Effects of Self-Massage Using a Foam Roller on Ankle Range of Motion and Gastrocnemius Fascicle Length and Muscle Hardness: A Pilot Study

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $76.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $101.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $144.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $192.00

Context: Several studies have reported that self-massage using a foam roller (FR) increased joint range of motion (ROM) immediately. However, the mechanism of increasing ROM by the FR intervention has not been elucidated. Objective: To clarify the mechanism by investigating properties and morphological changes of muscles targeted by the FR intervention. Design: An interventional study. Setting: An athletic training laboratory. Participants: Ten male college volunteers with no injuries in their lower limbs (mean [SD]: age 23.8 [3.2] y, height 173.2 [4.9] cm, weight 69.5 [8.6] kg). Intervention: The FR intervention on the right plantar flexors for 3 minutes. Main Outcome Measures: Maximum ankle ROM, muscle hardness, and fascicle length of the gastrocnemius muscle at the neutral (0°), maximum dorsiflexion, and maximum plantar flexion positions. All measurements were conducted before (PRE) and after (POST) the FR intervention. Results: Dorsiflexion ROM increased significantly at POST (PRE: 13.6° [8.0°], POST: 16.6° [8.4°]; P < .001), although plantar flexion ROM did not change significantly between PRE and POST (PRE: 40.0° [6.1°], POST: 41.1° [4.9°]). There was no significant difference in muscle hardness and fascicle length between PRE and POST in any of the angles. Conclusions: Dorsiflexion ROM increased significantly by the FR intervention in the present study; however, muscle hardness and fascicle length did not change. FR may affect not only the muscle but also the fascia, tendon, and muscle-tendon unit. The FR protocol of the present study can be applied in clinical situations, because it was found to be effective to increase ROM.

Yoshimura is with the Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan. Schleip is with the Fascia Research Group, Department of Neuroanesthesiology, Neurosurgical Clinic, Ulm University, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Hirose is with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Nishitokyo City, Tokyo, Japan.

Hirose (toitsu_hirose@waseda.jp) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Thompson WR. Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2018 the CREP edition apply it. ACSMs Health Fit J. 2017;21(6):1019. doi:10.1249/FIT.0000000000000341

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Cheatham SW, Stull KR. Comparison of a foam rolling session with active joint motion and without joint motion: a randomized controlled trial. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2018;22(3):707712. PubMed ID: 30100300 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2018.01.011

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Cheatham SW, Stull KR. Comparison of three different density type foam rollers on knee range of motion and pressure pain threshold: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2018;13(3):474482. PubMed ID: 30038833 doi:10.26603/ijspt20180474

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Garcia-Gutierrez MT, Guillen-Rogel P, Cochrane DJ, Marin PJ. Cross transfer acute effects of foam rolling with vibration on ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2018;18(2):262267. PubMed ID: 29855449

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Kelly S, Beardsley C. Specific and cross-over effects of foam rolling on ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016;11(4):544551. PubMed ID: 27525179

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    MacDonald GZ, Penney MD, Mullaley ME, et al. An acute bout of self-myofascial release increases range of motion without a subsequent decrease in muscle activation or force. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(3):812821. PubMed ID: 22580977 doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2bc1

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Markovic G. Acute effects of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization vs foam rolling on knee and hip range of motion in soccer players. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015;19(4):690696. PubMed ID: 26592226 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.04.010

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Monteiro ER, Cavanaugh MT, Frost DM, Novaes JD. Is self-massage an effective joint range-of-motion strategy? A pilot study. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017;21(1):223226. PubMed ID: 28167184 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.10.003

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Skarabot J, Beardsley C, Stirn I. Comparing the effects of self-myofascial release with static stretching on ankle range-of-motion in adolescent athletes. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(2):203212. PubMed ID: 25883869

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Couture G, Karlik D, Glass SC, Hatzel BM. The effect of foam rolling duration on hamstring range of motion. Open Orthop J. 2015;9:450455. PubMed ID: 26587061 doi:10.2174/1874325001509010450

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Wilke J, Niemeyer P, Niederer D, Schleip R, Banzer W. Influence of foam rolling velocity on knee range of motion and tissue stiffness: a randomized, controlled crossover trial. J Sport Rehabil. 2019;28(7):711715. doi:10.1123/jsr.2018-0041

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Bialosky JE, Bishop MD, Price DD, Robinson ME, George SZ. The mechanisms of manual therapy in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain: a comprehensive model. Man Ther. 2009;14(5):531538. PubMed ID: 19027342 doi:10.1016/j.math.2008.09.001

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Cheatham SW, Kolber MJ, Cain M, Lee M. The effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(6):827838. PubMed ID: 26618062

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Freiwald J, Baumgart C, Kühnemann M, Hoppe M. Foam-rolling in sport and therapy—potential benefits and risks: part 1—definitions, anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. Sports Orthop Traumatol. 2016;32(3):258266. doi:10.1016/j.orthtr.2016.07.001

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Barnes MF. The basic science of myofascial release: morphologic change in connective tissue. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 1997;1(4):231238. doi:10.1016/S1360-8592(97)80051-4

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Yoshimura A, Inami T, Schleip R, Mineta S, Shudo K, Hirose N. Effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roller on range of motion and morphological changes in muscle: a crossover study [published online ahead of print May 24, 2019]. J Strength Cond Res.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Schleip R. Fascial plasticity—a new neurobiological explanation: part 1. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2003;7(1):1119. doi:10.1016/S1360-8592(02)00067-0

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Weerapong P, Hume PA, Kolt GS. The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention. Sports Med. 2005;35(3):235256. PubMed ID: 15730338 doi:10.2165/00007256-200535030-00004

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Ichikawa K, Takei H, Usa H, Mitomo S, Ogawa D. Comparative analysis of ultrasound changes in the vastus lateralis muscle following myofascial release and thermotherapy: a pilot study. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015;19(2):327336. PubMed ID: 25892389 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.11.018

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Kalkman BM, Bar-On L, Cenni F, et al. Medial gastrocnemius muscle stiffness cannot explain the increased ankle joint range of motion following passive stretching in children with cerebral palsy. Exp Physiol. 2018;103(3):350357. PubMed ID: 29280208 doi:10.1113/EP086738

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Samukawa M, Hattori M, Sugama N, Takeda N. The effects of dynamic stretching on plantar flexor muscle-tendon tissue properties. Man Ther. 2011;16(6):618622. PubMed ID: 21813313 doi:10.1016/j.math.2011.07.003

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Abellaneda S, Guissard N, Duchateau J. The relative lengthening of the myotendinous structures in the medial gastrocnemius during passive stretching differs among individuals. J Appl Physiol. 2009;106(1):169177. PubMed ID: 18988765 doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.90577.2008

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23.

    Fukunaga T, Ichinose Y, Ito M, Kawakami Y, Fukashiro S. Determination of fascicle length and pennation in a contracting human muscle in vivo. J Appl Physiol. 1997;82(1):354358. PubMed ID: 9029238 doi:10.1152/jappl.1997.82.1.354

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24.

    Chino K, Akagi R, Dohi M, Fukashiro S, Takahashi H. Reliability and validity of quantifying absolute muscle hardness using ultrasound elastography. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45764. PubMed ID: 23029231 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045764

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25.

    Snow SW, Bohne WHO, Dicarlo E, Chang VK. Anatomy of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia in relation to the calcaneus in various age groups. Foot Ankle Int. 1995;16(7):418421. PubMed ID: 7550955 doi:10.1177/107110079501600707

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Shaw HM, Vazquez OT, McGonagle D, Bydder G, Santer RM, Benjamin M. Development of the human Achilles tendon enthesis organ. J Anat. 2008;213(6):718724. PubMed ID: 19094187 doi:10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.00997.x

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Dietrich CF, Barr RG, Farrokh A, et al. Strain elastography—how to do it? Ultrasound Int Open. 2017;3(4):E137E149. PubMed ID: 29226273 doi:10.1055/s-0043-119412

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    Morse CI, Degens H, Seynnes OR, Maganaris CN, Jones DA. The acute effect of stretching on the passive stiffness of the human gastrocnemius muscle tendon unit. J Physiol. 2008;586(1):97106. PubMed ID: 17884924 doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2007.140434

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29.

    Ryan ED, Beck TW, Herda TJ, et al. Do practical durations of stretching alter muscle strength? A dose–response study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(8):15291537. PubMed ID: 18614936 doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31817242eb

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 30.

    Eriksson Crommert M, Lacourpaille L, Heales LJ, Tucker K, Hug F. Massage induces an immediate, albeit short-term, reduction in muscle stiffness. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015;25(5):e490e496. PubMed ID: 25487283 doi:10.1111/sms.12341

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 31.

    Ogai R, Yamane M, Matsumoto T, Kosaka M. Effects of petrissage massage on fatigue and exercise performance following intensive cycle pedalling. Br J Sports Med. 2008;42(10):834838. PubMed ID: 18385196 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2007.044396

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 32.

    Kong PW, Chua YH, Kawabata M, Burns SF, Cai C. Effect of post-exercise massage on passive muscle stiffness measured using myotonometry—a double-blind study. J Sports Sci Med. 2018;17(4):599606. PubMed ID: 30479528

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 33.

    Thomson D, Gupta A, Arundell J, Crosbie J. Deep soft-tissue massage applied to healthy calf muscle has no effect on passive mechanical properties: a randomized, single-blind, cross-over study. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2015;7:21. PubMed ID: 26396740 doi:10.1186/s13102-015-0015-8

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 34.

    Theis N, Korff T, Kairon H, Mohagheghi AA. Does acute passive stretching increase muscle length in children with cerebral palsy? Clin Biomech. 2013;28(9–10):10611067. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2013.10.001

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 35.

    Griefahn A, Oehlmann J, Zalpour C, von Piekartz H. Do exercises with the Foam Roller have a short-term impact on the thoracolumbar fascia?—a randomized controlled trial. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017;21(1):186193. PubMed ID: 28167176 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.05.011

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 36.

    Wiewelhove T, Doweling A, Schneider C, et al. A meta-analysis of the effects of foam rolling on performance and recovery. Front Physiol. 2019;10:376. PubMed ID: 31024339 doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00376

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 37.

    Killen BS, Zelizney KL, Ye X. Crossover effects of unilateral static stretching and foam rolling on contralateral hamstring flexibility and strength. J Sport Rehabil. 2019;28(6):533539. doi:10.1123/jsr.2017-0356

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 38.

    Aboodarda SJ, Spence AJ, Button DC. Pain pressure threshold of a muscle tender spot increases following local and non-local rolling massage. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2015;16:265. PubMed ID: 26416265 doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0729-5

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 39.

    Schleip R. Fascial plasticity—a new neurobiological explanation: part 2. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2003;7(2):104116. doi:10.1016/S1360-8592(02)00076-1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 40.

    Stove MP, Hirata RP, Palsson TS. Muscle stretching—the potential role of endogenous pain inhibitory modulation on stretch tolerance. Scand J Pain. 2019;19(2):415422. PubMed ID: 30699073 doi:10.1515/sjpain-2018-0334

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 327 327 90
Full Text Views 27 27 3
PDF Downloads 10 10 2