Graston Technique

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graston technique

Available at Windermere, Royal Glenora, St. Albert, Capilano Rehabilitation Centre, Old Strathcona, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Heritage Valley, Leduc, Tower Sports Medicine Calgary, and Calgary University District locations.

Graston Technique provides us with multiple edges for your recovery

We are pleased to offer Graston Technique in St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove and all Edmonton locations. Graston Technique is a soft tissue mobilization technique utilizing specially designed tools to assist athletes and individuals with their injuries.

This technique allows our therapists at Leading Edge Physiotherapy to perform soft tissue mobilization that we previously performed only with our hands. When there is scar tissue, when our hands can’t reach it well or when they might fatigue with treatment, we utilize finely crafted stainless steel Graston tools to help us to heal the tissues heal properly. Utilizing a stainless steel tool with different bevels and designs has an advantage as the tools conform to the tissue better than our hands. The Graston tools also carry a “different” sensation back to the clinician allowing us to better diagnose and find restrictions (a.k.a. scar tissue) that can lead to dysfunction in muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue.

Who benefits from the Graston Technique?

If you have sustained an injury to a muscle, ligament or tendon then you will develop scar tissue during the healing process. While scar tissue is a necessary part of your recovery it can sometimes lead to restrictions and dysfunction in the tissue or joint that it is acting on. People who have sprained a ligament or “pulled” a muscle such as in the ankle, knee, shoulder or arm, should access this treatment early to prevent the excessive formation of scar tissue and ensure that their joint or muscle can function properly and thereby reduce the chances of an unnecessary chronic condition occurring. Those who are already dealing with a chronic issue related to scar tissue can also benefit from the technique as it allows us to manage chronic adhesions as well.

Why use the Graston Technique?

Scar tissue and adhesions prevent the fluid movement of muscle, tendon, ligament and fascia. As the Graston instrument glides over the adhered tissues, the stainless steel tool will reverberate the feeling in our hands.   Like a stethoscope amplifies sounds of the heart, the Graston tools assist us in finding the exact areas of restriction. They help us to break down the scar tissue, and over time this process will reduce or eliminate the adhered fibers, restore function and decrease pain.

Depending on the treatment plan designed for you, the Graston Technique is used in conjunction with other techniques, modalities and/or exercise. Your treatment plan, designed with your treating physiotherapist and based on your assessment and goals, will be specifically tailored to you and the nature of your injury.


We can apply varying amounts of pressure and different techniques with the tools to:

  • Increase the flow of blood, bringing the good stuff (i.e. oxygen, platelet derived growth factor) to
  • Increase the flow of blood, bringing the good stuff (i.e. oxygen, platelet derived growth factor) to the injured or dysfunctional area.
  • Reduce areas of sensitivity – those areas that are very sensitive or tender.
  • Break down areas of restriction, “stickiness,” in the soft tissues of the body. Want to know more about how this happens?
  • Ultimately we are attempting to break down barriers that allow full and normal movement of the tissue!
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Neck pain from strains, degenerative changes or joint dysfunctions
  • Jaw “TMJ” pain
  • Thoracic pain (Upper back such as between the shoulder blades)
  • Lower back pain from strains, degenerative changes, disc pathology or joint dysfunctions
  • Groin pain
  • Hamstring pain/tightness
  • Quadricep pain/tightness
  • Plantar fasciitis (Heel pain)
  • Ankle, knee, wrist, elbow sprains and strains
  • TENDINOSIS – Achilles, rotator cuff, patellar etc.
  • Tennis and Golfer’s elbow
  • Acute and chronic sports injuries

At Leading Edge all of our Graston practitioners have undergone extensive post-graduate training in soft tissue injury management. Since the Graston Technique at our facility is performed by registered physical therapists, treatments are eligible for reimbursement by 3rd party insurance with physiotherapy benefits.

Oh no you don’t!

No referral is necessary to access any of our services.

Tendons are made up of strands of a material called collagen. The collagen strands are lined up in bundles next to each other. Repeating some types of activities over and over again can put too much strain on the tendons.  In an acute “new” injury, the body undergoes an inflammatory response.  Special inflammatory cells make their way to the injured tissues to help them heal. Conditions that involve inflammation are indicated by -itis on the end of the word.  For example, inflammation in a tendon is called tendonitis.

Often, inflammation isn’t even involved. Rather the problem is within the cells of the tendon and due to degeneration there is an abnormal arrangement of the collagen fibres.  This is known as “tendonosis.”  Instead of inflammatory cells, the body produces a type of cells called fibroblasts.  When this happens, the collagen loses its strength. It becomes fragile and can break or be easily injured.  Each time the collagen breaks down, the body responds by forming scar tissue in the tendon. Eventually, the tendon becomes thickened from extra scar tissue and may even begin to form bone within it.

These injuries often remain unresolved and can provoke pain even in the absence of ongoing injury or tissue damage. This is often the reason that your injury continues to prevent you from enjoying everyday activities. It is often the reason that you still hurt even though you should have healed long ago. This is often why, it won’t just go away!

If your problem persists longer than 2 to 3 weeks, you should be assessed to determine if Radial Shockwave, Graston Technique, IMS and/or other physical therapies may be right for you.  We will work with you to determine the right treatment for your injury.


Scar tissue is formed as part of the normal healing process. It inevitably forms whenever our body’s tissue is damaged. Most people understand scars that form as a result of a cut, as they are easy to see, but scar also forms internally when we injure our muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Unfortunately, scar tissue is not as functional as the tissue that it replaces. Normal tissue in the body has a consistent form and our healthy skeletal muscle tissue is formed of collagen that sits in a striated fashion (lined up parallel to one another). It allows for normal contraction and flexibility.

When scar tissue forms after injury, our body produces collagen excessively. The initial production of granulation is necessary to provide tensile strength to the injury site. In certain circumstances, the granulation leads to contraction of the scar and to poor structural organisation of the components of regenerating muscle and scar tissue. This leads to a lack of flexibility in the tissue and often this poor structural organization can cause pain and dysfunction.

We like to use a paint brush as an example. If we take the correct steps to store the brush after use, we can pull out the brush and use it easily for our next project. The brush starts out as a soft, supple parallel group of bristles that can bend easily in many directions. If we simply let the bristles dry, they start to bind to one another and the brush loses its flexibility and function. The brush cracks and bends irregularly. At this point more care is required to rehabilitate the brush and get it back to work. Hence early diagnosis and treatment of the brush is a necessity.

It is important to know that all injured tissue will develop scarring to some extent. When the scarring prevents normal function of the affected tissue or joint, pain or restricted function exists. This is why we encourage all of our patients to have their injuries assessed, to receive advice in the early stages of injury and to have a proper treatment regime started.

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