Why self massage devices such as the stick or foam roller are beneficial to runners

Great news for those who do not have time or money for regularly scheduled massages: self massage devices such as “The Stick”have been shown in a recent study to reduce post workout soreness and pain.

Investigators in this study published in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy examined the effectiveness of the inexpensive massage tool on reducing hamstring muscle soreness after a high intensity exercise. More specifically, this study sought to investigate the acute (short term) effect of massage with the Theraband Roller Massager on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Thera-Band Standard Roller Massager

DOMS, the syndrome that leaves runners walking like the Tinman after a demanding run is a common phenomenon following new exercises or overtraining. Muscle pain and stiffness are experienced often 24-48 hours following the workout, and can be alleviated with ice, stretching, and massage.

Researchers in this study found that participants that utilized the roller massager experienced significantly lower levels of pain and stiffness than those receiving no treatment. We may extrapolate that foam rolling the legs may deliver similar benefits.

All things considered, self massage techniques have been show to reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and should allow runners to be ready to workout quicker with less discomfort. This however should not be utilized as a replacement for treatment from a qualified health care provider. If pain does not significantly reduce in 48 hours and involves a joint, seek attention from a physician and or physical therapist for proper diagnosis and treatment of the ailment.

The Theraband roller can be found here:
Thera-Band Standard Roller Massager

The Stick may be found here:
The Stick Travel Stick, 17-Inch


Jay K, Sundstrup E, Sondergaard S, et al. Specific and cross over effects of massage for muscle soreness: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014;9(1)

Take care, and make your day great!



About runningyourbody

I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Certified Pilates instructor, and runner with celiac disease. I am passionate about educating people on running, pilates, and women’s health topics. I am trained in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction, as well as pre and post partum impairments. In my free time I can be found anywhere outside. I enjoy training for races with friends, cooking gluten free meals, and traveling with my husband. My goal is to share information with you in a lighthearted and enjoyable forum. I am always contributing fun and interesting posts on my blog. Feel free to check it out @ https://runningyourbody.wordpress.com/
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