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August 6, 2022  |  Health & Wellness

Best products for common injuries

Whether you exercise daily or spend most of your time sitting down, you’re likely to experience pain in your back, feet, elbows or knees at some point. Luckily, a wide range of affordable products can alleviate pain in common areas. If you’ve been looking for an easy way to reduce pain, it can be helpful to understand what causes it and which products are best suited to the problem area.

BestReviews’ fitness expert, Judd NeSmith NESM-CPT, PES, discusses the best products that may help active individuals manage common aches and pains.

In this video

BestReviews’ Judd NeSmith joins Scott Moak to share our picks for the best affordable products to manage pain.

Foam roller

Foam rollers are a simple way to massage the connective tissue surrounding your knees and other body parts. You may get adhesions in the soft tissue below your skin when you overwork your muscles; these rollers let you work them out using your body weight. As you roll over the device, you put pressure on the adhesions and release them.

Foam rollers have several other uses. For example, you can use them to stay balanced while doing yoga. Some people use foam rollers to lean and stretch deeper into certain poses. Laying on one while doing crunches helps work your core as well.

Massage stick

A massage stick can be used to alleviate or fix knee pain. When asked about massage sticks, NeSmith said, “I’m so confident in these. I think everyone 50 years and older should have them in their home.” 

Besides alleviating knee pain, these products can be used to massage your quads, hamstrings, calves, back and arms. The best massage sticks roll over legs smoothly without pinching leg hair, skin or clothing. 

Trigger point ball

This handy tool can help treat back pain, reduce muscle tension and improve blood flow. According to NeSmith, “people often address lower back pain by treating the site of the pain, but that’s usually the symptom. You want to address the cause. By using this ball, you can put it on the deep, tight gluteal muscles. They’re often stiff, and when they’re stiff, they cause lower back pain.”

You can use a trigger point ball for about 30 seconds on each gluteal muscle. Using it twice a day is an easy way to help alleviate pain in your lower back. Trigger point balls can also be used to alleviate tension and pain in the calves, shoulders and back. 

Elbow sleeve

Medial epicondylitis, commonly referred to as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, is a common ailment resulting from damage to the tendons used when bending your wrist. These tendons can be damaged when swinging a golf club, chopping wood, playing tennis or carrying heavy luggage.

Elbow sleeves help manage pain caused by medial epicondylitis by squeezing both parts of your elbow while providing support for your elbow joint. Choosing a sleeve that’s comfortable enough to wear while working out is essential. Most elbow sleeves aren’t one size fits all, so ensure you buy a sleeve that provides a snug fit.

Foot massage roller

Plantar fasciitis is a common ailment resulting from inflammation of the thick tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. It can lead to a stabbing pain in your foot that makes it difficult to walk or stand. Foot massage rollers are covered in stiff nodules that help provide nutrient-rich blood flow and help break down scar tissue.

These devices are easy to use and don’t take much time out of your day. According to NeSmith, “I highly recommend this gadget. I often shave as I roll this under my foot. Believe it or not, it actually works.”

Shop this segment

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller

This roller is large enough to cover your back or thighs but compact enough to store under your bed. It’s available in four colors and sizes. Many were surprised by the product’s durability, given its affordable price.

Sold by Amazon


The Stick Marathon Therapeutic Body Massage Stick

This massage stick has smooth rollers that glide over your skin effortlessly. It bends slightly, letting you add pressure where you need it. It’s available in nine colors and is compact enough to carry in luggage or gym bags. 

Sold by Amazon


TriggerPoint Grid Ball Foam Massage Ball

This ball is the perfect size for targeted massages, and many report it alleviates shoulder pain when they roll it between their shoulder and a wall. It’s softer than other massage products but firm enough to alleviate muscle soreness.

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods


Shock Doctor SVR Recovery Compression Elbow Sleeve

The Shock Doctor compression sleeve is available in four sizes and is machine-washable. Wearers hardly notice it while playing golf or tennis because of its comfortable, flexible design. It does an excellent job of compressing your elbow and providing pain relief. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods


Natural Chemistree Foot Massage Roller

This roller’s unique shape makes it more effective than most foot massage rollers. You can control the intensity of your massage by wearing socks, or use it barefoot. 

Sold by Amazon

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.