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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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
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.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 11
Gastrocnemius: A Cramp in the Calf
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
At some point, patients with posterior leg cramping and pain will seek your services. A multitude of factors produce these symptoms, from dehydration, overuse, poor conditioning, muscle fatique, to low levels of potassium, sodium and or carbohydrates.Let's focus on the gastrocnemius muscle, reviewing key points, showing its four myofascial trigger point locations, pain referral patterns and treatment techniques. If the gastrocnemius muscle is the cause of the pain and not properly treated, the pain will become more persistent and intense.
Gastrocnemius is a two-headed muscle that crosses two joints, the knee and ankle. The medial head is slightly larger and longer than the lateral head. The two heads of the gastrocnemius merge to form the inferolateral and inferomedial boundaries of the popliteal fossa. The gastrocnemius, along with soleus, and plantaris comprise the superficial group of muscles in the posterior compartment of the leg. (Image 1) A three headed calf muscle formed by the two-headed gastrocnemius and soleus. This large muscle merges into the calcaneal tendon or achilles tendon. It plantar flexes the ankle joint, raising the heel off the ground against body weight, as when a person is walking or balancing on their toes.
Complaints from myofascial trigger points in the gastrocnemius muscle include: night cramps and might be activated by climbing up steps, steep slopes, running uphill or riding a bicycle with the seat is adjusted too low. Patients with active trigger points may complain of pain while walking in the soft sand of a beach or on a slanted surface. Any of these activities coupled with cold air temperature, might contribute to the development of trigger points in the gastrocnemius. Other factors that might promote the development of trigger points include having the ankle in a cast, wearing clothing that restricts circulation or reclining chairs that reduce blood flow.
While you may know the location of trigger points and their specific pain referral patterns, your patients do not and they will respect the professional level of patient education you are providing. For example, in photo 2, "X" indicates the common location of trigger points within a muscle. When a trigger point is activated during treatment, it will produce referred phenomena (pain, tingling, pressure, etc) which is shown in red. (Image 2) Solid red areas indicate an essential pain zone or area of pain experienced by nearly every patient that had that trigger point activated. The red dots indicate spillover pain zones. These are areas of pain experienced by some, but not all, patients outside of the essential pain zones.
Locations and Patterns
The most common trigger point (TrP ) in the gastrocnemius is TrP 1. It is located just distal to the posterior knee, near the medial border of the medial head. It has a strong referral pattern to the ipsilateral instep with a spillover pattern that extends from the distal posterior thigh, along the medial aspect of the calf to the medial maleolus. The next most common trigger point is TrP 2, which is located slightly more distally then TrP1, in the lateral head and refers mostly in a regional pattern near the trigger point. (Image 3) TrPs 3 and 4 are located just distal to the knee and also refer very regional patterns near the location of the trigger point.
There are numerous techniques for releasing myofascial trigger points. The patient must always be comfortable with your treatment pressure, so communicate before, during and after the session. If during a treatment session, your patient is reflexively contracting muscles, pulling away, holding their breath or cinching their teeth because the therapy hurts, then your pressure should be released immediately. Assume the treatment pressure was too much, discontinue treating the sensitive area and return a few minutes later with less pressure.
Muscle Belly: Patient's knee is flexed. Glide distal to proximal, starting at the calcaneus treating the muscles of solues and gastrocnemius. (Image 4)
Lateral Head: Patient's knee is flexed. Using pincher compression, treat the lateral head. (Image 5)
Medial Head: Patient's knee is flexed. Using pincher compression, treat the lateral head. (Image 6)
Tendon: Shorten the calcaneal tendon. Useing pincher compression, treat the lateral, medial, anterior and posterior aspects of the tendon. (Images 7) Next, flex the knee and ankle slightly to lengthen the achilles tendon. Glide distal to proximal, starting at the calcaneus treating the posterior, lateral and medial aspects of the calcaneal tendon. (Image 8)
Calcaneus: Treat the tendon attachment on the calcaneous. Check for sensitivity first by treating with your fingers. If necessary a pressure bar can be used to assist the treatment of this attachment. (Image 9)
The gastrocnemius can be a "real" cramp in the calf. It can produce a great deal of pain and dysfunction for your patients. Educate your patients of the contributing causes and symptoms of gastrocnemius trigger points.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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