Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2017) 16, 209 - 218

Research article
Unilateral Rolling of the Foot did not Affect Non-Local Range of Motion or Balance
Lena Grabow1, James D. Young2, Jeannette M. Byrne2, Urs Granacher1, David G. Behm2, 
Author Information
1 University of Potsdam, Division of Training and Movement Sciences, Potsdam, Germany
2 School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

David G. Behm
✉ School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, A1M 3L8
Publish Date
Received: 30-01-2017
Accepted: 27-03-2017
Published (online): 01-06-2017
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Non-local or crossover (contralateral and non-stretched muscles) increases in range-of-motion (ROM) and balance have been reported following rolling of quadriceps, hamstrings and plantar flexors. Since there is limited information regarding plantar sole (foot) rolling effects, the objectives of this study were to determine if unilateral foot rolling would affect ipsilateral and contralateral measures of ROM and balance in young healthy adults. A randomized within-subject design was used to examine non-local effects of unilateral foot rolling on ipsilateral and contralateral limb ankle dorsiflexion ROM and a modified sit-and-reach-test (SRT). Static balance was also tested during a 30 s single leg stance test. Twelve participants performed three bouts of 60 s unilateral plantar sole rolling using a roller on the dominant foot with 60 s rest intervals between sets. ROM and balance measures were assessed in separate sessions at pre-intervention, immediately and 10 minutes post-intervention. To evaluate repeated measures effects, two SRT pre-tests were implemented. Results demonstrated that the second pre-test SRT was 6.6% higher than the first pre-test (p = 0.009, d = 1.91). There were no statistically significant effects of foot rolling on any measures immediately or 10 min post-test. To conclude, unilateral foot rolling did not produce statistically significant increases in ipsilateral or contralateral dorsiflexion or SRT ROM nor did it affect postural sway. Our statistically non-significant findings might be attributed to a lower degree of roller-induced afferent stimulation due to the smaller volume of myofascia and muscle compared to prior studies. Furthermore, ROM results from studies utilizing a single pre-test without a sufficient warm-up should be viewed critically.

Key words: Crossover, flexibility, postural sway, myofascial, self massage

           Key Points
  • Unilateral foot rolling did not improve ROM of the ankle or hamstring and lower back ROM (SRT) in either limb.
  • Unilateral foot rolling did not affect postural sway (balance).
  • Studies examining changes in ROM should use multiple pre-tests or a comprehensive stretching warm-up to prevent a repeated order effect.
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