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Massage Tools for Runners: Torture Devices for Every Niggle!

While you can’t beat a massage from someone who is trained to give proper sports massages, it is important to be able to work out niggles and tightness yourself. To do so, we find having a few ‘massage tools’ around the house is helpful.

Massage Tools for Runners - Trail & Kale

Here are our top picks for weapons of torture / massage tools for runners to help you get those sore spots, knots and niggles out.

We have one of each of these somewhere in our home. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and I find some are better than others for massaging particular areas of the body.

Simple foam roller

The simple foam roller is a classic, and one every runner should have lying around their home for spontaneous rolling sessions. My favourite uses for this one are for the glutes and piriformis, as well as up and down my back to relieve tensions gained from too much time at a desk.


Massage Tools for Runners - Trail & Kale

Nobbly foam roller

A more aggressive massage tool than the simple roller, this is good for rolling tougher parts of your body, or those needing a deeper massage. My favourite uses for the nobbly foam roller are rolling the calves and hamstrings.

Massage Tools for Runners - Trail & Kale

Tennis ball or spiky tumble-dryer ball

The spiky massage ball is best for rolling smaller areas such as the bottom of your feet (plantar fascia) as well as for deeper glute and back massages to work out sore spots.

Massage Tools for Runners - Trail & Kale

Roll Recovery

This device looks cool but a little scary! It’s built using wheels similar to those found on a pair of roller-blades, mounted on springs to offer intense pressure where needed. I found the tension to be too much for my delicate little body. However Alastair loves to use it on his calves and quads. Each to their own 🙂

Roll Recovery R8 in use
Roll Recovery R8 in use


Compex is an all-in one: TENS machine, strength builder and device for encouraging circulation and muscular recovery on pretty much any part of your body. Place the pads on the appropriate area, connect the device and allow the small electrical pulses to do their work. Cue: amusing jiggling of limbs!

The Compex comes everywhere with us when we travel for races and adventures – it packs down much smaller than a foam roller and significantly helps improve recovery speed. Officially awesome gadget.

Massage Tools for Runners - Trail & Kale


Hot tub jets

If you are fortunate enough to find yourself with access to a spa, or perhaps a hot tub, the massaging power of the jets definitely helps ease aching muscles.

The Alps, and many other mountain regions tend to have more than their share of thermal spas to visit, so if you’ve been out for a day running, skiing or adventuring in those mountains I strongly recommend making one day’s apres-run/ski a spa session.

Happy massaging!


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Helen Dixon
Helen Dixonhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hi, I’m Helen. I write about all things trail running, outdoor adventures and mindful living. Aiming to be a positive influence and have a positive impact on the environment and those around me.
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