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A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
May, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 05
Flexor Pulleys of the Fingers
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
The human hand is critical to our daily activities, especially as massage practitioners. Yet, rarely do we stop and consider what an engineering marvel the hand actually is. The human hand is capable of fine precision movements, as well as generating large forces during grasping activities.The skeletal structure of the hand and fingers is a set of rigid bones. Consequently, it takes great muscular control to perform the fine movements of the hand. Without this highly specialized level of control, we would have serious challenges performing all kinds of activities from simply grasping an object to the detailed motor control required to play a musical instrument or perform surgery.
A unique biomechanical pulley system provides the high level of control necessary to move the rigid finger bones with precision. The flexor tendons of the fingers run along the anterior surface of the fingers, and these tendons are tethered close to the bones by connective tissue "pulleys" at eight different locations from the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint to the distal phalanx. Because the tendons are closely tethered to the bones, their pulling force is more efficient. Let's take a look at these pulleys, how they work and what happens when they don't.
There are five pulleys in the fingers, called annular pulleys, and they are named A1 through A5 (Figure 1). The A1, A3, and A5 pulleys are smaller and considered minor pulleys (mostly due to size and lack of importance). The A2 and A4 pulleys are larger and are sometimes called the major pulleys.1 The A1, A3, and A5 pulleys are located at the MCP, PIP and DIP joints respectively. The A2 and A4 pulleys are located in the middle of the proximal and middle phalanx respectively (Figure 2).
A second set of connective-tissue pulleys, called cruciate pulleys, gives additional support and stability to the tendon sheaths. The term cruciate means cross, and you can see by their structure where they get their name (Figure 1). The cruciate pulleys are much smaller than the annular pulleys. There are three cruciate pulleys, designated as C1, C2, and C3. Their role for improving the flexor tendon's angle of pull is not as great, so if they are damaged, finger movement is not impaired as much as with the annular pulleys.
The annular pulleys may be damaged from an acute injury or from various degenerative conditions in the fingers. An example of the detrimental effect of rupture of the annular pulleys is shown in Figure 3. In this image, the A3 pulley has been completely ruptured and there is a partial rupture to the A2 pulley. As a result, the tendon is pulled away from the PIP joint, in what is referred to as a bowstringing effect. With the tendon pulled away from the PIP joint, its power is reduced and it is no longer able to produce normal range of motion. As a result, the hand is significantly weaker in gripping activities.
Stenosing tenosynovitis, also called trigger finger, is another disorder involving the flexor pulleys. In this condition, a fibrous nodule develops on the tendon near the edge of the tendon sheath. The nodule prevents the tendon from freely gliding in and out of the surrounding synovial sheath. Stenosing tenosynovitis is usually a problem with the tendon sheath, but in some cases, the nodule on the tendon catches on the edge of the flexor pulleys. If this is the case, the offending flexor pulley can be surgically cut to allow the tendon greater freedom of movement. However, if the pulley has been cut, that flexor tendon is less efficient, so the benefits of this procedure need to be weighed against the potential drawbacks.
While massage practitioners may not see a large number of clients with flexor pulley dysfunctions, there is still great value in understanding these details of hand mechanics. After all, the hand is our primary tool that we use in our work as soft-tissue therapists, and we need to keep it in good condition. Overuse problems may affect our ability to keep working, and physical injury is one of the primary reasons people leave this profession. Understanding more about proper mechanics helps keep you in better condition.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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