of the problems that you can experience in your lower legs are likely
to originate from posterior compartment muscles, the two main ones
being your gastrocnemius and soleus. Together, these calf muscles
allow you to push off the ground with every step you take.
common but with equal potential to cause discomfort is inflammation
or dysfunction of the muscles that line the front of your lower legs,
the main one being your tibialis anterior. This is the main shin muscle
that you can palpate along the front and outer portion of your lower
leg - if you aren't sure of its location, look for the muscle belly
that pops up when you point your toes up toward your head.
tibialis anterior muscle runs from your knee all the way down to your
foot. Here is a look at the path of your tibialis anterior:
tibialis anterior serves to lift your toes off the ground with every
step that you take. It also stabilizes your ankle joint whenever your
foot is flat on the ground.
overuse your tibialis anteior - a common scenario with avid runners,
hikers, bicyclists, and high level athletes - you might experience
inflammation along its line of attachment with your tibia, the main
weight-bearing bone of your lower leg. If left untreated, this can
lead to chronic leg pain, sometimes called shin splints.
your tibialis anterior healthy and functioning optimally, I recommend
applying firm pressure to the length of this muscle a few times a
week. You can do this by applying downward pressure with the heel
of your opposite leg. Or you can roll the length of your tibialis
anterior along a foam roller, a rolling pin, or even a firm ball like
a basketball or medicine ball.
your tibialis anterior in this fashion can promote healthy blood flow
and nerve tone throughout the anterior compartment of your lower leg
and foot. With a major artery, vein, and nerve running through the
area just beneath your tibialis anterior, it makes sense that two
of the most powerful acupuncture points in your body - Gall Bladder
34 and Stomach
36 are in this region.
a potential origin site of leg pain is the lower, outside portion
of your leg, from your outer ankle region to the outer portion of
your knee. This is the path of your peroneal muscles, which are comprised
of three main portions; your peroneus longus, brevis, and tertius.
are a few photos that show the path of your peroneal muscles:
peroneal muscles aren't very powerful; they help stabilize your ankle
and flex your ankle back and forth as you walk or run (peroneus longus
and brevis support your calf muscles, while peroneus tertius supports
your tibialis anterior).
ankle sprains, including mild twists and turns, your peroneal muscles
and their tendons can suffer enough damage to cause your body to lay
down scar tissue in this area. If this happens, your peroneal muscles
can become dysfunctional to a point where they get in the way of proper
range of motion of your ankle joints.
as stripping your tibialis anterior can help keep the anterior portion
of your lower leg healthy and functional, applying massage-like pressure
along the length of your peroneal muscles (the lateral aspect of your
lower leg) can help keep your legs and ankle joints working properly.
a brief video clip that shows how you can use a foam roller to strip
your tibialis anterior and your peroneal muscles:
a good idea to work on these muscles alongside your posterior compartment
muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus), as all of these compartments work
together with every step you take, and to stabilize your ankles when
you're standing. To work on just one compartment may create or fortify
imbalances in muscle tone and function that can increase risk of injury.
a look at how to stretch and foam roll your posterior compartment
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