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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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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