Muscle Activity during Walking

For obvious reasons, we cannot describe muscle activity in detail here. First, statements in the literature regarding the activity of individual muscles vary widely. Second, muscle chains are, in our opinion, more important than isolated muscles. Furthermore, analysis is difficult because some joints have to be stabilized

Muscles Chains

in several planes and movements take place three-dimensionally. Nevertheless, we describe the functions of individual muscles in the second half of this book on trigger points.

A classic example for muscle activity is the knee joint at the beginning of the stance stage. The ischii muscles and the quadriceps muscle stabilize the knee in the sagittal plane. The muscles of the pes anserinus prevent valgus of the knee. The iliotibial tract is tensed because the tensor fasciae latae (TFL) assists in preventing adduction of the hip.

Swing Stage

At the onset of the swing stage, when the large toe leaves the ground, the iliopsoas and rectus femoris muscles bend the hip, while the ischiocrural muscle group bends the knee. The tibialis anterior lifts the foot together with the toe extensors. At the conclusion of the swing stage, the quadriceps extends the knee. Shortly before and during the moment when the heel touches the ground, the knee stabilizers are activated (see above). The swing leg stage therefore consists of an activation of the leg flexors.

Stance Stage

This stage begins when the heel touches the ground. The hip is flexed, the knee is stretched, and the foot and toes are extended dorsally. The stance leg has two functions to fulfill:

• Maintaining the stability of leg and pelvis (abductors)

• Propelling the upper body forward (extensors)


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Fig. 3.5g-i Weight shifts during the stages of the gait cycle.

Fig. 3.5g-i Weight shifts during the stages of the gait cycle.

The stability of the pelvis is guaranteed by the gluteal muscles, the TFL, and the iliotibial tract. The valgus of the knee is guaranteed by the pes anserine muscles and by the chain of the muscles gluteus maximus-vas-tus lateralis-patellar retinaculum. The varus of the foot is limited by the peroneal muscles. This chain is continued towards the head via the gluteal muscles to the latissimus dorsi of the opposite side.

The upper body is propelled forward by a stretch in the hip, knee, and foot. The main muscles responsible for this action are the gluteus maximus quadriceps, triceps surae, and tibialis posterior, the peronei muscles. and the toe flexors.

An interesting insight is the fact that the muscles that are activated in one movement stage are positioned optimally by the preceding stage, that is, they are brought into a stretched position. The opposite rotation of pelvis and shoulder girdles as well as the opposite movement of the arms and legs illustrate this clearly.

When the right iliopsoas is supposed to pull the right hip forward, the left latissimus dorsi pulls the left arm backward and thereby stabilizes the spinal column, which gives the psoas a stable basis.

Ceccaldi and Favre36 present the gait as a harmonious interplay of muscle chains in their book Les Pivots Osteopathiques. The entire locomotor system behaves according to the same pattern that repeats itself with every pace. The pelvis and spinal column make certain movements around the pivots that had been described by J.M. Littlejohn. These two authors extend Littlejohn's model to the extremities and describe additional pivot points in the sternocostoclavi-cular joint, in the knee joint, and in the lower ankle joint.

As already mentioned above, the spinal column makes a scoliotic movement when the pelvis bends sideways during the swing stage. In this process, the lumbar vertebrae rotate to the side of the swing leg and the thoracic vertebrae to the side of the stance leg. with L3 and T6 being the respective apex of the turns. The CSC makes a translation to the swing leg side while rotating to the other side (Fryette II; see Fryette's Laws, p. 38 |in'07]). This behavior can be illustrated with the hip drop test. This test imitates the gait cycle. We describe the behavior of the extremities in the section on muscle chains (see pp. 78ff)

By recalling W.G. Sutherland's craniosacral model, we can deduce the movements that the sphenobasilar synchondrosis (SBS) and the entire head make during every stride.

Midsection Meltdown

Midsection Meltdown

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