The role of Foam Rolling!

Foam rolling knee

Knee Anatomy

How can Foam Rolling help your knee pain?

Foam rolling has become very fashionable in the fitness and sporting arenas in recent times, however there is still considerable debate to its’ effectiveness and when it should be used, especially in relation to Runners Knee or Anterior Knee Pain.

Runners Knee or anterior knee pain are terms used to describe 2 common overuse injuries of the knee. Both conditions develop due to poor biomechanics of the knee and patella-femoral joint which places abnormal loads on the vulnerable knee structures.

There are usually several factors contributing to the problem including tightness in the lateral thigh structures – ITB and lateral quadricep and associated weakness of the gluteal and medial quadricep muscles (VMO)

What is the Iliotibial Band (ITB)?

It must be remembered the ITB not a muscle which need stretching. It is a dense, fibrous band of connective tissue that runs from the pelvis to the lower leg connecting numerous muscles and primarily contributes to lateral stability of the knee and hip joints, particularly during running.

A recent study (Su et al., 2017) compared the effects of static foam rolling used as part of a warm-up on flexibility and muscle strength of knee flexion and extension. The results showed greater improvements in flexibility and strength after foam rolling.

From our experience, foam rolling pre-exercise is beneficial in releasing trigger point tension but should be combined with a strengthening program particularly aimed at the gluteal and medial quadricep muscles and an assessment of your knee biomechanics with your painful activity. Foam rolling can assist in making stretching and maintaining mobility in an elderly population easier.

Other studies have compared the effect of foam rolling on delayed onset muscle soreness post exercise. The results were significant in reducing perceived pain in the quadriceps muscles, thus helping to facilitate recovery. Foam rolling may be beneficial in helping rehabilitation post total knee replacement

Book in with one of our experienced physiotherapists and let them help you manage your knee pain and teach you effective foam rolling.

Su, H., Chang, N., Wu, W., Guo, L. and Chu, I. (2017). Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-ups on Muscular Flexibility and Strength in Young Adults. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 26(6), pp.469-477

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