What is the Graston Technique?

Reasons for Using Graston Technique 

Graston Technique (GT) is an evidence-based soft tissue mobilization instrument that helps improve: 

  • Pain
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce soft tissue lesions 
  • Skin restrictions 

This can result in improved pain free motion. Graston Technique is unlike other Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) products, as it uses 6 specially designed stainless-steel instruments with unique treatment edges and angles to break down scar tissue and promote blood flood. This is used in conjunction with an emollient moisturizer to reduce friction and increase the glide of the instrument. When Graston technique is incorporated with therapy approved exercises and stretching, it can result in pain-free motion and function.

Physical therapist completing the Graston Technique on a patient's arm.Graston Technique at JOI Rehab San Marco
How Painful is the Graston Technique?

Graston technique should not be painful to the patient to be effective. If there is pain, you should stop treatment and consult your therapist. 

There is the possibility of bruising occurring, but as stated before this should not be painful. The bruising is a temporary side effect. Graston will slowly improve motion, decrease pain, and scarring. If the bruising does not go away after a couple of days then it would be reasonable for the therapist to reduce the intensity, duration, and pressure of the instrument. 

After Graston technique, it is helpful to ice the affected area and continue the home exercise program to improve the tissue. 

Benefits of Graston Technique for Tendonitis

The benefit of using Graston technique for tendonitis is to reduce stress to the area of injury. It can also help: 

  • Decrease inflammation 
  • Improve muscle strength and flexibility. 
  • Increase blood flow 
  • Promote soft tissue repair 
  • Break up scar tissue

Scar tissue can gather in the body from a surgical procedure, or when the tissue undergoes excessive tension. It is important to reduce scar tissue to improve motion and pain to the area of concern.

Physical therapist completing the Graston Technique on a patient's foot.Graston Technique on the Foot at JOI Rehab.

Click to learn more about Muscle Strains.

Is Graston Technique Good for Tennis Elbow and/or Achilles Tendonitis?

Graston Technique can be used on various forms of tendonitis including tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis, and many more. Patients should make sure their therapist is certified in Graston technique before any treatment is initiated. Below is a list of some conditions that Graston technique can benefit. If you are interested in Graston Technique, consult with your therapist to know if this is appropriate for you.  

  • Achilles Tendinitis/osis (ankle pain) 
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (wrist pain) 
  • Cervicothoracic Sprain/Strain (neck pain) 
  • Lateral Epicondylitis/osis (tennis elbow) 
  • Lumbosacral Sprain/Strain (back pain) 
  • Medial Epicondylitis/osis (golfer's elbow) 
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes 
  • Patellofemoral Disorders (knee pain) 
  • Plantar Fasciitis/osis (foot pain) 
  • Post surgeries such as joint replacements, RTC repairs (once post-surgical protocol allows for soft tissue mobilization/manual therapy) 
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis/osis (shoulder pain) 
  • Scar Tissue/post-surgical scars (once completely closed) 
  • Shin Splints 
  • Trigger Finger 
  • Women's Health (post-mastectomy and Caesarean scarring) 

To learn more about Tendonitis Treatments, Click HERE.

How Often Should You Do the Graston Technique?

The use of Graston should vary depending on the injury or ailment. The therapist should also consider the integrity of the patient’s skin and include a specific maintenance program. Normally patients usually receive 1-2 treatments over a course of 4-5 weeks. This is modified depending on the patient's needs. On average, patients notice positive results by the 3rd or 4th treatment session. 

Graston should not be performed on the following conditions:

  • Open wounds/ unhealed suture sites/ sutures 
  • Thrombophlebitis 
  • Uncontrolled hypertension 
  • Inflammatory conditions due to infection 
  • Unstable fractures 
  • Hypersensitivity 
  • Infectious skin conditions

To learn more about Graston Technique, click HERE.

Physical therapist completing the Graston Technique on a patient's foot.Graston Technique on the Heel at JOI Rehab.

By: Anita R. Ballmick, MOTR/L

Graston Technique in Jacksonville

JOI practitioners have extensive training in the Graston Technique. The Graston Technique is often practiced by athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physicians.

Call 904-858-7045 to schedule an appointment at JOI Rehab for the Graston Technique. We offer this service at all 12 JOI Rehab clinics!

To book an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the button down below!

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