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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2014 (Bloomington, MN) with: Shawn Grigson
Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2014 (Bloomington, MN) with: Shawn Grigson@shawngrig )

Project HUGE: Active Release Technique With Foam Roller (Very Painful)

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In the ongoing struggle which is trying to get my life in order, I have decided to actually start doing something about the scare tissue that I am building up in my legs. Due to what I believe is a combination of years of use and flat feet (which throw my legs out of alignment), I put a lot of stress on the lateral side of my legs. This stress causes scar tissue to form which, in turn, makes the muscles even more tight which leads to more stress. All of this adds up to knee pain during knee flexion as my patella is pulled out of alignment.

I experience this pain whether I'm squatting with some heavy weights or just bending down to tie my shoe laces. I am sick of it. I finally ordered a 6" foam roller which arrived yesterday. I am using it to do some at-home Active Release Techniques. This consists of me laying sideways (at various degrees) on top of the foam roller and rolling the surfaces of my leg over the foam roller (underneath my body weight). The foam roller is basically acting as a deep-tissue masseuse and let me tell you, this IS quite painful.


Active Release Technique With A Foam Roller  

When I got active release at a chiropractor some years ago, it was also very painful, so the pain does not alarm me. I just hope that I am man enough to stick to it. The chiropractor had me back in the gym within two weeks. It was amazing. I still call him the "magic man." Hopefully doing it at home, by myself, I can get similar results.

Reader Comments


Ben -

I highly recommend you find yourself a *good* remedial sports masseuse. I have one, and I don't see him near often enough, but he is a g-d send.

The combination of strenuous workouts and spending most of your day sitting down can lead to all sorts of instabilities.

You should probably also avoid those big lifts if your legs can't handle it? Maybe look at some more full body motions? You may find those still work your legs, but since you're moving you body as a unit, you may find it actually helps with your overall leg problems.

I'm actually in the process of rehab-ing a knee injury of mine, caused by repetitively throwing my left cross punch badly, so i feel your pain.... and the sucky thing is its just squats, squats, squats on a half ball, squats on a wobble board, one legged squats.. and on and on and on... just to get the stabalizers strong again.

Good luck mate!


Yeah, I was seeing a rehab guy when I injured my shoulder. He gave me some great shoulder cuff exercises and the shoulder is mostly better. Although, in the end I think we never decided that it was the shoulder that was the problem (it may have been some tweaked pectoral tendon or something).

I should probably go back to this guy for the knees. I had mentioned it to him at the time, but I decided that my shoulders were a top priority and my health insurance only covers so many visits (uggg!).

Yeah, sitting all day is just about the worst thing we can do for out bodies, posture, spinal alignment, muscle balance, etc. etc. etc. Maybe one day, when I can work from home, I will look into those desk-on-a-treadmill devices. Could be cool:


Great Post, Foam rollers really are a great tool. You may want to take a look at our post on them, I have include some great links on how to use them.

All the best

Brian (Active Release Techniques Instructor)


Question: Which brand of foam roller did you get and where at? I am looking for one that is SUPER heavy duty. No sinking into it, I need it to stay firm...



I don't recall. I just got it off of It was like a 12" foam roller, solid white. It is very stiff - not sinking into it.