Trigger Points – Part 3
…An example of complex patterns
You were out walking one day, mis-stepped, and twisted your ankle by accident. You limped along until you got back home and put some ice on it and took an aspirin or two. The ankle hurt for a few days but you had work to do, so you did it.
LEFT: Trigger point in the gluteus minimus muscle (yellow X) refers into the hamstring area (yellow area) causing blood flow restriction. As a result, biceps femoris (hamstring) muscle develops a satellite trigger point (blue X) which refers into the back of the knee causing knee pain.
The ankle pain changed the way you walked and as a result you overused some of the hip muscles. The hip muscles developed trigger points due to the overload. The hip muscles referral zone was into the hamstring muscles, and as a result of the decreased circulation from the trigger point in the hip, they became tight. The tight hamstrings caused the opposite muscles (the quadriceps in the front of the thigh) to work harder and they developed trigger points that refer into the knee joint. This took a week or so to develop, but you were busy with work and the ankle was feeling better so you ignored it.
You massage the knee because it hurts and the pain doesn’t seem to go away. You massage the quadriceps (and work out the trigger points you find) which provides relief in the knee, but the pain returns whenever you are on you feet for long periods of time. You may never figure out that the root cause of the problem is in the hip – it has a latent trigger point deep in the muscle which only becomes active when you overdo walking, etc.
Some of the trigger points were “primary” some were “secondary” and others are “satellite”. You have to address the ankle to restore full mobility; the hip to release trigger points; the hamstrings; and the quadriceps to get all trigger points leading to the knee pain. And remember to address the other leg, too.
Right: Trigger point (green X) in rectus femoris (quadricep) muscle develops due to the tight hamstring muscle. Referral zone (green area) is in the front of the knee.
This kind of stuff happens to people all the time and every area of the body can be affected. If you have school age kids, know that these same things happen in their bodies. You can help them by giving them massage when they hurt.
How do you get rid of trigger points? Trigger Points – Part 4