The human body is made up of approximately 206 bones, 340 joints, 640 muscle and 900 ligaments. These are rather big numbers when you add them together, and this doesn’t include the dense and complex neurological system that coordinates all these processes.
None of these 2086 structural components work individually; they work together to prevent motion, produce strength, stability and allow locomotion.
So if we don’t move as individual components why should we look at injury management and prevention in such a single component?
The human body works in a similar way to the cogs of a wheel in a watch, in that the rotation of one component creates movement and action at another. For this reason, the location of an injury may not be the cause behind it.
If we look at the body as a series of moving cogs, chains or slings, the interconnection from top to bottom, left to right (from and back) becomes apparent. There are a few physical therapy protocols that use this concept – anatomy train being one of them.
Without getting into the details of the individual slings or trains, by looking at these slings we can identify that hamstring tension that may be a contributing factor in a lower back injury. Or, the tension in the Achilles could be linked to plantar fasciitis. As a practitioner, I look at the body with these slings in mind, as the location of pain or injury may be the result of tension along the kinetic chain.
For many athletes, recovery protocols are often limited to the areas that are tight or the parts that they use the most. As much as this is important, incorporating other areas into your routine could provide great benefit and take the load off the lower limb components.
From the diagram (on the left) you can easily see the importance of the latissmus dorsi to the lower limb. The latissimus dorsi comes from the shoulder, and attaches on to the thoracolumbar fascia. Tension on the fascia can pull through the quadratus lumborum to impact glute and lower limb mechanics and range of motion.
Three areas to consider are thoracic spine, latissimus dorsi and pectorals that are commonly restricted, whether you are a runner, gym goer or average Joe. The reason behind this is most likely what you are doing now:
As a society, we are sitting and flexing our spine more and more. Whether it be behind a computer desk, texting or travelling. These all create increased tension on the areas above which connect via anatomical slings, to the lower limb. Whether you are stretching, rolling or working with a therapist (i.e. massage therapist, physiotherapist or chiropractor) ensure these areas are being addressed as it can a great impact on the function of your entire body.
— Brett Robbo (@BrettRobboCobar) April 18, 2015