Fascial tissue may be a new, fancy word for you, but it is simply connective tissue found throughout your whole body that when released can ease muscle tightness and pain while also delivering healing to the affected area. Fascial tissue release and stretching is very important for people who have had hip or knee replacements or who have arthritis. Yes, it is a newer area of research that still requires a lot of discovery for greater understanding, but the information we have right now, is very positive. If you do not currently do any fascial mobility, stretching, or release, it is time you start because it will help you move and feel better!
If you are recovering from a knee or hip replacement, one of your treatment methods to explore for relief of tight muscles, pain, and muscle imbalances most definitely should be fascial tissue release. We have many layers of fascial tissue and it is even found around our organs and bones, but the most accessible layer is directly under the skin. We even have fascial lines in our bodies which means the fascial tissue at your ankle is connected all the way up to your neck. The exciting benefit of this is that releasing fascia around your ankle can give you more mobility or relief at your neck. Bottom line is that all of our fascia is interconnected and this can be both bad and good news; it is great news if we use it to move and release our body.
How to Release Fascial Tissue to Increase Mobility
Having just come out of a weekend long conference of which I attended four sessions on fascial tissue mobility, my best recommendation would be to hire or see an expert who can perform or show you how to improve fascial mobility around your knee and hip joints. There are many professionals who could help you with this including personal trainers, kinesiologists, physiotherapists, movement specialists, and registered massage therapists. Make sure they have experience or knowledge with fascial tissue or specialize in this area. You may also want to make sure you are past the healing stage of six weeks post knee and hip replacement surgery before you try this treatment method. When in doubt ask your surgeon, doctor, or physiotherapist.
The exciting news is that fascial tissue can be released with simple movements that do not require any equipment and they feel great too. In fact with movement, you are bringing blood flow and circulation to your fascia and joints which can aid healing while also decreasing muscle tightness. There are also great tools or as I like to call them fitness gadgets which can provide fascia stimulation and circulation through gentle, vibrating massage.
I was able to experience and try the vibrating massage tools out for the first time at the CanFitPro conference and found them to feel great and produce a positive effect. What is great about these is you can use them on your own with a hand held device that you could implement daily or as needed. I did end out buying the Hypersphere mini and would recommend it as long as you learn how to use it properly and receive clearance from your surgeon or doctor.
Why Hip and Knee Replacement or Arthritis Patients Need Fascial Release
If there is one thing I have learned, witnessed, and experienced with the hundreds of hip and knee replacement clients I have trained, it is that their muscles shorten and tighten both pre and post surgery. So, if you are reading this and currently have knee or hip arthritis awaiting surgery, know that the pain in your joint is causing muscles to weaken, shorten, and tighten. This pain is also causing lack of movement or decreased range of motion which limits blood flow to the joint and surrounding tissues. There are safe fascial mobility exercises and stretches that anyone with arthritis or a joint replacement can do or receive from a trained exercise specialist.
If you are post joint replacement surgery, you are most definitely starting out with muscle weakness around your affected joint, shortened muscles due to limitations in range of motion, and perhaps some pain. Often this pain post knee or hip replacement can be linked to tissue healing, but also to muscle tightness. This is where mobility exercises focusing on fascial release or assisted fascial release by a trained professional such as a registered massage therapist will help you a lot.
A Variety of Fascial Tissue Release Methods
There are a number of fascial tissue release methods you can choose from and your choice may depend on how mobile you are, if you require assistance, and what stage of healing or function you are at when you begin. What I would highly recommend for you is to seek professional guidance first by a trained professional on how to perform it or to have them do it for you. Here are a few options for you to consider:
- Massage with a registered massage therapist who specializes in fascial tissue. You could look into ART which stands for Active Release Therapy
- Fascial Movement exercises with a Personal Trainer, Kinesiologist or someone who specializes in fascial movement and release
- Vibration tools that gently massage and promote circulation to connective tissue such as HyperIce
- Movement Specialist such as a Functional Movement Screen certified trainer and functional movement specialist
- Foam rolling or soft ball rolling for self myofascial release techniques
Healing Benefits of Fascial Release
So why I am so excited and enthusiastic about fascial release and the benefits it can bring to people with arthritis or joint replacements? We know your joint deteriorates with osteoarthritis which is what causes the pain and need for a new knee or hip joint; however, what is also affected with that deterioration and pain is your muscles, connective tissue, and the circulation to your joint. What happens is that the muscles shorten and tighten, range of motion at the joint decreases, and this also lowers the amount of circulation or blood flow to the joint. Fascial release and mobility addresses all these problems.
For all those changes that happen at your joint that alter your function and how you feel, fascial release and mobility methods can help relieve them. By integrating fascial mobility methods into your treatment or training routine, you will increase blood flow and circulation to the muscles and tissue surrounding the joint, release tight muscles, and increase mobility possibly and hopefully leading to a decrease in pain.
If you are currently working with a physiotherapist, kinesiologist, personal trainer, or a registered massage therapist, ask them if they are experienced and educated in fascial release and mobility. Start the conversation or seek out a professional who can help you learn what to do, how to do it correctly, and what muscles you need fascial release on because not all of your muscles will need it.
Hip and Knee Replacement Exercises and Programs for Pre and Post Surgery
My goal is to keep you informed with exercises, treatment, and healing methods to assist you with your knee and hip replacement or arthritis. If you have questions or a specific topic you want covered, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can view the complete knee and hip replacement exercise programs here:
If you are a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, or Kinesiologist who wants to learn exercise design and programming for knee and hip replacement clients, I created an online course for you that has everything included that I provide in my one day workshop, ‘Training the Joint Replacement Client”. You can find that online hip and knee replacement course for personal trainers here.