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Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
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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