resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
July, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 07
By Neal Cross, PhD, NCTMB
In 1964, Davis published a wonderful monograph describing the functional anatomy of the Giant Panda,1 including a detailed description of the panda's "thumb." Although not a real thumb, this connective tissue pad and underlying bony anatomy functions as a thumb in helping to grasp bamboo: the mainstay of the panda's diet.
Stephen J.Gould's 1980 volume, discusses various functional anatomical adaptations that have occurred in many different taxa over evolutionary time; chapter one discusses the panda's thumb specifically. As functional as this tissue is, it is a far cry from our opposable thumbs. One could, in fact, make the argument that our thumbs are one hallmark of being human - certainly our hands are the mainstay of the massage profession.
The thumb, or first digit, is made up of two phalanges and associated soft tissue. It is attached to the wrist at the first carpometacarpal (CMC) joint. This is a classic saddle joint where the base of the proximal first phalanx and the distal surface of the trapezium are reciprocally saddle-shaped. This allows for considerably more degree of motion than found with any of the other four digits.
The motions allowed at this joint are flexion/extension; abduction/adduction; opposition/apposition/reposition; and circumduction:
The ligaments surrounding the first CMC are very important to the integrity and function of this joint. There have been five ligaments described.4 These ligaments generally allow considerable motion, thus they are not as commonly injured as the metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint; however, the CMC is commonly affected by osteoarthritis. 5 The ulnar ligament of the thumb's MP is frequently stretched or torn. This has been referred to as "gamekeeper's" thumb (early gamekeepers used to dispose of farmyard fowl by placing the bird's neck between the thumb and forefinger and snapping the neck) or "bowler's" thumb.
Currently, the most common injury here is related to ski pole usage. At any rate, the injury is the result of a traumatic event that tears the ulnar collateral ligament when the thumb is forced into hyperabduction/extension. By gapping the MP joint using a valgus force, one sees a dramatic gap on the ulnar side of the joint. Splinting is indicated for a stretched ligament, and surgery for a torn ligament.5
Another common problem of the thumb is de Quervain's tenosynovitis.5 This involves inflammation of the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis tendons within their tendon sheaths at the lateral (anterior) border of the anatomical snuffbox. Remember, the anatomical "snuffbox" is that region bounded by the tendons of the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis, laterally (anteriorly); and the extensor pollicis longus, medially (posteriorly). The radial artery runs along its floor; here, the artery's pulse can be palpated. Treatments of de Quervain's tenosynovitis include immobilization, steroid injections and surgery.
Back to the panda's thumb: Where did it come from? It seems to be a modification of the connective tissue overlying a modified sesamoid bone. We have two sesamoid bones associated with our first metacarpophalangeal joint. These bones serve as attachments of thenar muscles. The abductor pollicis brevis and flexor pollicis brevis attach to the lateral sesamoid and the proximal phalanx, while the two heads of the adductor pollicis attach to the medial sesamoid and the proximal phalanx. Both of these attachments continue on to the extensor hood, as well. It seems that over evolutionary time, some carnivore taxa had a more developed lateral sesamoid bone. This developed into a large sesamoid bone, as seen today in the Giant Pandas. Other mammals, like the raccoon, have sophisticated grasping function, but not nearly as sophisticated as ours.
Take good care of your thumbs. They serve you well.
Click here for previous articles by Neal Cross, PhD, NCTMB.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.