I’ve been through all kinds of rehab treatments for the many times I have busted up my body in training and on race day. A round of epidurals in the old back, chiropractic, “rolfing” and other deep tissue work – they all have their place and DO work, but at different speeds and the extent of recovery will vary with each individual.
And then in the second phase of treating an injury active recovery methods like yoga and Pilates tend to help once the initial inflammation of a pull or strain has subsided a bit.
But I came across a new methodology about a year-and-a-half ago that’s nothing short of amazing for both injury prevention AND treatment – band flossing, or simply “flossing” among the in crowd.
First seeing this used by competitive cross-fitters and power lifters, I had to give it a go with a recent nagging knee strain that wasn’t responding to my other attempts to get the pesky join back in line. Short story: it worked pretty well and is now a part of my warm up and cool down regimen. Here’s some more about this cutting edge rehab modality.
When you can use Floss Bands?
Floss bands aren’t going to be much use with spinal issues, but seem to be well-suited to the following:
- ankle mobility
- shoulder internal rotation
- anterior knee pain, lateral knee pain
- infra-patella pain or pain under patella
- upper thigh, hamstring
- upper arm, forearm and elbow
Each of these areas and their relevant functions call for a distinct way to wrap the floss bands. If there is a problem with how the compression bands are wrapped, the whole process will be ineffective. Wrapping the floss bands too loosely or tightly is not recommended. And definitely don’t use floss bands on bruises or open wounds, even if there is a bandage. Do not use these bands in case of severe injury such as fractures or torn ligaments. Use floss bands for very short periods of time, usually 45 seconds to two minutes at a stretch and you should unwrap the bands if there is any tingling sensation, if the skin turns pale or if there is any indication of increase in blood pressure. Floss bands work best when used sparsely and only around the affected muscle, joint or tissues.
How to use Floss Bands for Rehab
Always opt for optimal tension while using floss bands for the first time. You don’t want it to be loose and you definitely don’t want it to be too tight. Just have enough tension to allow the range of motion or the workout you are about to undertake. When you are using floss bands on shoulders, wrap away from your body so you should go clockwise on the right shoulder and anticlockwise on the left shoulder. Start wrapping at the top of the shoulder and continue wrapping till about mid arm. Tuck the end when you are done with the length of the band. Rotate your arm and test the motion. Remember to keep the time-under-tension below 2 minutes. Finish the shoulder exercise and then remove the band before moving to any other joint or muscle where you may need the band.
When you have to use floss bands on the elbow, start above it and ensure fifty percent tension on the compression band, wrap the band away from your body and ensure seventy five percent tension, wrap till just under the elbow and then move up wrapping the arm till above the elbow. Tuck the tip of the band. Straighten the arm and bend it to feel the range of motion and adjust tension if needed. Wrists and hands can be wrapped in the same way. Start with the hand, wrap the band two to three times and then bring it towards the wrist, wrap it around the wrist a few times depending on the length of the band and then go back to wrapping the hand. Tuck the tip of the band under itself at your palm. Grip this part if you want and test the range of motion of your wrist by bending it up and down as well as sideways and circular motions. Flex your hand and form a fish to see if you have any pain or discomfort due to the tension.
Wrapping techniques for thighs and hamstrings are the same. Start wrapping the lower quad to the middle part of the thigh and back to where you started. Do squats and check how you feel. When you wrap floss bands around knees, do not cover the whole knee. Focus on lower or upper parts of the knee depending on the focal point of the pain. Use the back of the knee to go up or down the knee cap. The same technique must be used for ankles. Do not cover the entire ankle.
For a more visual walk-through there are a couple of great videos on YouTube when you search “how to use floss bands”.