So What the Deuce is Trigger Point Therapy?

July 13, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Injury | 10 Comments

Oh dear, I’ve gotten myself into quite the writing conundrum by referencing unexplained things in other posts. Just carelessly throwing around terms like ART and Trigger Point and complaining about a silly little knee pain.

The Problem Knee

So let me start from the beginning: Once upon a time (last summer, actually) I decided to train for the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon. This was only my second half-marathon and I trained religiously for the early November race date. This left me in the shape of my life–even fitter and faster than during NCAA cross-country.

I trained for months, and THE WEEK BEFORE the race my left knee started to tighten during runs. Having run for 12 years, I’ve had injuries before and dealt with them with a little cross-training and rest. Being so close to my race, I ended my taper early and rested until race day.

My knee felt tight before my race. I raced anyway. Fast, in fact, and won my age group. To make a long story short, this race ended my running for the next 3 months, by far the most time I have ever had to stop running.

I tried conventional medicine. My primary care physician’s area is sports medicine, and he prescribed the standard rest and an MRI. The MRI showed nothing. I tried walk/jogging, but the pain continued. My doctor gave me a cortisone shot. The shot did nothing.

So What Finally Worked?

A co-worker told me about a free injury clinic at RunTex (a wonderful running store). I went, and met a chiropractor who uses Active Release Technique (ART). He moved my knee around, did some slightly painful rubbing, and told me that the knee itself was strong and uninjured. He told me to set up an appointment, and to start running in the meantime. I got into the car and burst into tears of relief.

To make a long story short, the ART worked wonders. My knee pain is caused by scar tissue build up and very tight spots in my legs. My soleus is particularly problematic, but so is my IT band, other parts of my calf, you name it. The ART therapy works out the tightness and relieves the pain in my knee. Ironically, my health insurance will have nothing to do with the one kind of treatment that actually works. I had to my chiropractor for months and still have to do my home exercises and my Trigger Point therapy, but running is worth every minute lost and every dollar spent.

But You Still Haven’t Explained Trigger Point Therapy

I know, I know, I know!  Ok, so TP therapy, otherwise known as “rolling out,” is a very expensive yet effective way to work out the knots in your muscles. It’s like doing ART on yourself. I do it before and after I run, and usually one time in the evening as well. Sometimes I will do extra if I’m being particularly paranoid.

I could go on and on about the various causes of my knee pain, the ART therapy and the TP therapy, but that would be boring for you and the links in this post will probably explain the therapies better than I can. However, I can at least provide you with some stupid looking pictures of me doing TP.


Rolling out my Quad

Rolling out my Quad

Rolling out my IT Band

Rolling out my IT Band


Rolling out my Calf using the Ball

Rolling out my Calf using the Ball


Rolling out my Calf using the uh...Other Thing

Rolling out my Calf using the uh...Other Thing



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  1. […] Roll out my legs. […]

  2. Jessica,

    My name is Jessica Phillips and I work for Trigger Point Performance Therapy. I really liked your blog and how well you use and know our products. I wanted to send you a shirt as a little token of our gratitude for your support. You can find my information at the below link.

    I hope to hear from you soon.


  3. […] sporting goods stores. You also need to elevate your foot 6 inches or so. I use the block from my TP kit, but you can use a stack of books, a box, whatever. Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each position and […]

  4. […] and I’m seeing him again on Monday to try and work out my band a little more. I’ve been rolling out like crazy this week, but there’s some tightness right by the knee that can’t be […]

  5. […] already discussed how I treat and prevent this knee pain: Trigger Point and ART, muscle corrective exercises, and a training method that allows my body to […]

  6. […] breakfast, so I wait until after I shower. This usually takes a while because first I stretch and roll out, and immediately after I shower I blow dry my hair (it will be flat if I wait […]

  7. […] Drink recovery smoothie while rolling out […]

  8. […] and Justy2003 asked for more information on Active Release Technique (ART). This early post of mine will tell you how I discovered ART and how I used it to control my Runner’s Knee. This […]

  9. […] February-March: Easy does it. Thank you, ART.  […]

  10. […] Roll out my legs. […]

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