Foam Rolling

The Who

What is Foam Rolling?

Foam rolling is a method in which a foam roller is used to release myofascial tightness.  It is a very cost effective and simple technique to learn, and a great adjunct to stretching to maintain and improve one’s mobility.  While stretching increases the length of muscles, foam rolling improves the tone of the muscle.  This helps to restore mobility to joints and tissues, decreases pain and facilitates recovery from injuries 

The Problem

When should I consider foam rollling as a treatment?

Scar tissue, adhesions and tightness develop in many ways, whether it is more significant injuries, such as from trauma, or via less serious injuries, such as repetitive stress and postural dysfunctions.  This tightness needs to be dealt with in order to restore proper function and mechanics to the body.

Muscles need to have sufficient strength, but also sufficient pliability as well.  Whether you are a rugby player, yoga instructor or office worker, it is important to not only have strength, but to also have optimal function through a full range of motion. 

Scar tissue, adhesions and tightness can result in:

  • Hamstring strains
  • Calf strains
  • Lower back injuries
  • Supraspinatus and biceps strains
  • Chronic poor posture
  • Repetitive tendon injuries
  • Neck pain
  • Patello-femoral Pain Syndrome
  • Ilio-tibial Band Friction Syndrome
  • And many other conditions!

Techniques such as Active Release Techniques (ART) and Augmented Soft Tissue Mobilization (ASTYM) have shown to be effective in the treatment and release of scar tissue and adhesions.  It is a common and effective complement to ASTYM and ART.

The Solution

Foam rolling offers patients an inexpensive, effective and convenient method  to reduce scar tissue, breakdown adhesions and improve tissue tone.  A patient will use their body weight between the roller and the soft tissue being addressed.  The patient will roll along the length of the tissue, back and forth.  When a tender spot is found, the more time spent rolling on those areas will serve to decrease the degree of pain and tenderness in the specified region. 

Foam rolling is frequently prescribed to patients by our in-house physiotherapists here at Vancouver Physiotherapy and Sports clinic as an adjunct to our other modalities as part of the patient’s overall physiotherapy management.

There are different types of foam roller with different densities.  Some are smooth; others have ridges or are wrapped around hard PVC tubing.

For more information on Foam Rolling and what type of foam roller may be appropriate for you, contact us for a consultation at 604-739-5626 or through our email address:

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This article contains references from Eric Cressey’s article on Foam Rolling.