Acute Effects of Lateral Thigh Foam Rolling on Arterial Tissue Perfusion Determined by Spectral Doppler and Power Doppler Ultrasound

J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Apr;31(4):893-900. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001641.


Hotfiel, T, Swoboda, B, Krinner, S, Grim, C, Engelhardt, M, Uder, M, and Heiss, R. Acute effects of lateral thigh foam rolling on arterial tissue perfusion determined by spectral Doppler and power Doppler ultrasound. J Strength Cond Res 31(4): 893-900, 2017-Foam rolling has been developed as a popular intervention in training and rehabilitation. However, evidence on its effects on the cellular and physiological level is lacking. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of foam rolling on arterial blood flow of the lateral thigh. Twenty-one healthy participants (age, 25 ± 2 years; height, 177 ± 9 cm; body weight, 74 ± 9 kg) were recruited from the medical and sports faculty. Arterial tissue perfusion was determined by spectral Doppler and power Doppler ultrasound, represented as peak flow (Vmax), time average velocity maximum (TAMx), time average velocity mean (TAMn), and resistive index (RI), and with semiquantitative grading that was assessed by 4 blindfolded investigators. Measurement values were assessed under resting conditions and twice after foam rolling exercises of the lateral thigh (0 and 30 minutes after intervention). The trochanteric region, mid portion, and distal tibial insertion of the lateral thigh were representative for data analysis. Arterial blood flow of the lateral thigh increased significantly after foam rolling exercises compared with baseline (p ≤ 0.05). We detected a relative increase in Vmax of 73.6% (0 minutes) and 52.7% (30 minutes) (p < 0.001), in TAMx of 53.2% (p < 0.001) and 38.3% (p = 0.002), and in TAMn of 84.4% (p < 0.001) and 68.2% (p < 0.001). Semiquantitative power Doppler scores at all portions revealed increased average grading of 1.96 after intervention and 2.04 after 30 minutes compared with 0.75 at baseline. Our results may contribute to the understanding of local physiological reactions to self-myofascial release.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Therapy, Soft Tissue / methods*
  • Thigh / blood supply*
  • Thigh / diagnostic imaging
  • Thigh / physiology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler