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I suffer from plantar fasciitis because of my flat feet and my propensity to overpronate. And you know what? It fucking hurts. It may be due to the few kilometers I run per week. It is certainly partly a genetic predisposition. But it’s not exactly an unusual disease – 25-30% of Americans are in the same boat. It turns out that between the 8,000 odd nerves and dozens of bones, joints and ligaments in the human foot, a lot can go wrong.
Fortunately, there are all kinds of treatments for problems like these. Changing your running stride, if you participate, can be one of the most critical elements of a healthy foot – after all, foot strike determines how wear and tear from running impact is distributed. (the goal here is evenly) – and even if you don’t consider yourself a runner or jogger, changes to your foot shape, like introducing orthotics, can be a lifesaver.
I myself have tried many mitigation therapies – reducing my mileage, changing shoes, even compression socks. All helped me to some extent, but the closest thing to relief was a lacrosse ball. The dense rubber sphere works wonders massaging the bottom of your foot, pressing the tight, battered ligament that runs from heel to toe, and easing tension on the foot.
So imagine my delight when Hyperice, best known for its much-loved massage gun, released a similar vibrating device, this time in bullet form. The wellness brand, endorsed by Lebron James, Naomi Osaka and Patrick Mahomes to name a few, specializes in performance recovery, and they were clearly inspired by the humble little ball LAX during the creation of the Hypersphere.
The principle is super simple: combine the effects of rollout with the benefits of a high torque 30W motor for a deep tissue massage that relaxes muscles and aids recovery. There’s no denying that myofascial relief – the treatment, normally by massage, of tenderness and pain in your myofascial tissue – is essential for optimal performance and overall well-being, but even an agile Hypervolt might have difficulty in completely treating certain parts of the body (see: the sole of the foot).
With a compact ball, those hard to reach places – feet, lower back, hamstrings – become much more accessible. Unlike your standard massage gun, you can also roll over a massage ball, which means you get both the percussive effects of a massage and the tension release of a good stretch.
The thing is solid – nearly three pounds – but with a rubber coating and an intuitive shape, taking the Hypersphere out means a happy release. It operates at three power levels (I operate almost only at the mid level) and holds a charge for dozens of uses. Overall it’s very effective. Really, fifteen minutes of rolling on the bottom of my foot always does the trick to soothe any aches or pains that might arise. It’s also small enough that you can take it virtually anywhere, be it the gym, the courts, even work (best to talk to your cubic neighbors first, but the point remains). It’s even TSA approved!
In my own life, I’ve come to look forward to my post-race routine. I come home, huffing and puffing, stripping off my winter running gear, laying down on the couch with a beer, and kicking off the Hypersphere before rolling my foot for a few. It’s the perfect relaxing practice to end my workout (and normally my day). Dare I say it’s even… meditative?
The Hypersphere is an incredibly useful tool, especially if you are sensitive to muscle tension and pain. It’s undeniably a bit expensive – the massage ball retails for $150, although a mini version is available for just $100 – and with a variety of other techniques the same soothing effect can be achieved. . But if you have the resources and want an easy fix for aches and strains, you really can’t beat this thing. It has become essential equipment not only for my running habits, but for my life in general.
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