resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
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.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
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.
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.
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
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!
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.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
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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