The goal of sports massage is often to restore normal function to the athlete through identification of contracted tissues.
As an example, lateral knee pain may be caused by a chronically tight Iliotibial Band. Or, pain at the fibular head may be caused by a tight hamstring (Bicepts femoris.) Release of this tight musculature along with assisted stretching and massage can increase circulation and reduce metabolic waste.
Marathon runners often receive regular massage as part of their overall maintenance to help relieve tension in overworked muscles before problems develop and to help maintain flexibility and reduce injuries.