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Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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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