Thursday, September 17, 2009

Running Tip #18 - Injury prevention using 'The Stick'

The stick is a simple device for massaging muscles; just a stick with rollers to reduce friction and two handles. I use the stick for three reasons:

1 - After each workout, using the stick over all the muscles in the legs seems to help improve recovery.
2 - If I have overdone things, the stick will help with healing. It can be used on a muscle knot to help relax the area and improve healing.
3 -The best thing about the stick is as a diagnostic tool. I use the stick to check for tender areas and knots in the muscles. This can help detect problems well before they become apparent. Don't wait for problems to become obvious while you are running. Early detection can prevent a minor issue becoming a major one.

It's important to have the muscle you are working on relaxed. Make sure that the muscle is 'floppy', almost like dead meat.

- For the calf, make sure the heel is supported (bed, sofa, etc) and the foot completely relaxed with the knee bent.
- For the front of the lower leg (Tibialis anterior), support the ball of the foot so the calf is under tension
- For the quad, support the heel of the foot and keep the leg straight.
- For the hamstring, bend your knee and put the top of your foot on a support, facing away from the support.

Note: The stick will not help with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It's hard to explain the difference between DOMS and other muscle issues. If a muscle is tender and painful to any pressure across most of the muscle equally, it maybe DOMS. I'll blog on DOMS in the future, but it's an involved subject.

http://www.thestick.com/