anatomy

Ankle Sprains!

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The ATFL or anterior talofibular ligament is the most common ligament in the ankle that people tear/sprain/injure. 

It attaches the talus and the distal head of the fibula. 

The ATFL is typically torn or sprained when the ankle moves into inversion and plantar flexion (toes pointing in and down) at an extremely high velocity. 

Unfortunately, ligaments don't return back to their original shape.  Once they are sprained, or stretched, your ankle remains less stable and you are more likely to re-injure yourself. A physical therapist can give you targeted exercises to rebuild the muscles around your ankle and help improve your motor control and balance to decrease your risk of re-injury. 

Leg Day - If Your House Has Stairs, I’m Staying In The Car

 

QUADRICEPS FEMORIS

Rectus Femoris

Origin: Anterior inferior iliac spine and the acetabular roof of the hip joint

Insertion:  Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Hip - flexion
            Knee - extionsion

Vastus Medialis

Origin: Linea aspera (medial lip), and the distal intertrochanteric line

Insertion: Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Knee extension

Vastus Lateralis

Origin: Linea aspera (lateral lip) and the lateral surface of the greater trochanter

Insertion: Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Knee extension

Vastus Intermedius

Origin: Anterior side of femoral shaft

Insertion: Tibial tuberosity via the patellar ligament

Innervation: Femoral nerve (L2 - L4)

Action: Knee extension

So?  These four muscles make up the quadriceps femoris.  They all attach to your patella (knee cap) via your quadriceps tendon, and continue down to your tibia via the patellar ligament (tendon?).  The patella gives the quadriceps muscles a major mechanical advantage by increasing their leverage, which basically allows the quads to do approximately 30% more work with the same effort.  However, all of those forces created when extending (straightening) your knee are directed into the patellofemoral joint surfaces - where the patella and femur (thigh bone) meet.  With overuse, this joint breaks down and/or can cause osteoarthritis.  To help slow the breakdown of cartilage in your knee, don’t forget to use your glutes when doing things like going up/down stairs and anytime you sit down, stand up or squat. The more your glutes help out, the less your quads have to work.  The less your quads work, the happier your knee joint will be.

Leg Day - Calves

 

GASTROCNEMIUS

Origin:  Medial and lateral epicondyles of the femur

Insertion:  Calcaneal tuberosity via the Achilles tendon

Innervation: Tibial nerve (S1, S2)

Action:  Ankle (talocrural joint) - plantar flexion
      Knee - flexion

SOLEUS

Origin:  Posterior surface of the head and neck of the fibula and the soleal line of the tibia via a tendinous arch

Insertion:  Calcaneal tuberosity via the Achilles tendon

Innervation: Tibial nerve (S1, S2)

Action:  Ankle (talocrural joint) - plantar flexion

What does that mean?  The gastrocnemius is the muscle with two heads, and is the one that people like to flex and show off.  It crosses both your knee and ankle joint, and is best strengthened with the knee straight.  When you bend the knee, you put the gastrocs on slack, and at this length/tension relationship, the gastrocs are not very effective at plantar flexing the ankle.  
The soleus is a flat muscle (google sole fish) that lays under the two heads of the gastrocs.  Just because you don’t see this muscle when you’re flexing, doesn’t mean it’s not important.  The soleus helps give your gastrocs some bulk, and helps them pop.  Strengthen your soleus by doing resisted ankle plantar flexion with your knee bent.
Collectively, the gastrocs and soleus are known as the triceps surae.  They both have a distal tendinous junction at the Achilles tendon.  Both muscles are extremely important in gait and dynamic activities, and both become ineffective with an Achilles tear.