Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2022

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 19 TECHNIQUE By Allison Denney KEY POINTS • The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles have a tendency to overfi re. • Gaining access to the deeper muscles can create balance to any dysfunctions that might be present. • Engaging the toes with resistance techniques offers a lot of information about the ability of the fl exor digitorum longus and the fl exor hallucis longus to activate. We live in a competitive world. Being competitive comes with the territory of being human. It is, and has been throughout time, a necessity of survival. If there is a scarce amount of food and you get to it fi rst, you survive. It is that simple. The need for us to be the fi rst, and then as it would follow, to refl ect our win in our appearance (healthy skin, strong muscles, etc.), is built into our DNA—the very makeup of our physiology. And we can see this play out not just extrinsically, but intrinsically as well. The muscles that lie under our skin often fi nd themselves in competition with each other. Sure, humans can want huge pecs and focus on too many bench presses at the gym. But I am talking about a more deep-seated root than that. There are, without question, muscles that will want to take over and steal the show. These muscles tend to fi re way more than we are asking them to. And getting those spotlight hogs to step aside is a good chunk of what we do as bodyworkers. LESSER-KNOWN LEG MUSCLES Let's dissect the calf and explore how this can play out. Some of the fi rst muscles we learn in anatomy are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. They do most of the work When Muscles Hog the Spotlight A Closer Look at the Posterior Leg THE REBEL MT when it comes to the lower leg. And in a well-trained cyclist, they pop out like a Katy Perry song. But, as you can probably guess, when it comes to the more nuanced movements of the ankles and the feet, they can take over. This equals muscle fi ring dysfunction. In other words, there are a lot of other muscles in the posterior lower leg that deserve a little attention. Looking at the posterior lower leg anatomy from superfi cial to deep, we have the gastrocnemius, then the soleus, and then a noble group of muscles that lurk in the shadows: the popliteus, the tibialis posterior, the plantaris, the fi bularis longus, the fl exor digitorum longus, and the fl exor hallucis muscles. That's a lot of muscles that a lot of clients have no idea even exist. Just because they're not associated with the Achilles tendon does not mean they don't play a role in plantar fasciitis.

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