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Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
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.
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.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
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.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.
November, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 11
The Peroneals: Anatomy and Function
By Nicole Nelson
The peroneals are a fascinating group of muscles which largely go unnoticed unless you've sprained your ankle. Many of us have two peroneal muscles, some of us have three: Peroneus longus, peroneus brevis, and the occasional individual has peroneus tertius.Peroneus Longus is responsible for everting the foot and helps with plantar flexion of the ankle (think bringing the outside of your foot off the ground while pointing your toes. This muscle attaches proximally on the upper fibula and wraps behind lateral malleolus (aka ankle), continues along the underside of the foot where it attaches distally on the first metatarsal and medial cuneiform. Peroneus brevis also everts the foot and assists in plantar flexion of the ankle. It lies deep to longus and attaches proximally at the lower portion of the fibula. Peroneus brevis wraps behind the lateral malleolus and attaches distally on the fifth metatarsal. Peroneus tertius is an everter of the foot; but unlike the other peroneal muscles, it assists in dorsiflexion of the ankle. Its proximal attachment is on the anterior distal fibula and runs anterior to the ankle, attaching distally to the 5th metatarsal.
Although the peroneals are chiefly regarded as everters of the foot, a lesser known, yet very cool fact about the peroneus longus muscle is that it helps in the stabilization of the big toe. This stabilization plays a large role in the appropriate winding of the plantar fascia during gait, known as the windlass effect. Any individual that is forced to move laterally (i.e. tennis or basketball player) places a high demand on these muscles as they act to stabilize and prevent inversion of the ankle. Running or walking on uneven surfaces such as a trail or soft sand will also challenge these muscles. When life is good, the peroneals, along with tibialis anterior and posterior, control inversion and eversion of the ankle and keep the structures of the foot and ankle out of harms way. As we all know, life isn't always good and injury results. Let's take a look at the peroneals involvement in ankle instability and go over some massage strategies that will help our clients reduce their pain possibly prevent future injury.
Ankle sprains are the most common athletic injury, with approximately 30,000 sprains per day in the U.S. (DiGiovanni et. al. 2004). Approximately 90% of these ankle injuries are inversion sprains. To make matters worse, 70% to 80% will suffer a subsequent ankle sprain (Yeung 1994). The potential for recurrent sprains is a likely consequence of structural trauma of the ligaments of the ankle, as well as decreased proprioceptive feedback and peroneal weakness (Lofvenberg et al 1995). This scenario creates the potential for chronic ankle instability and further weakening of the peroneal muscles. It seems that the feedback loop that communicates the location of the foot to the brain is off. Without this input, the brain is somewhat blinded to the local environment leaving the peroneal firing patterns ill-timed. This is problematic as the peroneals need to fire in an anticipatory manner in order to correct balance and absorb the impact of foot striking.
Now let's discuss some of the causes behind weakness of the peroneals. There are many reasons why peroneals become dysfunctional including structural anomalies of the foot and ankle, tendon subluxation, nerve entrapments and tendon tears. Given the complex nature of the ankle and foot, clients with pain in this area should be encouraged to see a physician before you begin any massage treatment. As soft tissue experts, we are looking at the fascial and muscle structures and possible nerve entrapments that may be causing peroneal issues. Vladamir Janda suggested that certain muscles have the potential to shorten and tighten (tonic muscles), while others tended to lengthen and weaken (phasic muscles). Janda's observations led him to put the peroneals in the phasic camp, suggesting that these muscles are prone to inhibition. This inhibition creates an environment of ankle instability.
On the other hand, Janda characterized the posterior tibialis, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles as tonic in nature. This imbalance of the lower leg not only destabilizes the ankle, but opens the door for other problems including plantar fasciitis, compartement syndromes, calcaneal bone spurs and achilles tendinosis. Additionally, the faulty movement patterns which result from the imbalance will create compensations that will surely travel up the kinetic chain and likely cause hip, lower back and neck issues.
Assessment and Treatment
As we all know, successful therapy begins with assessment and intake. If your client has had a history of ankle sprains and they mention discomfort around the ankle and/or along the lateral lower leg, the peroneals should be suspected as an area of issue. Let's go over a few treatment ideas for a client that has a history of ankle rolling and ankle pain.
Don't chase the pain! Given the peroneals propensity for weakness and the high percentage of inversion type sprains, I would caution against deep stripping and stretching of this group. I certainly do suggest relieving trigger points in these muscles with local compression. I would also recommend cross fiber friction to the areas that feel particularly glued down. For this work, I usually position clients in a sidelying position, with the involved leg up and bolstered. Sherrington's law of reciprocal inhibition states that a hypertonic antagonist muscle may be reflexively inhibiting it's corresponding agonist. If we consider this law in conjunction with Janda's insights, it stands to reason that most of the deep stripping should be performed on the posterior tibialis, gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles. Additionally, contract/relax methods of stretching will be helpful in normalizing these overly tightened tissues. Naturally, not everyone fits into the tonic/phasic mold outlined by Janda; therefore, each client should be assessed and evaluated for their unique set of tightness and restrictions.
Enlist the help of a corrective exercise specialist. According to DiGiovanni, the gold standard for ankle instability issues includes the RICE protocol, early range of motion, progressive weight bearing, peroneal strengthening as well as proprioceptive training (DiGiovanni et al 2006). This is supported by studies done by Holme and others. Their research reports that clients with a history of ankle sprains were twice as likely to suffer recurrent sprains if they did not engage in a balance and strengthening program (Holme et al 1999). This aspect of treatment will require you to pair up with someone with corrective exercise experience. A well directed strength program is an absolute necessity in order to restore balance to the stirrup musculature, improve proprioception and reclaim proper biomechanics.
Check the client's footwear. Unfortunately for clients with peroneal issues, their choice of footwear should come under some scrutiny. It is well known that elevated heels present a challenge to the body's ability to oppose gravity efficiently and places a wrench in optimal alignment and proper biomechanics of the ankle. Now, what about flip-flops? Sorry to put a crimp in casual Friday footwear, but these shoes probably present a greater threat to the foot than any type of high heel. Flip-Flops disrupt the windlass effect of the foot. When the windlass effect is in effect the big toe should dorsiflex; however, when wearing flip flops, the big toe actually plantar flexes in order to grab the flip-flop and prevent it from slipping off the foot. In other words, walking in flip flops encourages poor motor patterning of the muscles of the foot, including one of the big toe stabilizers, peroneus longus.
To sum it up, peroneal weakness and ankle sprains are closely linked and all too common. A little attention to these muscles will hopefully limit the muscle imbalance of the ankle and foot and help prevent future sprains.
Nicole Nelson a licensed massage therapist in Jacksonville, Fla. She has a masters degree in Health Science from the University of North Florida and is a certified Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist through ACE.
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