Working in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, often the unfortunate highlight of the
winter season is the influx of snowboarding and ski injuries that dramatically increases our patient load. Although one’s skill and experience out on those slopes may make quite a difference, the most undervalued component of overall conditioning and injury prevention is flexibility, or the range of motion (movement) of a joint and surrounding muscles.
A foam roller allows you to use your own bodyweight to help alleviate tight spots in the muscle tissue (trigger points) that can actually restrict and alter range of motion, which ultimately puts you at risk for injury. Using a foam roller on a regular basis increases range of motion offering several benefits:
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Reduced risk of injury
- Improved postural imbalances
- Relief from muscle soreness
Foam rollers come in different sizes and densities, and are relatively inexpensive. The general technique is as follows:
- Find a tender spot in the area you are working and keep roller on this spot. Wait for the discomfort to subside. For those of you new to foam rolling, be patient, this may take some time.
- When sensitivity in this area decreases, you may move on to other sensitive spots.
- When the area is free of pain, you may start rolling over the muscle tissue to keep it relaxed.
- There is a bit of freedom for experimentation for experimentation and “feel” when using rollers. See what works best for you and manipulate the roller to the correct position.
Soon, you will be able to create your own variations of the foam rolling technique to address particular needs!
Jaye Andaya, M.S.S., PA-C, ATC is a Physician Assistant in Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. She has been practicing with some of the top Bay Area surgeons for over a decade. Jaye is also a Certified Athletic Trainer, and continues to work with local high school football teams, providing injury assessment & treatment on the sidelines.