resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11
Treatment of Flexor Hallucis Longus Dysfunction
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
In a previous installment of this column, we discussed dysfunction of the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) muscle. Our discussion covered the basics of the condition and some primary assessment principles.However, it's also important to have appropriate strategies for treating the problem. This article covers specific technique suggestions that are valuable in addressing this challenging lower extremity problem.
Traditional medical approaches for addressing FHL dysfunction may advocate treatments such as corticosteroid injections. Keep in mind that one component of the FHL dysfunction may involve stenosing tenosynovitis, a narrowing of the synovial sheaths around the affected tendon. Some medical practitioners advocate the use of anti-inflammatory medications because there can be inflammatory activity with the tenosynovitis.
Despite the fact that there is often an inflammatory component with this problem, as in the case of stenosing tenosynovitis, corticosteroid injection is usually contraindicated due to the very close proximity of the neurovascular bundle. There is a risk of potential nerve or vascular tissue damage by using injections so close to neurovascular structures. Avoidance of corticosteroid injections is also a good idea because they can lead to long-term collagen degeneration in the tendon, which is detrimental for optimum tendon function.1
FHL dysfunction can usually be treated with conservative measures, and soft-tissue treatment is a mainstay of the conservative approach. Massage is helpful as a non-invasive way to address the biomechanical dysfunction as well as the primary tissue pathology. One of the most helpful methods for addressing this problem is deep longitudinal stripping techniques applied to the FHL and deep posterior compartment muscles. (Fig. 1) This technique can be performed in several positions. A side-lying position is particularly effective and is shown here. Use the thumb, fingertip or other small contact surface to apply a slow but deep stripping technique along the medial tibial border directly on the deep posterior compartment muscles such as the FHL. This can be quite tender so make sure you go slowly and stay in close communication with your client about appropriate pressure levels.
Friction techniques applied to the medial side of the ankle may be helpful to mobilize the tendon against adjacent tissues in the region. However, be cautious about the amount of pressure used in this area as there may be corresponding compression of the tibial nerve on the medial side of the ankle and you don't want to aggravate that problem.
Deep stripping with a small contact surface such as the thumb, knuckle, fingertip, or pressure tool should also be performed to the tendons and muscles on the bottom surface of the foot. As mentioned earlier, sometimes there may be adhesions developing between the tendons of the FHL and flexor digitorum longus (FDL) on the bottom of the foot. These adhesions can be broken up by good friction and stripping techniques. The client should also be encouraged to stretch the FHL frequently in order to encourage better mobility. Stretching is best performed in the same position that is used to stretch the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles (Fig. 2). This stretch can also emphasize the FHL a little more and discount any tightness in the gastrocnemius by flexing the knee and hyperextending the hallux during the stretch.
Another technique that is highly effective for FHL dysfunction is an active engagement stripping technique to the deep posterior compartment muscles. You will use a similar stripping technique to the one mentioned earlier. However, active movement is used in conjunction with the stripping technique.
Begin with the client's muscle in a shortened position. That means the foot is in a plantar flexed position. Use the side-lying position shown in Figure 1 because it allows for full movement of the foot. Have the client perform an active plantar flexion and dorsiflexion movement that is slowly repeated. Each time the client dorsiflexes, the foot performs a short stripping method on the FHL muscle. The stripping technique is applied each time the muscle is elongating. Release pressure as the client moves the foot back into plantar flexion. Repeat that sequence of movements until you have covered the entire muscle group thoroughly. If there are areas that are particularly tender, repeat the technique several times in those areas until muscle tightness or fibrosity has been adequately reduced. This active engagement technique is highly valuable for any overuse disorders of the lower extremities that affect the deep posterior compartment muscles.
If conservative treatment is not effective for this problem, surgery may be performed in some cases. Surgical procedures usually consist of tenolysis, a procedure where the tendon is freed from scar tissue or entrapment by adjacent structures. Following the surgical procedure, adequate mobilization of the FHL will be important and massage can play a significant role in the post-surgical management of this condition as well.
This problem or group of problems, known as FHL dysfunction may occur more often than realized because the symptoms are so similar to other pathologies. The massage practitioner is encouraged to thoroughly evaluate this condition, including detailed information from the client history, in order to determine if the problem will respond well to soft-tissue treatment. Because this is such a specific muscle/tendon pathology, massage may offer great results for successful resolution and a return to pain-free movement.
To see a demonstration of the active engagement technique for deep posterior compartment muscles described in this article, go to this YouTube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qVge1TGIo
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.