FROM OUR EXPERTS
Do your knees feel wobbly or are your legs giving way? If you answered yes to either one of these questions, then you might be experiencing a condition known as Arthrogenic Muscle Inhibition. That’s a fancy way to say that the muscle weakness is caused by joint arthritis, injury and pain.
As a protective mechanism, the nervous system has reflexes that shut down muscle activity in order to protect the injured body part. In the case of an injured knee, ankle or other joint, doctors have observed significant muscle deactivation in response to joint swelling, pain, and arthritis. 1
In response to knee injury, surgery or arthritis, the quadriceps muscles become very weak. Even the hamstring and buttocks muscles are weakened in order to protect the knee. In response to an ankle injury or other painful process, the lower leg muscles in the calf start to lose their power. Researchers are even able to duplicate this arthrogenic muscle response by simulating joint swelling a...
When I do my strengthening exercises, should I be training for large, bulky muscles, or smaller muscles for endurance?
Safely strengthening the muscles around painful joints is one of the best ways to alleviate joint pain and keep the pain from returning. In fact, keeping muscles strong and flexible is one of the best ways to keep joint pain from occurring in the first place. The question posed at the top of this blog belies an understanding that there are different types of muscle fibers in a muscle.
There are in fact two important types of skeletal muscle:
Type I muscle fibers is also called "slow-twitch" muscle. It is composed of small fibers. Type I muscle is used to carry light loads over long distances. A marathon runner has an abundance of type I muscle fibers. Picture the marathon runner - lean and toned. Type II muscle fibers are also called "fast-twitch" muscle fibers. Type II muscles are large and used for lifting heavy loads. Type II muscles are powerful bu...
All it takes is a good whack to your knee, and the surrounding muscles may decide to stop doing their job. Your injury is called a patellar contusion--a blow to the kneecap. You will have pain and most likely weakness in the quadriceps (the big muscle on the front of your thigh). What is the best way to get your quadriceps strong again? That depends on whether the weakness is caused by quadriceps atrophy or inhibition. Atrophy means that the muscle is weak and shrunken. In this case, atrophy could happen because the pain in the knee causes you to use that leg less. Inhibition means that the muscle just can't engage when you try to move it. The pain and swelling are believed to throw the nervous system off, keeping the muscle from working. The difference between atrophy and inhibition is important, because the two conditions need to be treated differently. Atrophy is treated by strengthening the muscles. Inhibition requires that the muscle be "re-educated" using specialized therapy, suc...
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