resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
September, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 09
Achilles Tendon Disorder
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Massage therapists see many clients with active lifestyles. Running, jumping, dancing, climbing, or any number of other activities can put serious stress on the Achilles tendon (AT). AT disorders also can contribute to biomechanical disorders in the foot and lower extremity.That is why it is important for the massage practitioner to understand more about the structure, function and pathology of this very important tendon.
The AT is the strongest tendon in the body and needs this strength because of the high force loads required during motions such as walking, running or landing from a jump. AT disorders can occur at any age, but there is an increased frequency in older populations. The increased age of the active baby boomer generation in this country suggests we likely are to see more of this condition in years to come. The tendon is susceptible to a variety of pathologies, such as paratendinitis (also spelled paratendonitis), tendinosis and tendinitis. Some of these different terms can be confusing, so I'll distinguish them below.
Structure, Function and Pathology
The AT connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the calcaneus. The tendon is surrounded by a thin membrane called the paratenon, which helps facilitate blood supply throughout the tendon. There is a region of the AT near the distal insertion, called the avascular zone that has a very poor blood supply (Figure 1). This region frequently is the site of inflammation and degenerative changes within the tendon.
The term tendinitis is used for overuse tendon pathologies throughout the body. Yet, most of these conditions do not involve inflammation so they truly aren't tendinitis (the suffix -itis indicates inflammation). Yet the AT is one tendon that commonly does have inflammatory activity in the tendon and the paratenon. Consequently, the terms tendinitis and paratendinitis usually are accurate when referring to the AT.
Achilles tendinitis is classified as insertional or non-insertional. Insertional tendinitis involves pathology at the insertion of the AT into the calcaneus. It is prevalent in older individuals and those who engage in activities without proper conditioning. Poor healing of minor tendon damage occurs at the calcaneal tendon insertion due to the lack of blood supply in the avascular region.1
The second category of overuse AT disorders is non-insertional tendonitis - those that don't affect the insertion of the tendon into the calcaneus, but cause problems in other areas of the tendon. Non-insertional tendinitis typically affects athletes and those engaged in vigorous physical activity. The pathologies under the umbrella of non-insertional tendinitis include paratendonitis (inflammation of the paratenon), tendinosis (collagen degeneration within the tendon) and tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon).
Tendinosis is degeneration of the collagen matrix within the tendon, which leads to pain and loss of function. It commonly is categorized as non-insertional tendinitis, even though it is not an inflammatory disorder. The degenerative changes of tendinosis are caused by age, repetitive microtrauma or other factors that lead to collagen breakdown. The collagen degeneration frequently precedes inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis.
Non-insertional tendinitis can be acute or chronic and primarily affects the avascular zone near the base of the tendon. There is tenderness throughout the tendon and fibrous thickening near the distal end, which is apparent when the tendon is compared to the unaffected side (assuming the other side is not affected). In many cases, tendinitis and paratendinitis occur together and both the tendon and paratenon are inflamed. If not treated properly, tendinitis can lead to either partial or complete tendon ruptures.2
Recent studies show a link between certain medications and the onset of AT degeneration and ruptures. Especially implicated are medications in the fluoroquinolone family of antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (brand named Cipro).3-5 These medications cause tendon pathology in large tendons of the body, even in the absence of vigorous repeated activity. In addition, systemic disorders such as hyperthyroidism, renal insufficiency, gout or rheumatoid arthritis also can contribute to tendinitis in the AT.6,7
AT disorders are best controlled through rest and activity modification. Rest means stopping offending activities, not immobilization. Lack of movement might lead to the development of fibrous adhesions. Cold applications and anti-inflammatory medication may be used to address inflammatory activity if present. As soon as stretching is tolerable, it is helpful to stretch the AT several times per day.
Massage applications to the calf muscles reduce tension and decrease tensile forces on the tendon. Deep friction, as tolerated in the problem area, is beneficial in stimulating fibroblast proliferation in the tendon to repair the damaged collagen matrix. Cold applications prior to the deep friction reduce the intensity of the discomfort, and reapplying cold after treatment reduces the accelerated metabolic response to the friction. Heel lifts inside the shoe may be recommended to help reduce tension on the tendon. Corticosteroid injections formerly were used with greater frequency and are not recommended now because of long-term detrimental effects on the tendon, such as tendon rupture.8 Massage therapists applying these concepts of evaluation and treatment will be much more effective in helping their clients address this frequent cause of foot and lower leg pain.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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