Why does every runner not own a foam roller?

I just bought a foam roller as advised by my PT, I have had an injured quad now for the best part of 12 weeks and after one single session the pain is almost fully away and no more tightness at all.

Never would I have thought such a simple thing would make such a difference, my PT said if I can get in the habit of using after every run for calfs, thighs, IT band and hip flexors I will reduce my likelihood of injury really signicantly.

Anyway seeing as I have good news for once I thought I would share it!

Only downside I guess is that its absolutely agony using it, way worse than I expected!



  • The reason I don't have one these days is that I never found it very effective. 

  • They have them at the gym, so I don't need to buy one! image

  • Must give one a try as my right thigh has been tight for a few days. 67 miles last week probably the issue!!image


  • MCS i cant recommend it enough, I got the 6" one but now I know there is smaller ones for different muscles however the 6" is used for the quads. Have a large beer before you try it, it's ouchy!

  • Is it wrong that I actually enjoy the pain? image

  • goldbeetlegoldbeetle ✭✭✭

    Saffy are you reades 50 shades of Grey?

  • 50 Shades of foam roller

  • goldbeetlegoldbeetle ✭✭✭

    "Im going to thrash your IT band within an inch of its life."

  • yer majyer maj ✭✭✭

    I have an Orange Roller of Doom.  Saved my legs when I was marathon training - I even took it skiing with me, much to my son's disgust!

  • I have many foam rollers in the gyms I visit but have to say I rarely use them! Its not just the off-putting idea that other people have sweatted all over them combined with a fitness instructor I used to have letting us know how common ring-worm was in gyms (you get it through skin to sweat contact as the ringworm eggs can live in sweat and enter via any breaks in your skin) and combine that with the 4 "very rare" (GP diagnosed) skin conditions which I linked to using a very dirty well known gym chain in Central London. All conditions bar one which was linked to stress (possibly due to having the other 3 conditions) were caught via skin to skin or skin to sweat contact.


    But the pain feature ! Its just too much for me! It never seems to get easier either. Back a few years ago I did try religiously using a foam roller (this was before the skin condition) but it just didn't get easier and I just stopped using it. I did notice I'd lost some flexibility but decided the pay off was something I could put up with!


    They start at around £35 from what I've seen and for me thats just not affordable. I just don't have that sort of money. If I had one bought for me and some way to make it less painful then I'd reconsider but the final issue is the difficulty in actually using it. Its just so much of a strain and a huge balancing act. I'd  prefer a proper sports massage!

  • I am a bit discouraged hearing you say it doesnt get any less painful. I done 10 minutes last night and it was agony again, infact I dont know if this is normal but I actually have some bruising appearing on my thighs ?

    The upside is my legs feel brand new today after last nights hard run, but if it doesnt get any less painful I think I could lose the motivation to use it.




  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭
    I think I will buy one to try out. Is it better to get the 45cm or 90cm one if you are only going to own one? Does anyone have a link to a good online guide on how to use it?

    In answer to the original poster - I don't use one because I didn't know anything about them before reading your thread.
  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭
    Oh and jenn look on amazon - there is one for ??14 and one for ??20. Both have lots of reviews. The ??20 one has over 65 reviews at average 5 stars!
  • There are loads of good demo's on YouTube

  • I think but couldnt be sure the longer one is best the only meaningful difference in sizes is the thickness. I believe the smaller ones (4" dia) are better for certain muscles eg: hamstrings.


    I have the 90cm which I can use to torture both quads at the same time



  • Another vote here for the Orange Roller of Doom (otherwise known as the Grid roller). It's a bit more expensive, but because it's made of hard plastic I reckon it will last longer. Also it's hollow so if you travel with it you can stuff it full of socks in your suitcase. As yer_maj said, made a big difference to tight legs in marathon training.
  • Jennn, I got mine from a physio supply company on eBay for around £15 including postage - worth keeping an eye out.

    I read a really interesting anti-foam rolling blog post earlier this, did anyone else see it?



  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    I want one now... image


    I've got a dodgy quad.. ouchy, especially when sitting down, ok when running but annoying the other 23 hours of they day.  sounds like i should give one a go.



  • Hog-mouseHog-mouse ✭✭✭

    I have a foam roller, I also have a rolling pin that I use and a cat - not one of my cats but a massage thing shaped like a cat.

    It's only really very painful when your muscles are tight. It's just painful after that but not prohibitively so.

    I have found that nothing else works on my tight calves except for not running for a few weeks which isn't going to happen - well ok, so I'm on the injury bench again and it maybe a week before I can run. image

  • It does get easier.  I can now roll my ITBs with the full weight of both legs for as many reps as I want.

    When I started 5 reps with little weight on them was agony.

  • Thanks for the suggestions to my post everyone image I'm still not a fan- I have tried them in the past but for whatever reason its just not worked out for me, the pain issue doesn't get easier. It could be that at the time I was going a bit crazy in the gym and maybe it was due to the lack of rest days? Maybe it was something to do with the pain in my leg which turned out to be a SF (related tightness in other areas), maybe I was going too heavy, I have had a few separate fitness instructors talk me through the things though but still find it too uncomfortable. I just never find it gets any easier and often it can feel a whole lot worse the next day.


    I do have a "stick" which works in a similar way to a rolling pin, you roll it on different parts of your body and the Stick I have is designed for my calves. I had bought it at the time due to the unending SF pain but what really helped that to recover was rest plain and simple.


    At the moment, I have too much pain in my quads. My upper back is fine but I always seem to end up with cramp in my neck when I've tried the foam roller on my shoulders! I do yoga and roll around on the floor to relase my upper back, it works far better. My quads are just unendingly sore no matter how many ibuprofen I take no matter how well practiced I am with the foam roller. The only thing I've not tried would be a few weeks of rest days.



  • Well, I absolutely LOVE my foam roller, which came with a free 'workout DVD' (as yet untried) and only cost me £20. In a matter of days it sorted out a calf problem I'd had for years. Still bloody painful to use but less so than when I first started using it. I've now figured out some weird contortions that allow me to use it on my upper back, neck and shoulders, and while it's not as effective as a sports massage, it's still pretty good.

  • Another vote that every runner should have one.

    I've got the 14 pounder off Amazon: it's medium firmness and does the job perfectly. I suspect that if you get the really hard one you'd be less likely to use it. I get stiffness in the arch of my foot from tight calves and IT band if I don't use it. Doesn't feel painful when rolling often anymore.

    Since I can't justify the price of a sports massage, this keeps my muscles relaxed and works out knots.
  • I have "The Stick" (travel size - I'm quite small) and find it useful for quads and hamstrings and even glutes (although I still need a tennis ball to really get deep into glutes & piriformis) - previously used a wooden rolling pin which was just as effective but heavier, and squeeked irritatingly. Start off gently and then put more pressure on gradually.

    For my calves I find hand-massaging them every evening works best. Still looking for a totally unscented baby oil to use for this, but the Boots one isn't too cloying.

  • I put off buying one for years but in the end I invested. Best bit of kit I've got. I only use it before my bi weekly coached sessions which are faster than my non coached days. There are loads of tutorial videos on You Tube if you just put 'foam roller' in the search box. Agony to start with but now foam rollering with impudence!

  • For your calf you can sit and use your hands to push your leg onto the opposite knee (particularly useful if you have tightness come on while you're out on a run).  I like my foam roller for my quads but find it hard to use it successfully on my calf.  Also you can use your heel to slide down your opposite (outer side of your) shin, though it's hard to get much pressure.  And I find control of a foam roller is a bit tricky for TFL/glute round hip; I use a firm ball there instead.  And I use my elbow for the very top of the front of my leg (a psoas trigger point?).

  • Oooh -you just reminded me Andy, a cheap-mans version of a foam roller is a tennis ball. Very good for feet too if you leave two under your desk when at work, use them to help remind your feet to bend!- Just remember to keep them from rolling away when not in use or they could cause a very nasty accident.!

  • I love my roller, I have the shorter one that was around £14 on Amazon. It only hurts when the muscles are sore and therefore need rolling!

    I find that the addition of a small child helps with doing my calves. He lies on them, I roll, he finds it hilarious (even more so when it hurts more!!!)

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I do 10 miles plus a day. What's a roller? why would I need one?

  • RoseC- I think if I had a (small!) child to help I'd be more of a fan! Some of the awkward positions you find yourself in when trying to reach various areas (the back area being the most difficult) has got to be a very close second reason as to why I opt out and stick to stretching and -sadly very rarely- sports massages.

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