Running & Fitness

Basics of Foam Rolling

Dr. Donald A Ozello
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Hello, my name is Donald Ozello. I am a Las Vegas based Doctor of Chiropractic. I treat a multitude of sports injuries in my practice. I love fitness training. Running, kettlebells, core work and bike riding are my favorite types of exercise. I wanted to share with you some valuable information today on utilizing a foam roller.

You can utilize a foam roller as a tool to decrease muscle tension, help lessen soreness and assist in your recovery process. The foam roller is a valuable resource in the prevention and management of running injuries.

Foam rolling, along with Chiropractic care, massage therapy, reflexology, stretching, proper nutrition, supplementation and relaxation, should be a major component in all runner’s active recovery strategies.

The foam roller is a cylindrical piece of hard foam. It is a piece of rehabilitation equipment that helps reduce muscle tension and aids in training recovery. Foam rollers are available in a variety of lengths and densities. The standard lengths are thirty-six, eighteen and twelve inches.


Do not use the foam roller in an area of nerve damage. Never use the foam roller on a broken bone. Avoid foam rolling directly over a bone that contains a stress fracture. Don’t use a foam roller over a spot that lacks sensation, including numbness and tingling. When a lack of sensation is present, foam roll over the source of the numbness but not over the area of numbness or tingling.


Place the foam roller on a level surface. Begin with very mild pressure. Learn the motion and get the feel of the movement before increasing pressure. Control the amount of pressure by raising or lowering your body at a variety of angles on the foam roller. The amount of bodyweight you use either increases or decreases the pressure you exert. If symptoms begin or increase while foam rolling either lighten the pressure, modify your body position or move to a different muscle.

Start at one end of a muscle and methodically work the entire length of that muscle. Use mild to moderate pressure, there is no need to use a large amount of pressure. Gradually slide the muscle over the roller. When you feel a tight or tender spot hold that location for six seconds then slowly proceed to the next tender area. Carefully work the entire muscle with precision and intent. When completed switch to the opposite side. Perform one to three repetitions on each side.

Increase Benefit

Combine foam roller with self massage and static stretching to increase effectiveness. Dynamic motions and static stretches executed after foam rolling further decreases muscle tension, increases joint range of motion and improves flexibility.


Incorporate foam rolling into your post workout recovery and rest day activities to reduce muscle tension and lower injury risk. Athletes of all sports and levels can benefit from correct foam roller usage. Accomplish your running and fitness goals by adding proper foam rolling technique to your training routine.