Varicose Veins - Postural Influences
As fitness professionals and movement specialists we encounter a myriad of musculoskeletal issues in our clients. Tendonitis, trigger points and joint pain are probably some of the most common complaints we treat. But what about vascular issues? Could there be a role for the fitness professional in the management and prevention of vascular health, namely, varicose veins?
I was first introduced to the concept of postural influences on vascular status by EBFA faculty member and Posturologist, Mat Boule’. We were discussing a patient he had recently seen whose initial complaint was not musculoskeletal in nature, but rather vascular.
The patient was complaining of unilateral tenderness and induration along the right great saphenous vein. Patient states she felt relief with compressive dressings but symptoms returned with activity, such as running and cycling. After evaluation by several medical doctors, including a vascular surgeon, the patient was left with no explanation for the venous tenderness, and sought out Mat Boule’ for his help.
Postural Influences and Vascular Health
When presented with patients experiencing unilateral varicose veins, Mat Boule’ immediately begins to consider the influence of pelvis alignment on venous flow. Why pelvis alignment must be considered in patients with assymeitrical venous symptoms has to do with lower extremity vascular anatomy.
The Femoral Triangle
Situated in the upper thigh lies an important anatomical region called the femoral triangle. Bordered by the adductor longus and Sartorius, the femoral triangle is an area where the important femoral nerve, vein and artery cross the hip joint. Due to the proximity of these vital structures in relation to hip musculature, it is quite apparent how pelvic posture could influence venous flow.
Causes of Pelvic Obliquity
All three planes of movement should be considered when assessing a client’s pelvis posture. Unilateral tightness of the anterior hip musculature can pull the pelvis into either a sagittal or transverse plane rotation. By addressing the imbalance between overactive anterior hip rotators and weak posterior musculature, a movement specialist can restore proper alignment in the pelvis.
Another cause of pelvis obliquity which must be considered in a client with assymetrical venous symptoms is limb length discrepancy. Our body must compensation for variances in limb length. Whether this compensation is observed as unilateral foot pronation or a frontal plane hip hike, obliquity in the pelvis is often noted. In this case, adequate correction of the pelvis obliquity cannot be achieved without addressing the limb length discrepancy.
To learn more about how you can better assess your client’s lower extremity alignment and the influence of limb length discrepancy on posture, please visit www.ebfafitness.com
To learn more about Mat Boule’ and his experience as a posturologist, please visit his website www.matboule.com