resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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