Even if you’ve never used a spiky ball for massage, you can probably imagine that it can be an uncomfortable process. However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Improving your circulation whilst easing pain and tension with just a little piece of silicon? Where do I sign up?
If you’re a follower of the blog, you’ll have already seen our tutorials for this special little massage tool/torture implement for your feet.(https://bit.ly/3qNP7DK), your buttocks here (https://bit.ly/3t4CAyS) and your shoulders here (https://bit.ly/3xoK3um).
Today, however, we’re going to focus on the calf muscles. Our two main calf muscles are the gastrocnemius (the big “ball” of the calf), which has 2 heads, a medial and a lateral; and soleus (deeper and lower down on the leg). We also have muscles which move our toes and help to move the sole of our feet in and out in the lower part of the leg on the posterior side. We can work these at the same time with our spiky ball.
We’ve already heard about how massage works by creating pressure and stimulation. This is through the skin and into the tissues of the body, including muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia (connective tissue). This increases blood flow and helps to reduce blood pressure. The pressure from the spiky ball desensitises nerves, and helps us move on from (or at least around) pain.
Remember that you are in charge of the pressure, and we have various ways of bringing the soft tissue release deeper. Your physiotherapist’s thumbs (elbows) can have a day off.
Let’s make a start. Sit on the floor (or a fairly hard surface) with the leg to be stretched out in front of you. Place the spiky ball under the widest part of your calf. (The gastrocnemius) and draw your toes back towards your head. See Figure 1.
Now point your toes, allowing the spiky ball to roll a little under your muscles (Figure 2). You can move the ball up or down the leg a little to work into any tight spots. And as always, you should spend as much time as you need to release the tension (but probably not much more than a few minutes).
Now try, rolling the foot so that the toes point to the left, and then to the right (Figures 3 and 4). You’ll feel some portions of the soft tissue are more sensitive than others, but if you’re not feeling quite enough pressure, try crossing the opposite leg over for extra weight onto the ball.
Lastly, roll the ball down towards the Achilles tendon avoiding the bony part at the back of the heel. Try pointing the toes (Figure 5), drawing them back (Figure 6), rolling your leg in and out and crossing the opposite leg on top again.
You should find that working through the calf releases some of those tighter spots and makes activities like walking and stepping downstairs that little easier.
If you have any questions about back or shoulder pain, or would like to book an appointment to see a physiotherapist, please click here to book. Book Online – Physioflexx Ayrshire
For all equiries : Contact – Physioflexx Ayrshire on 01560 483200.
Previous Blogs on our Spiky Ball series can be found here: