resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
March, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 03
Learning How to Track Anterior Knee Pain
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
How many times have you heard someone say "Oh my aching knees?" It happens with frequency among athletic populations, but just as frequently plagues individuals who are not highly active. Unfortunately, people may have their condition dismissed and told it is just arthritis and they can live with it or perhaps take anti-inflammatory medications.Yet, in many cases, anterior knee pain is a soft-tissue problem that involves complex biomechanics of the knee that are not thoroughly evaluated and could be effectively treated with soft-tissue approaches like massage. A deeper look at these structural and mechanical issues helps in developing a better plan for using massage in addressing anterior knee pain.
There are several key anatomical structures that play a role in anterior knee pain. The quadriceps muscle group has the primary role of producing the power of knee extension for locomotion. Knee pain doesn't usually derive directly from the quadriceps muscle. More often, dysfunction lies in the distal tendon of the quadriceps muscles or the other connective tissues that connect the muscle group to the tibia.
The majority of quadriceps fibers attach to the tibia by way of the patellar tendon. However, the connection of the quadriceps with the tibia is not limited to the patellar tendon alone. The quadriceps retinaculum, also called the extensor retinaculum, has a key role in helping transmit the contraction force of the muscles to the distal tibia (Figure 1). The retinaculum is often overlooked as a pain producing tissue, but it is frequently the cause of anterior knee pain when patellar tracking disorders are present, which are discussed below.
The patella is another structure that is crucial to knee function, but often misunderstood. It is commonly thought that the primary function of the patella is to protect the knee. But that's not really its role. Its primary function is to improve the power of the quadriceps. Because the patella is embedded within the patellar tendon, it acts like a fulcrum to pull the tendon farther away from the joint's axis of rotation making the quadriceps group more powerful (Figure 2).
Biomechanics and Tracking Disorders
The patella has a ridge on the underside of it and this ridge fits in the groove between the two femoral condyles (Figure 3). As the knee moves in flexion and extension the patella tracks in a superior and inferior direction. The ridge of the patella must stay centered between the femoral condyles for proper knee mechanics.
Unfortunately, in many cases the patella does not track straight up and down in the groove. Muscle imbalance and other alignment factors such as a large Q angle can lead to problems in correct patellar tracking. When the patella is tracking incorrectly it is most commonly pulled in a lateral direction. This is called a lateral tracking disorder.
If not corrected, tracking disorders in the patella can cause long-term degeneration of the knee. If the patella is being pulled to one side it causes excess friction between the underside of the patella and the femoral condyles. The excess friction produces a softening and degeneration of the articular cartilage on the underside of the patella, which is a condition called chondromalacia patellae.
Tracking disorders of the patella cause anterior knee pain, but there is still some controversy as to which tissues are the source of the primary pain. For example, it was once thought that tracking disorder pain was caused by the cartilage degeneration of chondromalacia. However, the articular cartilage has very little innervation, so it is unlikely that cartilage degeneration is a primary source of knee pain. The layer of bone just underneath the articular cartilage is called subchondral bone. It is richly innervated and it is likely that tracking disorder pain may result from damage that has extended all the way to the subchondral bone.
There is another likely explanation for anterior knee pain resulting from tracking disorders that does not appear as frequently in much of the orthopedic literature. The patellar retinaculum and other connective tissues that help attach the quadriceps to the tibia are also richly innervated. An imbalance of tensile forces on these retinacular tissues can cause anterior knee pain in the soft tissues.
An effective way to identify if the retinaculum and other extensor mechanism connective tissues are a key factor in the anterior knee pain is to stress these tissues while palpating them. The most effective way to do this is to perform a resisted knee extension and palpate with moderate to deep pressure all of the connective tissue structures around the knee while the contraction is held. This same procedure could be done by engaging an eccentric contraction of the quadriceps muscles while these structures are being palpated. The eccentric contraction has the tissue being lengthened at the same time it is being deeply palpated, which exaggerates the stress on the tissue and makes it easier to identify problem areas.
Many tracking disorders originate from imbalance in the pulling forces between the different quadriceps muscles. Massage can be a highly effective means of helping to restore normal biomechanical balance in the knee. Unfortunately, it is greatly underutilized in the traditional rehabilitation community for addressing this problem. Invasive techniques such as cutting the lateral retinaculum surgically so it doesn't pull the patella so far laterally are often used before all conservative measures been attempted.
Massage treatment can be very helpful in balancing the excess pull from the lateral side of the patella. Once the key areas of tightness and sensitivity have been identified they can be addressed with very specific stripping techniques and those involving active engagement as well. By applying deep specific elongation techniques with a small contact surface like a thumb, fingertip, or pressure tool, the practitioner is able to provide a highly specific treatment strategy that is more focused than many of the other general approaches such as relying only on strengthening techniques to restore balance in the region.
Many practitioners have shown and demonstrated excellent clinical results with soft-tissue treatments for tracking disorders. Now we need to compare those treatments with more traditional methods and see if they are clinically effective across the board. If they are found to be more successful, and it is likely that they would be, there would be a greater body of supporting evidence to encourage a different treatment approach that includes massage.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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