If you’ve never heard of or used a foam roller, it’s a tool you sit or lie on to apply direct pressure and relieve muscle knots. Using the foam roller in a stretching technique called self-myofascial release is a way to stretch, reduce pain and increase range of motion to any part of your body, including the hips.
The foam roller should only be rolled over the muscles. Do not directly roll joints like the knees. At the point where you feel pain, stop and hold the roller in place for 30 to 60 seconds to release knots. A foam roller is a great alternative to a massage because it has the ability to loosen tight muscles and release knots in the middle of your back. They come in a variety of sizes, but the 6-inch diameter by 3-foot-long roller is the most common.
There are several exercises you can perform using the foam roller to stretch the knee, hip and other joints. For example, the posterior part of the knee is made of connective tissues and tendons from the hamstring which runs down both sides of the knee. If you overuse this area it will stiffen and become inflamed.
To help relieve the tightness and soreness you have in the back of your knee(s) you can:
- Sit on a flat surface with your legs in front of you. Place the roller under your left knee and put your hands down flat by your sides.
- Place your right calf on top of your left lower leg and apply pressure to the left leg until you find a tender spot behind the knee. Flex your left foot toward your face as you roll.
- Gently roll the foam back and forth over the tender spot. Take deep breaths while you roll to reduce the pain. Repeat on the right side.
When it comes to stretching your hips, the adductor muscles (responsible for inward and outward hip motions) run from the hip down your thigh. You can stretch these muscles with a foam roller long ways between your legs. Press the roller against the inside of one thigh and slowly roll it from your hip down to your knee, applying light pressure to knots. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Relax for a few seconds and then repeat on the opposite leg.
You can perform these stretches and many others as often as you need when experiencing hip, knee or joint pain.
Medical Disclaimer: Always talk to a medical consultant before starting a new exercise routine or if you have any health care-related questions.
Photo Credit: www.runnersworld.com
Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer