Using a spiky ball on a regular basis is a great way to maintain flexibility, ease muscle tension and optimise performance. Spiky balls are particularly effective at releasing tightness due to myofascial trigger points. These are the knots and contractions that form in response to poor posture and over-use.
Why use a spiky ball?
There are some parts of the body that you can’t quite get to with a foam roller or traditional massage techniques and this is where the spiky ball comes in handy.
Spiky balls are firmer and larger than a tennis ball and not quite as unforgiving as a golf ball or lacrosse ball, making them to perfect tool for releasing those hard to get to muscles. Using the spiky against a firm surface, you can regulate the amount of pressure by adjusting the position of your body.
Physiological Benefit of using a Spiky Ball:
- Stimulates local vasodilatation to increase blood flow and promote the healing process
- Stimulates the mechanoreceptors to promote the pain gate theory
- Acts as an adjunct for acupressure point release and myo-fascial release
- Promotes endorphin release
My favourite areas to use a spiky ball:
Sole of the foot
Stimulate the proprioceptors in the foot by using a gentle/medium pressure over the inside of the foot, rolling from the ball of the foot down to the heel. This is a great one for runners to prevent plantar fasciitis. A minute on each foot every day will work wonders.
Most us of become a little rounded in the shoulders over time using computers and sitting a lot of the day. This causes shortening in the front of the shoulder muscles known as the pectorals. Try jamming the ball between a wall and the front of your shoulder, and getting some deep release.
Back of shoulders
Roll around the back of the shoulder, looking for the fleshy part of the muscle as it starts to run down the back of the arm. You can also try rolling the back of the shoulder blade directly which can hold a lot of latent trigger points. You may feel some referral into the front of the shoulder when this area is tight.
Use your body weight to roll over the back of the hip and find some deep release in the hip. A good one to hold pressure in one place for 30-60 seconds while you breathe until the muscle releases.
The spiky ball is perfect for rolling the TFL which part of the hip flexor group that runs from the front of the hip into the ITB. To find it, run your finger down from the front of the pelvis and towards the outside of the top of your thigh. This can help with knee patella tracking issues.
Use your hand to apply a medium pressure to work around the calf muscles.
- keep breathing as you perform these exercises
- consult with your Physiotherapist to see if these exercises are appropriate for you
- do not use the spiky ball if you have a new injury or in the presence of inflammation
- avoid bony areas
- if you feel any ongoing pain or pins and needles please consult with your Physiotherapist