The Effect of Foam Rolling Versus IASTM on Knee Range of Motion, Fascial Displacement, and Patient Satisfaction

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Soft tissue restrictions have been linked to poor flexibility and decreased range of motion (ROM). To decrease the soft tissue restrictions and ultimately increase ROM/flexibility, myofascial release techniques, such as foam rolling (FR) and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), have been used. However, the benefit regarding which technique is more beneficial remains unknown. Objective: To examine the effects of myofascial release techniques (FR vs the instrumented portion of IASTM) on knee joint ROM, rectus femoris (RF) and biceps femoris (BF) fascial displacement, and patient satisfaction. Design: Randomized controlled clinical trial. Setting: Mid-Atlantic University. Participants: Twenty moderately active participants (age 21.1 [2.0] y) with variable levels of soft tissue restriction in the quadriceps and hamstrings started and completed the study. Participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups, FR or IASTM. Interventions: All participants completed the same warm-up prior to the intervention. The FR group followed the proper FR protocol for gluteals/iliotibial band, quadriceps, and hamstrings/adductors, and the participants were monitored while the protocol was completed. The IASTM group received treatment on the gluteals/iliotibial band followed by the quadriceps, adductors, and hamstrings. Participants in both groups attended intervention sessions twice per week for 3 weeks. Prior to the start, knee ROM measurements were taken, along with fascial displacement measured via ultrasound. Upon completion of the study, posttest measurements were completed. A patient satisfaction survey was also administered at this time. Main Outcome Measures: Pretest to posttest knee ROM measurements, RF and BF fascial displacement, and patient satisfaction. Results: Both groups improved pretest to posttest for knee-extension ROM, with a slight trend toward increased knee-extension ROM for the FR group. Both groups improved pretest to posttest for BF and RF fascial displacement, in favor of the IASTM group for BF fascial displacement. Both groups were equally satisfied. Conclusions: As both groups improved pretest to posttest, either treatment could be used.

Sandrey is with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA. Lancellotti is with the Pivot Physical Therapy, Sykesville, MD, USA. Hester is with the Vail Summit Orthopedics, Edwards, CO, USA.

Sandrey (msandrey@mail.wvu.edu) is corresponding author.
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