINFUL FOR MANY”.. they are not kidding!  About half of each leg nearly screams as I slowly roll my way up and down the sides of my legs.  It’s a strange kind of torture.  But my legs are feeling better and the extra fluid around the knee seems to be decreasing.

Seems like something I can add to my routine under the “be good to myself” heading.


2 responses to “On a (foam) roll

  1. I really find that foam rollers help me as well (it could never be the aging process which makes me need it, right??).

  2. Aging Process??

    What is that? I know not of what you speak…

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