Does Foam Rolling Really Work?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the sensation of pain and stiffness that is felt up to four days after an intense bout of exercise. You may have felt this sensation a few days after going on a long hike or back in high school during preseason for a sport. DOMS is present due to small tears in the muscle resulting from unaccustomed exercise, which increases inflammation and decreases maximal strength produced in that muscle. With more pain and less strength than usual, daily activities, such as walking down stairs, and athletic performance, such as strength to kick a soccer ball, may be compromised. One way potentially to alleviate DOMS is foam rolling. Previous research suggests that foam rolling loosens and warms up muscles to decrease inflammation and restore strength to an individual after intense exercise. With funding from a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) in summer 2016, I recruited twenty-one college-aged participants to determine whether foam rolling works as an aid in decreasing DOMS. I did not find any significant differences in the alleviation of DOMS between participants who used foam rolling and those who did not use foam rolling, but I did find that my protocol to induce DOMS successfully induced significant increases in soreness and decreases in strength in all participants.