Foam Roller VS Spiky Ball

While many of you have seen the spiky balls and foam rollers around Live Well Health Centre, you may not know what they can do or what the differences are between them.

What is a foam roller?

A foam roller is a self-massage tool using direct pressure to roll and compress the targeted muscles, tendons, skin and fascia(1). Foam rollers utilise the person’s body weight as the force and can easily target the larger muscle groups.

There are different sizes, densities and textures available to account for an individual’s muscle sensitivity and tolerance to pressure. The smooth and softer density foam rollers are a great one to start with. However, if you like a deep tissue massage you may be more inclined to try a firm foam roller with ridges or knobs.

What is a spiky ball?

A spiky ball is another self-massage tool but its focus is on trigger point therapy for tension release. Spiky balls also utilise the person’s body weight as a force. This means you can control how much pressure to use and how much pain it causes. Due to its more compact size, it is able to target those smaller muscle groups a lot easier than a foam roller. This also allows it to be used up against the wall, whilst seated or on the floor.

It is perfect to take with you to work or pack in your suitcase while you’re travelling!

Which is better for me?

Both the spiky ball and foam roller are great self-massage tools that may help to alleviate tension, increase blood flow and increase mobility. Every body is different and requires varying approaches to treatment. It is best to speak to your Osteopath about which is more appropriate for you and your pain.


  1. Cheatham, S. W., & Stull, K. R. (2018). ROLLER MASSAGE: A COMMENTARY ON CLINICAL STANDARDS AND SURVEY OF PHYSICAL THERAPY PROFESSIONALS- PART 1. International journal of sports physical therapy, 13(4), 763–772. Accessed on 17/8/20 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6088127/ 
  2. Picture accessed on 2/09/2020 and sourced from Chiliguides at: https://chiliguides.com/guides/guide-to-buying-a-foam-roller/