The human body consists of many layers of tissue that should be able to glide freely on top of each other. Think of the many different muscles underneath your skin. However, sometimes these tissues can become stuck together. Maybe they didn’t heal properly after a traumatic injury or maybe they slowly broke down with overuse. When the tissue cannot glide freely anymore, your movement will be restricted.
Soft-tissue restrictions can also appear as the result of lack of movement. Wearing a cast will have a similar effect as inactivity: the tissues stick together and don’t glide freely anymore. For this reason, it’s very important to get some movement in every day.
About The Benefits of Foam Rolling
Because of these soft-tissue restrictions, the body’s ability to move will be limited. You will be less flexible, have a lower force output, and might unknowingly overwork certain parts of your body, leading to overuse injuries and pain.
With foam rolling (also called SMR or self-myofascial release), you can remove many of these soft-tissue restrictions. All you need is a foam roller or a similar implement with which to massage your muscles. You could use a piece of PVC pipe, a stick, or a tennis ball.
Personally, I prefer using the RumbleRoller and I have found it very effective at removing soft-tissue problems. Foam rollers are available in different densities and lengths.
When to be careful
Only roll each muscle for up to a minute. Foam rolling longer than one minute can actually create soft-tissue problems instead of relieving them. Frequency trumps duration, so you’re better off foam rolling a certain muscle three times a day for a minute than if you rolled it 3 minutes at once. Start with a softer roller and remember that more intensity isn’t always better.
Self-myofascial release should not be used on body parts that you have recently suffered an injury to. Consult your physician about this practice if you have circulatory problems or chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Please also take note that results will not appear overnight. You may have to work on your fascia daily for a week or two in order to feel improvement. Don’t foam roll your joints or other bony structures.
Foam Rolling Exercises for Knee Health
Here are some common foam rolling exercises that are helpful with restoring knee health: