Foam Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Recently foam rollers have become a much spoken about piece of equipment. In the therapy room, at gyms and in conversations - they are popular. So what are they about and what are they used for?

According to www.running-physio.com, using a foam roller can improve joint range of motion without impairing muscle performance. This is because a foam roller targets the fascia, which surrounds muscles. Influencing fascia means we can influence flexibility and joint range of motion. Rolling helps break down scar tissue and adhesions in the fascia.

The research thus far is limited, however as little as 2 x 1 minute sessions can be beneficial. Rolling too often could perhaps cause a build-up of micro trauma.

Conditions where tight structures are the cause, could be helped by foam rolling. These include Plantar Fasciitis, Patello-femoral pain, ITB, shin splints and Achilles tendinopathy. Given these conditions, the areas most commonly rolled include

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Gluts

Horizontal or Vertical?

Whether you do a jumping sport (vertical) or a running sport (horizontal), there are specific exercises that can improve your jump height / explosiveness and reduce your sprint time respectively. 

For VERTICAL sports, incorporating FRONT SQUATS into your training program should benefit you.

For HORIZONTAL sports, HIP THRUSTS would help improve your speed and distance covered, according to research.

If in pain……..don’t hesitate!

Physiotherapists were initially recognized as first line practitioners in 1985 and this was re-affirmed in 1997. Being a first line practitioner means that the public has direct access to such a professional, without needing a referral.

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The implications that follow are that a physiotherapist has independent judgment in making a diagnosis and presenting solutions to a patient. We are also permitted to refer a patient for x-rays, ultrasound scans or to a specialist. If a patient presents with something that falls out of our scope of practice, we will refer the patient on to the appropriate health care professional.

During the holiday season there is a lot of heavy lifting of suitcases, sleeping on different beds and pillows which can result in stiff painful necks and backs. One tends to do quite a bit of unaccustomed activity or more activity than normal, which can result in muscle and joint pains. Others may need to continue a treatment plan they have started at home, following an injury or surgery.

Please be advised, that should you fall into any of the above categories, you may consult a physiotherapist directly, without needing to see a doctor first.

Keep safely active!