Insane in the Membrane: Lower leg pain of a Golfer!

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Insane in the Membrane: Lower leg pain of a Golfer!

The interosseous membrane is a fibrous membrane that maintains the integrity of the space between several anatomical structures. The two places that are mentioned the most is in the forearm (between the radius & ulna) and the lower leg (between the tibia and the fibula). Because of the composition of this structure, it can provide stability between the joint but also maintain an elastic property that helps support heavy loads throughout different movement angles. Whenever we transfer weight from one leg to another, the interosseous membrane helps the ligaments around our ankles keep us stable until both feet are on the ground.

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During a golf swing, the interosseous membrane allows the rotation to happen on our stabilizing leg to complete the swing. If the interosseous membrane is damaged, all those movements become painful or the lower leg feels unstable in actions that require pressure being applied to a single leg (the lift off stage of walking, going up the stairs, a golf swing, & etc).

I am currently treating a client who has been complaining of pain in her lower leg for almost 8 months. They initially thought it was an ankle sprain since there was a traumatic event but the swelling in the ankle went down and she could go back to doing her daily activities, however she noticed that whenever she would workout or try and golf, the pain would return and she would be sore throughout her lower leg on the lateral side. This had caused her to end her golfing season earlier than what she wanted to and she was hesitant about starting again. After going through a detailed assessment, it was determined that not only had she sprained her ankle during that fall but she had also done some damage to the interosseous membrane that connected the two bones in her lower leg. So now, every time she tried to workout or golf, there was no stability in the space connecting both bones the surrounding muscles would have to work twice as much to try and maintain the balance in the lower leg. That was causing wear and tear on the joints that those muscles were attached to and the transfer of force throughout the whole leg when she was applying pressure to it was not equal resulting in various compensation patterns.

The first thing we did was release the tight muscles that were applying so much pressure to the joints in her ankle and knee. Once those relaxed, I was able to do some mobilizations on the joints that had been put under so much pressure and make sure that the bones were working properly in connection to one another. Once the joints were working better, she was given exercises to improve her balance and remind the interosseous of its job as a stabilizer.

As of now, she is has been able to play a 9 hole course with an ankle brace for extra support and we are hoping to make it a full 18-round with no extra support soon!!

Written by Whitney Dikoume,

Certified Athletic Therapist

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