“We have not wings we cannot soar; but, we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, more and more the cloudy summits of our time”

lower limb exercises

LOWER LIMB EXERCISES

Hamstrings

3 muscles make up the hamstring muscle group-the bicep femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus.

Location
At the back of the thigh and cross the hip and knee joints.
Actions
Since they cross two joints, they have two actions, which include knee flexion and hip extension and hyper-extension.
Injuries
Since the main actions of the hamstrings are to flex the knee and extend the hip, they are vulnerable to injury during the opposite movements. For example, during running as the leg swings forward, the hamstrings are activated and stretching. This stretching is due to both hip flexion and knee extension, both opposite actions of the hamstrings

Quadriceps

The quadriceps is a large muscle group that includes the four prevailing muscles on the front of the thigh.

It is subdivided into four separate portions or ‘heads’, which have received distinctive names: Rectus femoris occupies the middle of the thigh, covering most of the other three quadriceps muscles, the Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis and Vastus Intermedius.

Location
All four parts of the quadriceps muscle ultimately insert into the tibial tuberosity of the tibia via the patella.
Actions
All four quadriceps are powerful extensors of the knee joint. They are crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. Because rectus femoris attaches to the ilium, it is also a flexor of the hip. This action is also crucial to walking or running as it swings the leg forward into the ensuing step. The quadriceps, specifically the vastus medialis, plays the important role of stabilizing the patella and the knee joint during gait.

Calf muscles

The calf muscles are made up of one large muscle the gastrocnemius, and a smaller muscle, the soleus, which lies under the gastrocnemius.

Location
The gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles are situated in the posterior (back) compartment of the leg. The lateral head originates from the lateral condyle of the femur, while the medial head originates from the medial condyle of the femur. Its other end forms a common tendon with the soleus muscle; this tendon is known as the Achilles Tendon.
Actions
Its function is plantar flexing the foot at the ankle joint thus lifting the heel and flexing the leg at the knee joint. It also aids with helping circulation in the lower leg.
Injuries
The gastrocnemius muscle is prone to spasms. A severe ankle flexion force may result in an injury of the muscle, commonly referred to as a “torn” or “strained” calf muscle, which is acutely painful and disabling.

Tibialis anterior

Location
The tibialis anterior is the most medial muscle of the anterior compartment of the leg. It originates in the upper two-thirds of the lateral surface of the tibia and inserts into the medial cuneiform and first metatarsal bones of the foot.
Actions
It is primarily responsible for moving the foot and ankle towards the head (dorsiflexion), inverting the foot and stabilizing the ankle and controlling the foot as it lowers to the ground during walking or running.
Injuries

Whenever the tibialis anterior muscle contracts or is stretched, tension is placed through the tibialis anterior tendon. If this tension is excessive due to too much repetition or high force, damage to the tendon can occur. Tibialis anterior tendonitis is a condition whereby there is damage to the tibialis anterior tendon with subsequent inflammation and degeneration.

Patients with tibialis anterior tendonitis usually experience pain at the front of the shin, ankle or foot during activities which place large amounts of stress on the tibialis anterior tendon These activities may include walking or running excessively (especially up or down hills or on hard or uneven surfaces), kicking an object with toes pointed (e.g. a football), wearing excessively tight shoes or kneeling.

Ankle

The ankle joint consists of three bones: the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. The ankle ( talocrural joint), is a synovial hinge joint.

Three separate ligaments stabilize the lateral aspect of the ankle joint: the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular and posterior talofibular ligaments. Medially, support comes from a collective group of ligaments known as the deltoid ligament.

Major Motions of the Ankle Joint

Inversion/Eversion.

Plantarflexion/Dorsiflexion.

Pronation/Supination. In simple terms, pronation occurs when the plantar side of the foot moves toward the floor surface in weight bearing, and supination occurs when the plantar side moves away from the floor surface. Pronation involves abduction, eversion and some dorsiflexion, whereas supination involves adduction, inversion and plantar flexion.

Injuries
The most common ankle problems are sprains and fractures. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments.

Peroneals

The Peroneal muscles are a group of 3 muscles that originate from fibula (lower leg bone) and for this reason, these are also known as fibularis muscles.

Location
Both Peroneal Longus and Brevis muscles are present on the lateral side of the leg, while Peroneal Tertius is present on the anterior side. All these muscles insert into the bones of the mid foot i.e., the tarsals and metatarsals.
Actions

Both peroneal longus and brevis muscles bend the foot downward (plantarflexion) and twist it outward (eversion).

Peroneal tertius has a weak pull and lifts the foot upwards (dorsiflexion) and twists it outwards (eversion).

Injuries
Include tendonitis, tear/rupture, laceration, and dislocation/subluxation.

Plantar fascia

The plantar fascia is the thick connective tissue which supports the arch on the bottom of the foot. It runs from the tuberosity of the calcaneus (heel bone) forward to the heads of the metatarsal bones

Location
Stabilizes the arch.
Actions
Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory process often caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot.

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