Influence of Foam Rolling Velocity on Knee Range of Motion and Tissue Stiffness: A Randomized, Controlled Crossover Trial

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Foam rolling (FR) increases joint range of motion (RoM), but the optimal training parameters are unknown. Objective: To investigate the effect of FR velocity on RoM and tissue stiffness. Design: Randomized, controlled crossover trial. Setting: University. Participants: A total of 17 healthy, physically active adults (10 females; 25 [2] y). Interventions: (1) Four 45-second high-velocity FR of the anterior thigh (FAST-FR), (2) four 45-second slow-velocity FR of the anterior thigh (SLOW-FR), and (3) inactive control. Outcome Measures: Maximal knee-flexion RoM (ultrasonic movement analysis) and anterior thigh tissue stiffness (semielectronic tissue compliance meter) assessed pre, immediately post (T0), as well as 5 (T5) and 10 (T10) minutes postintervention. Statistical analysis included Friedman tests with adjusted post hoc comparisons (Wilcoxon tests). Results: According to omnibus testing, RoM remained unchanged in all 3 conditions and at all time points (P > .05), while differences were found for tissue stiffness (P < .05). Post hoc tests revealed significant decreases following FAST-FR (T5: −17%, T10: −24%; P < .05) and SLOW-FR (T10: −15%; P < .05). The observed stiffness changes were significant in comparison with control (P < .01), but no difference was found between the 2 FR conditions (P > .05). Conclusions: FR of the anterior thigh decreases myofascial stiffness regardless of velocity. The lack of effects on RoM contrasts findings of recent literature and warrants further investigation.

Wilke, Niemeyer, Niederer, and Banzer are with Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Schleip is with Fascia Research Group, Neurosurgical Clinic Guenzburg, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.

Wilke (wilke@sport.uni-frankfurt.de) is corresponding author.
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