Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baking and Massaging with a Rolling Pin

My knee problem is proving to be baffling, says the PT.  Not very promising, says the only-80%-covered payee.  
As a massage therapist, I am quite familiar with anatomy, muscles, tendons, joints,  .etc, and how they all work and move, but the pain is jumping from my IT band to my quad to my calf to the back side of my knee to my hamstring and I'm not sure what is triggering each twinge of pain and trigger point from one day to the next.  All I can do is massage, ice, rest, try to bike, overdo a hike, swim, roll on the foam roller, stretch and tape.  This time I got pretty blue tape- a sling across the patella tendon and some webbing over the kneecap to lift, pull and stabilize.  Aside from the hundreds of dollars I am racking up, I'm getting anxious.  The trails reopen in another two weeks (most of the local trails close Dec 15-April 15 to protect wintering wildlife and avoid damage to the trails through use during wet conditions) and I'm not making any progress.
With all of this self-massage, I was reminded of one of my favorite massaging (and baking) devices last night when I needed to massage my calf muscle:  my OXO Good Grips rolling pin.  I thought I'd share my good find on this blog as well:  

From May 7, 2008:  I had to buy a new rolling pin the other day. How do you lose a rolling pin, anyhow? A bobby pin, yes, understandable- but a whole rolling pin? I was just about to get out the foam roller for my calves when I spotted the new rolling pin on the floor (of course the kids were using it as a toy...now it makes more sense how maybe the wooden one got lost) and realized that my $14.99 purchase was well worth bypassing the cheap $5.99 splintery wooden version. Think of it in comparison to the Stick:
OXO Good Grips Rolling Pin
• 10" rolling pin • Contoured, raised handles provide a comfortable, firm grip • Specially weighted handles stay in raised position • Nonstick surface for easy cleanup • Dishwasher safe • Get it at your local Target.
$14.99 (2012 price, $20)

The Stick products are made of a space-age plastic that allow necessary flexibility of the tool and provide maximum compression of the muscles • The center rod of the Stick is surrounded by spindles which roll independently over the muscle • The handles provide maximum comfort in the grip • 17"-30" • Order online or pick one up at a race expo.
$25.95 - $49.95

Now, while the Stick may work to strip the muscles in various segments by muliple rolling spindles, the simple rolling pin is a much more effective tool for working common problem areas such as the glutes and IT Band. This particular brand of rolling pin has weighted handles and the overall weight and sturdiness of the rolling pin makes it easier to apply more pressure, more evenly, for a deeper massage. You'd have to exert far more pressure across the handles of the Stick to get comparable pressure of the rolling pin, but with the Stick, you can zero in on a smaller area with the individual spindles.

Overall, the Stick won't evenly roll out cookie or pie dough...and I'm all about multi-tasking.  Clean after each use.


  1. Hi! Sorry to hear about your injury... I had a similar problem with my kneecap being "off track" and had surgery a few years back called a lateral release. Crutches for a month... 5 months of PT 3 x a week...then my knee was as good as new. Good luck

    1. Thanks for the info tmlbean. If you come back to view this, at what point did surgery come up? After initial PT/rehab or right after seeing the doctor? I think I'd rather take a surgery with a recovery timeline than everything being so ambiguous. The not knowing makes it a little more frustrating.

  2. I rehabbed first for a few months with little success. It got to the point where I couldn't sit on the floor with my legs crossed. The dr called it an "overuse injury" from running. The surgery was tough, they cut your quad to be able to align my kneecap. After the pt, I did a return to running plan. (I had the surgery the beginning of April and was able to run a marathon the following spring.) I am not gonna lie-- it sucked, but was worth it.

    1. I've been able to get back on the bike trainer for 3 days, so I'm in an upswing. The patella tendon is really tight and then I massage the IT band and/or bike for 40min and it is nice and loose again. I'm not sure what I should be doing to keep it loose. I have a double-booked PT appointment in a week with 2 therapists so they can put their heads together on this one. I'll bring up the surgery and see what they think. Thanks again!

    2. No problem... I would be interested to see what they think. Good luck!



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