Research Review: Foam rolling may aid in prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness

By Stefanie DiCarrado  DPT, PT, NASM CPT & CES

Edited by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation: Pearcey, G. E., Bradbury-Squires, D. J., Kawamoto, J. E., Drinkwater, E. J., Behm, D. G., & Button, D. C. (2015). Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of athletic training50(1), 5-13. - ARTICLE


Why is this relevant?: Limited research exists on the efficacy of foam rolling as a means of muscle recovery (1).  Previous research supports its use in reducing subjective feelings of fatigue and muscle soreness after physical activity, but further review and data collection is needed to understand the mechanism and proper application in a clinical setting (1,3).

Study Summary

Study Design Randomized Controlled Design
Level of Evidence Level II: Evidence from at least 1 randomized controlled experiment
Subject Demographics

  • Age: 22.1 + 2.5 years
  • Gender: 8 males
  • Characteristics: Young, healthy, college aged

    • Height 177.0 + 7.5cm
    • Mass 88.4 + 11.4 kg
  • Inclusion Criteria: determined by Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q)
  • Exclusion Criteria: NA
Outcome Measures

  • Pressure-pain threshold (of quadriceps)
  • 30 meter sprint time (speed)
  • Broad jump distance (power)
  • T-test (agility)
  • Dynamic strength-endurance (maximal # squats at 70% 1RM)

  •  Pressure-pain threshold (of quadriceps)

    • Foam Rolling Group (FR): Significantly lower quadriceps pain at 24 hrs (moderate effect) & 48 hrs (large effect) check points
  •  30 meter sprint time (speed)

    • FR: Significantly better sprint times at 24 hr & 72 hrs (moderate effect)
  •  Broad jump distance (power)

    • FR: Significantly longer jump distance at 24 hrs (small effect) & 72 hrs (large effect)
  •  T-test (agility)

    • No significant difference between