I have had a foam roller for years ever since I hurt my back weight lifting. It was recommended by a massage therapist. I used it very infrequently until recently. I have two rollers, a Go Fit (Red) foam roller and a Trigger Point “Grid X” (Black) roller.
Why I Foam Roll
When you use a foam roller, you are practicing Self-Myofascial Release (SMR). This is the practice of applying compression to your muscles and the surrounding muscle tissue. SMR increases circulation, makes your muscles more pliable, and allows the recovery process to begin. It is like getting a deep tissue massage in your own living room. I will warn you that the "Grid X" is very hard and you might be sore until you get used to it. I have been using the "Grid X" for a week now and the difference is amazing. My hip issue and IT Band tightness have both almost completely gone away. I tried yoga, icing, massage, and even taking a break from running. The only thing that I have seen improvement with is the foam rolling. Give it a try. Here are the two rollers that I have used.
Foam Roller Options
The Go Fit foam roller is somewhat soft and might be a good starter roller. It retails for about $20 on Amazon.
The Trigger Point “Grid X” is extremely firm, advertised as being twice as firm as the “The Grid” which is their original version. “The Grid” starts around $25 on Amazon. I paid $50 for the Grid X at my local Fleet Feet store. The Trigger Point rollers will not become softer over time like the Go Fit roller will because of the hard PVC center. The "Grid" rollers are great because they have small and large grids (as you can see in the picture) so you can decide what type of pressure you want. The smaller grid simulates getting massaged by finger tips. The larger grid simulates getting massaged by a palm or forearm. In my opinion, "The Grid" and the "Grid X" are by far a better options.
Here are some foam roller workouts that might be helpful.
www.runnersworld.com/stretching/foam-roller-video-series?page=single (8-part video series)
You can also find countless videos on YouTube about foam rolling. I hope you have as much success as I have had. Please let me know your success stories with rolling.