What Are The effects of Foam Rolling? Article of The Week #4

Every Monday you will find a top quality research study summarised for you here on Physiospot. The articles are chosen as  they are high quality and high impact and likely to shape your clinical practice. After all it’s difficult finding the gems in all the research that’s published daily. So let us do the hard work for you. 

The key to understanding how and why foam rolling works is fascia. Fascia is an important component of connective tissue which encases muscles forming connective chains. It is proposed that through stress or injury fascia can stiffen and cause dysfunction and pain. Foam rolling, a type of myofascial release, is a popular treatment technique which has been suggested to cause golgi tendon organs to detect sensations of altered tension in the musculature, eliciting relaxation of muscle fibres.

Over the past decade there has been an ever increasing number of publications investigating foam rolling as a treatment modality with all sorts of conflicting conclusions. The aim of this systematic review is to amalgramate this evidence and form more firm conclusions about the effectiveness of foam rolling as a treatment choice.

Clinical Implications

The results of this systematic review suggests that there is a positive effect on range of motion in the short term however the longer-term benefits are unknown and yet to be quantified. There is little evidence to suggest that there is a performance enhancing effect in the athetic population. Overall it is probably useful to aid recovery but not likely to be more effective than other common modalities such as stretching or heat.

Foam rolling is really popular in runners. Why not learn why this is the case with our running biomechanics course?

Running Biomechanics

Running is one of the most popular sports in the world due to its low cost and the low barriers to participation. It is an exercise that is also linked to weight management and improving cardiovascular capacity. However, about 93% of runners will experience MSK injuries associated with their participation in the activity. As physiotherapists, we can help our clients to identify the mechanical causes of injuries, guide them through the management process and hopefully help them to optimize their athletic potential while avoiding injury.

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