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Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
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.
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