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Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
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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