Foam rollers have been widely used by therapists and recreational exercisers since the 1990s, and has grown in popularity as a tool to reduce aching muscles and improve flexibility. Clinical research in to the benefit of foam rolling has been patchy over the years, but many generally feel positive about using a roller as part of their training regime.
A very recent review carried out by Grieve, R. et al. (2022) looked into to what effect foam rolling has on ankle dorsiflexion (the movement of your ankle as you pull your foot towards you). Reduced ankle dorsiflexion is associated with lower limb injury and dysfunction, so a tool to improve this function would clearly have its benefits.
Results indicated that a single bout of foam rolling, up to 30 minutes, has a significant effect on increasing ankle dorsiflexion in the healthy adult population. Foam rolling should be used in conjunction with other methods, such as stretching and mobility exercises, to ensure maximal function is reached and maintained in the prevention of injury . There is currently a lack of evidence in the long-term effects of foam rolling, indicating further research is needed in this field.