Spiky Balls

Spiky Balls can be used to treat pain, ease tension and improve circulation.

the ‘innocent’ spiky ball

Ready to meet the spiky ball?

It’s time to celebrate the hero that is our little spiky ball. An innocent looking piece of PVC. The best thing about it is that you are in charge of the pressure when using one. Your physiotherapist’s thumbs (elbows) can have a day off.

It works by creating pressure and stimulation through the skin and into the tissues of the body, including muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia (connective tissue). This helps to increase blood flow and heat in the area being massaged.

The softening of the tissues can help aid blood flow by reducing pressure on blood vessels, in the same way that rubbing your skin turns it red (more blood closer to the surface). The theory is that this flushes out toxins built up from the energy expended to keep the muscles tight, and helps move lymph through the tissues which helps us fight infections.

By stimulating the nerve endings, we find the effect is desensitisation. The brain slowly begins to “tune out” the messages sent by the nerves from the continued massaging effect, as the sensation is not “dangerous”, just uncomfortable.

Putting our spiky ‘friend’ into practice

Let’s take our spiky ball focus to the foot.

The massage balls range in size from 6cm to around 12cm diameter, and come in varying degrees of firmness. This picture may help to show you the difference between the 2 balls we use:

Hard ball on the left and the softer of the two on the right

The relatively squashy one on the right is the one used for the foot (see the video below).

This works best with bare feet, but if you’re very ticklish, keep your socks on for the first attempt.

With the ball on the floor under your heel, press your weight down into it, deforming its shape. Use that pressure, and roll the ball up the lateral border of your foot towards your pinky toe. Then work across the bases of the toes and back down the arch (ease off the pressure here as this can be a tender area).

Placing the ball under the bases of the toes, wrap your toes around the ball and hold the squeeze for a few seconds.

Then, with the ball under your heel, place the front of your foot on the floor. Slowly slide your heel from left to right, with as much pressure as you like, for some myofascial release. The whole process can take a few minutes, so work with what feels good for you.

Spiky balls are not just for feet….

Massaging other areas of your body can be really useful too, for example your hip, back and shoulder. However, these are a different ball game (sorry) entirely, and we’ll save those for another day.

Until then, if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment to see a physiotherapist please click here Contact – Physioflexx Ayrshire or call us on 01560 483200 .