Myofascial Release for Lower Body

Dose

Perform at least 60 seconds of rolling each night or when symptoms come on. Continue using this exercise after symptoms resolve to reduce tender spots.

Purpose

Knee, foot, and ankle dysfunction can be contributed to by muscle tension in the thighs, hips, and lower leg. Rolling on a massage ball or foam roller can reduce tension and symptoms in the short term by improving blood flow, tissue elasticity, and encouraging movement. Consider supplementing it with other exercises throughout the day.

Method

This exercise can be performed with a ball of any kind, or with a foam roller. Feel free to do this exercise on the wall, or on the floor, depending on what is more comfortable fr you. Start by placing the ball between your thigh and a wall and apply pressure by leaning into the ball.

Roll back and forth across the thigh, pausing on any tender spots for a few seconds until they soften. Be sure to roll the front, back, and side of the thigh, as well as the calves. You should also roll your buttocks using the ball, applying pressure to the side ad back of the hip around the beltline with the ball.

Common Mistakes

∙ Not making the most of self-massage. Using a massage ball or roller is a great way to relieve symptoms, and it is very user friendly. You can roll any part of the body will the ball, and it is likely you will find tender points that feel better after you roll them. Don’t be afraid to explore and experiment with different areas.


∙Rolling directly on the side of the thigh. It is common to foam roll the structures on the outside of the thigh. Some of these structures are made up of dense connective tissues which do not respond very well to rolling and can be very painful. It is more effective to roll the areas to the front and back of this structure. If you think of your right thigh as a clock, roll the two o’clock and four o’clock positions rather than directly on the three o’clock position.


∙Rolling too fast. To get the best effect on deeper tissues, hold pressure on one sport for several seconds. This will allow the ball to sink in rather than gliding across the surface.


∙Using self-massage as a standalone. While the massage ball feels great, it is important to engage in exercises that are specifically designed to strengthen. If rolling is used as a standalone, the body’s load tolerance may decrease and this may reduce functional ability.

Progression Threshold

Once you have rolled the hips and legs for a total of 5 minutes, progress to the next stretch. Continue to use this exercise 2-3 times a week to maintain mobility.