Can decreased mobility in the hip effect the calf?

We all know that the human body is interconnected and linked. Different joints and regions of the body are interconnected in three-dimensional movement patterns.

To figure out how different parts of the body work together and how they compensate for each other we need tools.

The test system 1080 Movement Assessment Profile (1080MAP™) is a three-dimensional validated testing system of functional movement that provides powerful insights about performance and asymmetries. The measured value of an individual is normalized and entered into a common database. The database can then be used to easily compare an individual’s results with groups from the same sport, age, gender or time periods.

As a physical therapist, I have started to create groups with different diagnosis. I want to find out if people with a certain diagnosis have a limited movement pattern in common. That will help me find the real cause of pain instead of treating the symptom.

I created a group of patients with achilles tendonosis.

The limiting movement pattern that many of these patients have in common is when they stand on one leg, for example the left, and toe touch with the right foot. They reach with the left arm posterior lateral overhead, along the R 135 vector (the vector 135 degrees to the right).

In this movement pattern I found that most of the time the weak link is the hip. The coupled motion in the hip is extension, adduction and internal rotation. The interesting thing is that this is exactly the same coupled motion that the hip is in just before the calf has to go through the push-off phase in gait.

So the question is – can limited hip motion effect the calf?
I decided to find out.

When I have a patient with achilles tendonosis I always palpate the achilles tendon to get a value of how much pain they have on a scale from 0 -10. Most of them report as high as 7- 8. I also want to find out if the pain is on the sides of the tendon or on the posterior part of the tendon. The reason why I do this is to find out in what plane of motion the achilles tendon has to compensate. I then do soft tissue treatment to the anterior and lateral part of the same side hip and thigh. I do not treat the calf nor the lower leg and foot.

Directly after the treatment I palpated the tendon again and in most cases the pain level is down to level 1-2, sometimes even to 0.

How do we explain that?

From a gait biomechanical point of view I can see the connection between the hip and achilles tendon, but how could it disappear so quickly? Can soft tissue work to the muscles and fascia around the hip and thigh affect the calf? I guess it can.

I want to point out that this is not scientifically proven. I am just a therapist with a passion for trying to find out more about the integrated and linked human body with the help of our system 1080MAP™, and I’m having great success and a lot of fun along the way. Join us at our next 1080MAP™ Analysis and Treatment course and we will show you more what we do to treat the cause instead of the symptom.

/ Jessica Parnevik – Muth