Research Review: Effects of Foam Rolling and Stretching on Hip Flexion Range of Motion

By Jinny McGivern DPT, Certified Yoga Instructor

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

Original Citation: Mohr, A. R., Long, B. C., & Goad, C. L. (forthcoming 2014). Foam Rolling and Static Stretching on Passive Hip Flexion Range of Motion. Journal of sport rehabilitation. Currently in press.    ABSTRACT

Foam Roll technique used in this study.  Image courtesy of http://www.sportsister.com/online-courses/online-courses/2014/02/24/how-to-use-a-foam-roller/.

Why is this relevant?: Foam rolling is a commonly used intervention with clients in various setting form clinics, to health clubs, to athletic training facilities.  There is limited research on the efficacy of this technique, and less research on how this technique may be used in conjunction with other interventions such as stretching.  This research provides much needed data on the impact of foam rolling and static stretching on hip flexion passive range of motion (PROM).

Study Summary

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Study Design Randomized Controlled trial
Level of Evidence 2b - Single Randomized Controlled Trial with small sample size
Subject Demographics

  • Age: 40 subjects randomized into 4  groups: Static stretching (SS) (age = 22.0 +/- 3.8 yrs); Foam Rolling (FR) (age 21.0 +/-2.21 yrs); Foam Rolling & Static Stretching (FRSS) (21.2 +/- 2.44 yrs); Control (CON) (age = 20.8 +/- 2.7)
  • Gender: not reported
  • Characteristics: no previous history of lower extremity or spine injury, no participation in flexibility program, no history of a condition limiting muscle flexibility or circulation,  recreationally active for 1 - 5 hours per week, limited hamstring flexibility (defined as passive straight leg raise < 90 degrees).
Outcome MeasuresChange in hip flexion passive range of motion (PROM) between pre-test on day 1 and post-test on day 6
Results

  • Significant change in hip flexion PROM for all intervention groups from Day 1 to Day 6.