How To Use A Foam Roller For Knee Pain

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According to studies conducted by the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, close to 100 million Americans suffer from or live with chronic pain. And according to a CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) report, about 20% of all American adults who report pain in multiple parts of their bodies struggle with knee pain.

Pain in the knees can originate from any of the bony structures that compromise the femur (knee joint), patella (kneecap), or the meniscus (cartilage and ligaments) of the knee. It can be worsened by exercise, triggered by different problems like foot injury, or can be affected by surrounding muscles and their movement.

People that jog or run often suffer knee pain frequently, often the cause of the knee pain is not directly related to the knee. If you run a lot and suffer knee pain, I recommend reading this article on why knees hurt after running. In this article you can see how muscles like the IT Band which runs down your leg can be causing damaging strain on your knees. A simple solution to this is using a foam roller as described in the article.

Treating Knee Pain With A Foam RollerHow To Use A Foam Roller For Knee Pain

Temporary pain in the knee is quite different from chronic knee pain in that temporary pain will fade away with time while chronic knee pain will often require treatment for it to ease. It is important to note that knee pain can be brought about by either diseases or different physical conditions.

One option that could help ease this form of pain is myofascial release using foam rollers, a treatment option that involves the application of gentle but sustained pressure on the body’s connective tissues to restore motion and eliminate pain. One way to go about this is by using a foam roller.

What Is a Foam Roller?

Foam rollers are cylindrical pieces that are covered with a sheet of special hard-celled foam. Using this unique roller simply means applying pressure on your muscles to release knots, trigger points or tension. Using a foam roller is like rolling dough with a roller to get rid of air pockets. What you are doing is smoothing out knots (air bubbles) from your muscles.

So, how do you use a foam roller to ease knee pain? Here is a look at several foam roller exercises that place focus on all major muscles around your knee:

How To Use A Foam Roller For Knee Pain

IT Band Foam Rollers Help Knee PainIT Band Foam Rollers Help Knee Pain

As I mentioned earlier, the IT Band can actually be causing you knee pain. Especially if you exercise in the forms of running and using a treadmill. Foam rolling the IT Band is typically the first thing I do once I notice the twinge in either of my knees. It is not a hard thing to do, nor does it require much time. A foam roller for the IT Band is relatively cheap and can be the answer to many people knee pain.

Place your foam roller on the outside part of your thigh. Make sure that your body is parallel to the mat as if you are going to do side planks on your forearm. The band should run down the outer part of your thigh, please note that this could be quite painful as you start. If it is too painful, reduce pressure by placing more weight on your supporting leg and arm.

Roll down your IT band slowly until you reach the point just above your affected knee, then roll back slowly. Do this 3 to 10 times and remember to breathe. In spite of the discomfort do your best and try to relax. Be careful not to roll the knee. We only want to release the strain the IT Band is causing so that the knee isn’t being pulled on. So foam rolling the actual knee is not the answer here.


Quad Stretching To Relieve Knee Problems

Quadriceps are responsible for hip and leg extension. Quad foam roller exercises will limber muscles, work out any trigger points or knots, and ease muscular tension for improved soft-tissue quality.

Start by supporting your weight using the forearm plank position with the foam roller between the floor and your quads. Roll the quad muscle from your hip down to the affected knee. For particularly painful areas, pause and hold for some time. To reduce the pressure applied to the muscle, consider training a leg at a time. Do these motions three to ten times moving back and forth. Again, if you are a newcomer to foam rolling, it can be painful at first. Especially if you are using a dense black roller. So do take it easy in the beginning, or buy a foam roller for beginners to help ease you into the techniques.

Hamstring StretchPracticing Foam Rolling For Knee Pain

Start by sitting up and supporting body weight using your hands. Place your foam roller under the hamstrings. Make sure that your back is straight and your feet are straight in front. Engage your core and roll back and forth slowly from your glutes to your knees, pausing on any painful or tight spots in your muscles until the pain fades.

As hamstrings have a larger surface area than most muscles like calves, your body’s weight will be distributed widely, making the foam roller exercise quite ineffective. To circumvent this, consider training one leg at a go. Support the other on top of the other to emphasize on one side. Repeat this exercise 3-10 times on each of leg while rolling forward and backward.


Sit on your foam roller and plant your hands on the floor on your sides. Lean towards your hip and glute side to target the entire glute range. To increase pressure on the glutes, cross one of your legs over the other with your foot resting on your knee. This will not only help ease knee pain, but it also helps avert lower back pain. Which most people have pain these days.

Practicing Foam Rolling For Knee Pain

Unless you have a chronic knee problem, practicing these foam rolling techniques can help relieve knee pain. Especially if you are experiencing pain as a result of exercise. If knee pain is that intense or problematic for you, its always best to consult your Doctor. Practicing foam rolling techniques can be beneficial for the whole body, not just the knees. As it allows blood to flow more freely distributing nutrients and oxygen to the troublesome areas for a quicker healing time.

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