Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2013

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technique @work | the science of movement | Energy work | Myofascial techniques Visualizing Joint Surfaces During Passive Motion By Mary Ann Foster Many of the pain-causing muscular problems for which people receive bodywork affect joint position and motion. The joints of the limbs and spine need to be optimally aligned to minimize muscular holding around bent and/or unstable joints. There are two categories of joint motion: • Osteokinematics encompasses the observable movements of the joints through space. Massage therapists are usually well versed in osteokinematics, and can determine whether a joint is flexing, extending, abducting, adducting, or rotating. • rthrokinematics covers the unseen movements between A the articulating surfaces of the bones inside the joints. The articulating surfaces within joints move against each other in three primary ways: gliding, rolling, and spinning (Image 1). The type of movement in each joint depends on the shape of its articulating surfaces. Curved joint surfaces fit together in convex-concave pairs that come in ovoid (egg) or sellar (saddle) shapes (Image 2). • In an ovoid joint, such as the ankle or shoulder, an egg-shaped mound fits into a hollow depression. • In a sellar joint, such as the elbow or knee, each joint surface has both convex and concave contours that form a saddle-shaped, double-condylar structure. Moving the Joint Techniques for joint motion are used to mobilize a joint, treat dysfunctional muscles acting on a joint, and improve overall neuromuscular patterning and client proprioception. When moving a joint, it helps to visualize movement between the articulating surfaces. The concave-convex joint surfaces of ovoid joints fit together in male-female pairs that allow for rolling and gliding; the many ovoid joints with shallow articular surfaces move in this range. Ovoid joints with deeper articular sockets, such as the ball-and-socket joints of the shoulders and hips, can spin in rotational movements. 108 massage & bodywork september/october 2013 1 Rolling Rolling Gliding Gliding Spinning Spinning 2 Ovoid Sellar The size and shape of the articulating surfaces determine the pathway of motion. For example, the medial condyles of the knees are twice as large and considerably longer than the lateral condyles, so as the knees bend and straighten, they move like asymmetrical runners on a rocking chair, tipping most of the weight to the inside of the joint.

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