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Old 07-09-2008, 03:20 PM   #1
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Muscle/tendon knots, tender points, hot spots, etc.

For the last few years I've been plagued with painful little knots in the muscles and tendons in my calves, and sometimes along my iliotibial band (outer thigh). I don't know the correct name for them. The PT referred to them as knots or tender points, and the really bad ones are hot spots, or trigger points.

Does anyone else get these? I need advice on how to get rid of them, or how to PREVENT them.

I was going to Physical Therapy for knee/foot/hip/back pain caused by poor knee and hip alignment (Iliotibial band syndrome, Patellofemoral syndrome, and flat feet). The painful knots developed after I started getting PT and started getting active again.

The PT treated them with deep tissue massage, often with a wooden knuckle, and rollers. The treatment was even more painful than the condition, and in the short term it made the situation worse. A couple days after treatment, I'd get another knot a few inches away from the first one. The treatment seemed to inflame the whole length of the fibers making them more susceptible to micro-tears. (I don't know if this is correct or not).

I've been out of PT for about 6 months now and my pain was significantly better until recently.

I'm trying to work out again and the knots are getting out of hand. I'm trying to roll them out myself, but I'm not sure it's doing much good. I was fine for the first two-three weeks of moderate walking and cycling. I was feeling great until they started again last week. Now because of the pain, I can't walk more than 20 minutes at a time, and I can't go nearly as fast as I could 2 weeks ago.

I'm looking for some alternatives to the dreaded wooden knuckle.

Edit: I should add that I do quite a bit of stretching every day.

Last edited by lucylucy; 07-09-2008 at 03:22 PM.

 
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:09 PM   #2
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Re: Muscle/tendon knots, tender points, hot spots, etc.

You may be able to dissolve your own trigger points with gentler work. Press until it starts to hurt, then back off a tiny bit. That's the right amount. Then, hold for 20 seconds. It worked if the knot dissolved or at least softened. I also rub my calves firmly but not aggressively, with downward strokes only.

Also, stretch, stretch, stretch. Do the achilles stretch, look up peroneal stretch, see if that helps a bit.

 
Old 07-12-2008, 01:34 AM   #3
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Re: Muscle/tendon knots, tender points, hot spots, etc.

Thank you!!!! I looked up Peroneal stretch and found many variations. One looks like something my first PT taught me years ago (before I got these knots). I'm going to try a few different ones this week and see if it helps.

I like your approach to the trigger points too.

 
Old 07-17-2008, 02:19 PM   #4
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Re: Muscle/tendon knots, tender points, hot spots, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucylucy View Post
I'm trying to roll them out myself, but I'm not sure it's doing much good.
By "roll them out," do you mean you are using a foam roller? Personally, I've found my foam roller to be very helpful for tight muscles and knots.

 
Old 07-18-2008, 03:09 PM   #5
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Re: Muscle/tendon knots, tender points, hot spots, etc.

Foam sounds much softer than what I use. It could be perfect for a tight IT band. It's really sensitive right now.

My son bought me a really cool thing called a Happy Roller. It has 3 rows of 5 rolling balls that move really easily. Itís best suited for the foot, because itíll stay put on the floor. It also works if I roll my leg over it while lying down, or I can hold it and roll it over my leg.

In the past my PT recommended a wooden rolling pin for my calves (itís hard to do it yourself), and a golf ball or hard curvy bottle for my feet. My feet suffer the most when I travel, and Iím usually happy to discover a cold beer bottle in the mini-bar.

At the PT office they had a long roller with separate plastic pieces to adjust to the contours of your body. And the dreaded wooden knuckle.

I remember seeing a cab driver once with a seat cover of small wooden balls. That type of thing could be very handy to loosen up a tight back after working out.

 
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