resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
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.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
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.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
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.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
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.
May, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 05
New Perspectives on ITB Friction Syndrome
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
If you've ever been running or hiking downhill and experienced a nagging pain on the side of your knee, there is a good chance you were feeling iliotibial band (ITB) friction syndrome. It is an overuse condition resulting from repetitive flexion and extension of the knee in activities such as running, and is considered the primary cause of lateral knee pain.1 Several factors contribute to the problem, including structural deviations in the hip or knee, tightness of the hip muscles, or lack of proper conditioning. However, a new anatomical study sheds a different light on the ITB and requires us to take another view of this problem. It appears the cause of pain and mechanics of ITB function, however, may be different than we have previously thought.
Traditional anatomical illustrations of the ITB (Figure 1) show the ITB as an isolated structure running down the lateral side of the thigh. Viewing the ITB as an isolated structure has led us to perceive it as being capable of moving back and forth in an anterior to posterior direction. While you can grasp the edges of the ITB and feel it move a little back and forth, there may be much less movement occurring in the band than we originally thought.
The lateral epicondyle of the femur is located just underneath the distal fibers of the iliotibial band (Figure 2). Descriptions of ITB friction syndrome in the orthopedic literature state that when the knee is in extension, the band lies anterior to the lateral epicondyle of the femur. They go on to say that at approximately 30 degrees of flexion, the ITB begins to move across the lateral epicondyle and the posterior fibers of the ITB are the first to contact the bony prominence.2 Thickening of the posterior fibers of the ITB, has been observed in some people.3 It is suggested that the apparent thickening of the posterior aspect of the ITB is somehow related to excess friction. It is not clear whether this thickening of the posterior band of fibers is a cause of the excess friction or the result of it.
The perception of the ITB as an independent structure on the lateral thigh is not actually accurate, however. There is a fascial sleeve that encases the entire thigh called the fasciae latae (Figure 3). The ITB is actually a thickened portion of the fasciae latae. Therefore, if the ITB were moving back and forth across the lateral epicondyle of the femur, the entire fasciae latae would have to be moving significantly with it as well and that does not appear to be happening.
A recent study by Fairclough, et al., published in the Journal of Anatomy, has prompted us to take a much different look at the anatomy of the iliotibial band and what happens during ITB friction syndrome.4 This new perspective has significant ramifications for soft-tissue treatment approaches. In addition to highlighting that the ITB is an integral part of the fasciae latae, Fairclough and colleagues also found that the ITB is fibrously anchored to the femur. With the ITB fibrously anchored to the femur, significant movement back and forth across the femoral condyles is unlikely.
A Closer Look
So if the ITB is fibrously anchored to the femur and does not move back and forth across the lateral edpicondyle of the femur, what is causing the pain in this "friction syndrome"? A closer look at knee mechanics reveals what may be occurring. When the knee is flexed, there is a simultaneous internal rotation of the tibia. Conversely, as the knee is extended there is an external rotation of the tibia. The iliotibial band is attached to the proximal tibia at a location called the Gerdy's tubercle. The internal rotation of the tibia during knee flexion pulls the iliotibial band taut. As the tibial rotation pulls the ITB taut, the band presses harder against the lateral epicondyle of the femur. During portions of the flexion and extension of the knee there are different levels of tension on the anterior and posterior fibers of the band. The authors suggest these differences in the tension of the anterior to posterior fibers throughout the flexion/extension cycle are what give the illusion of the band moving over the epicondyle.
There is a layer of fatty tissue just underneath the iliotibial band where it courses over the lateral epicondyle of the femur. When the ITB is under greater stretch and tension as the knee flexes, it is pressing against this richly innervated fatty tissue. According to Fairclough, et al., it is pressure against this fatty tissue, instead of friction against the epicondyle, that causes the pain of ITB friction syndrome.
This new understanding of anatomical and biomechanical factors with the ITB has important ramifications for how we use massage to address this disorder. Previously, friction treatment was recommended directly to the distal ITB to treat this condition. The assumption was that deep transverse friction was one of the best ways to work with fibrous adhesions and tearing of ITB fibers that resulted from rubbing on the epicondyle. With this new understanding of anatomical relationships in the area, our treatment approach will be modified.
According to this new theory, the primary cause of pain in the ITB friction syndrome is the ITB being pulled taut (but not rubbing back and forth) against the lateral epicondyle of the femur and the underlying fatty tissue. Putting additional pressure on this region as we might during friction treatments is therefore not the best strategy. Our approach to treatment should emphasize techniques that help decrease overall tension on the ITB. Tension on the ITB is generated primarily from the tensor fasciae latae and gluteus maximus muscles, which insert into the band. Therefore when we are treating this condition, reducing tension in these muscles and addressing other lower extremity biomechanical compensations are the primary goals for effective resolution.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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