Foam rollers have become a popular way to have practically unlimited self massage. They are inexpensive and can easily be carried to places such as your gym. Proponents say that they may not be as effective as having a professional therapist perform the therapy, but they allow practically unlimited massage for practically no cost. This is an excellent objective, but how safe and effective is self massage performed by foam rollers?
Clinical trial results of the effectiveness of foam rollers are a bit inconsistent, but generally show that they are able to provide pain relief. However, in clinical trials the people being treated are screened to make sure the use of rollers is appropriate, then given thorough instructions and supervision. In the real world people can use the rollers on conditions where they are not appropriate, and do so without instructions or supervision. This is why our clinical experience found that in some cases their risks out weighed their benefits.
In this article we will discuss the clinical trial results and the risks associated with unsupervised usage. We will then discuss how you can minimise those risks, and an alternative you can use.
What are foam rollers
The benefits of foam rollers
Effectiveness of foam rollers compared with professional therapists
Table: summary of clinical trials of foam roller usage