Roller massage: Comparison of three different surface type pattern foam rollers on passive knee range of motion and pain perception.

Research paper by Scott W SW Cheatham, Kyle R KR Stull

Indexed on: 06 Jan '21Published on: 30 Sep '19Published in: Journal of bodywork and movement therapies


Roller massage with a foam roller has become a common intervention. To date, no studies have examined the therapeutic effects of different surface type rollers. The purpose of this study was to measure the therapeutic effects of three different surface type pattern foam rollers with the same density on passive knee joint range of motion (ROM) and pressure pain threshold (PPT) of the quadriceps. This pre-test, post-test randomized controlled trial was conducted in a university laboratory. Thirty-six participants (M = 22, F = 14; mean age = 25.20 ± 4.44 years) were randomly assigned to three groups: (1) smooth surface, (2) multilevel surface, and (3) GRID surface. The intervention was a 2-min rolling session. Outcomes included knee ROM and PPT. Between group comparisons revealed a statistically significant post-intervention difference between the three rollers for knee ROM (p = 0.04) and PPT (p < 0.001). Within group comparison for ROM revealed a 3-degree (p = 0.015) increase for the smooth, a 5-degree (p < 0.001) increase for the multilevel, and a 6-degree (p < 0.001) increase for the GRID surface roller. For PPT, there was an increase of 14 kPa (p = 0.562) for the smooth, 179 kPa (p < 0.001) for the multilevel, and 182 kPa (p < 0.001) for the GRID. The GRID and multilevel surface rollers produced greater immediate post-intervention effects than the smooth roller. The therapeutic effects of the GRID and multilevel rollers may be due to the surface architecture. These rollers may provide a greater deformation of the tissues which creates a local mechanical and global neurophysiological effect. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.