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Self-myofascial release for knee pain

Tom Jennings hamstrings hip injury knee leg massage mobiltiy myofascia myofascial release performance recovery self-myofascial release sports therapy

Self-myofascial release for the knee is one of many  important steps in preventing knee pain as well as expediting recovery from knee injuries. There are many theories on why and how self-myofascial release works and the truth is we really don't know. There are multiple theories on why it works, and in my opinion it most likely is a combination of several physiological components at work. That being said, I have used soft tissue mobilization and SMR for years in my practice and I know it works. While it is not the only part of the performance and recovery process, it is an important part.

One area that becomes tight in the knee is the lateral aspect, specifically the iliotibial band (ITB). The ITB is a very strong band of fascia, and some would argue you can't really change the make up of the fascia by rolling it. So why roll it? One benefit of rolling is the bodies natural pain-killer,endorphins, are released when a "good hurt" is produced through SMR. However, some cannot tolerate putting body weight on the ITB so a non-weight bearing (NWB) approach is needed.

Unfortunately, foam rollers only compress the tissue, which is just one part of the self-myofascial release process. The soft tissue needs to be manipulated in multiple directions just like a a massage therapist would perform.  Mobilizing or moving the tissue in various directions makes the tissue more pliable thus increasing mobility in multiple planes and directions.

Below are two approaches to rolling the ITB. A foam roller is an easy way to start the soft tissue manipulation process. Most people like the "good hurt" it produces, yet some cannot tolerate it. Therefore, we recommend trying Therawheel for a more focused but less intense approach. In addition, you can manipulate the tissue in various directions to improve pliability and mobility in the tissue and knee joint. Moreover, Therawheel allows you to target the edges of the ITB where many adhesions occur.

 

 

Therawheel:


Foam Roller:

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