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Fascia release or stretching popliteus?


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So after 3 years I've finally figured out why my knee still hurts when I squat/bend my knee.

Apparently after knee surgery a lot of people experience long term over activation of the popliteus muscle at the back of the knee and my physio and I have managed to narrow it down to this being the root of the problem.

He already gave me some stuff to do, but I was wondering if any of your knowledgeable people could offer some insight into how to make this muscle more relaxed and soft? :)

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Joachim, have you tried this?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1nxYoWA0GI

 

use a thinnish stick first and do the whole calf/hamstring line, then repeat, getting the stick as high up the back of the leg (inside the knee, effectively), as you can. Please report back.

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Joachim, have you tried this?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1nxYoWA0GI

 

use a thinnish stick first and do the whole calf/hamstring line, then repeat, getting the stick as high up the back of the leg (inside the knee, effectively), as you can. Please report back.

 

Hey Kit. 

I tried this and it doesn't really help that much. I have the worst pain symptoms when im sitting in that position and then tilt to the lift, which makes the lateral/posterior side of the knee hurt a lot. The same pain sensation happens if I'm sitting in a squat and try to internally rotate my leg.

The pain is on my right knee btw.

I have previously had some success with the 1-legged downward dog and it still works, however the symptoms only fade away for 5 min. and then return once I try to get out of a bottom position or move into a squat again. 

I have had the pain for 3 years and I wish I had known about the latest pain science a long time ago. My nervous system has really become oversensitive to any movement past 90 degrees in my right leg - even unweighted stuff.

 

EDIT: Just to clarify I have no structural injuries.

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Have you had a talented soft tissue worker play with this? Hands-on work, if skilful, is the fastest way to reeducate the brain in this regard (talking about the latest pain research). And if you are sure you have no structural injuries, then it can only be the brain's relation to signals coming from the various soft tissues that is causing the problem.

 

Most likely is it is some soft tissue that is pulling on, or squashing, a nerve, that is causing the pain you describe.

 

And (talking now about the SLDD), you may have to go significantly further than you are at present before this remapping occurs, too. One woman I worked with who had had really intense Repetitive Strain Injury to her forearm also had extreme ROM in these tissues (compared to the general population) but she needed to go even further into the extreme ranges to settle those tissues down. A single treatment remapped that relation, too.

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Have you had a talented soft tissue worker play with this? Hands-on work, if skilful, is the fastest way to reeducate the brain in this regard (talking about the latest pain research). And if you are sure you have no structural injuries, then it can only be the brain's relation to signals coming from the various soft tissues that is causing the problem.

 

Most likely is it is some soft tissue that is pulling on, or squashing, a nerve, that is causing the pain you describe.

 

And (talking now about the SLDD), you may have to go significantly further than you are at present before this remapping occurs, too. One woman I worked with who had had really intense Repetitive Strain Injury to her forearm also had extreme ROM in these tissues (compared to the general population) but she needed to go even further into the extreme ranges to settle those tissues down. A single treatment remapped that relation, too.

 

 

I have not Kit. Do you mean a certified ART practitioner or something like that? I had meniscus surgery but according to pain research etc. meniscus shouldn't cause these troubles, at least thats what my PT is telling me and he is one of the leading pain experts in Denmark right now.

Interesting story about her journey, I would love to go to Australia sometime and really experience what its like to work ST with experienced people like yourself. My only issue right now, is that my "bad" leg is actually way more flexible in the SLDP and Im having a hard time getting a good stretch nowadays, maybe I need to focus on even more anterior tilt to really stretch posterior tissues.

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Joachim add me on Instagram I think I might have an exercise variation which might help.

Hey Emmet, Im actually already following you. I looked through your posts earlier but couldn't quite figure out which one you might suggest, so help me out good man!

For Kit: I tried pushing the hold time on the SLDP today and felt an intense stretch right where the gastroc and major part of popliteus is located, i held it for 3 min. or so. Afterwards I felt what I can only describe as relief and happiness (I kinda felt like crying in a way?!)....I guess I hit the spot..

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UPDATE:

I combined the stretch I received from Emmet with the single legged downward dog and have done it every day since posting. The pain has improved tremendously so far and I can now squat below 90 degrees and feel no pain, I'm so relieved guys and girls and I hope this continues as I keep doing the stretch and remodel whatever was causing the trouble! :D

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This is great great to hear.

Emmet I'd be interested in knowing this exercise. I tore my meniscus earlier this year, which I opted to not have surgery on. It's pretty much normal now, full knee flexion isn't 100% though. So I am very intrigued.

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This is great great to hear.

Emmet I'd be interested in knowing this exercise. I tore my meniscus earlier this year, which I opted to not have surgery on. It's pretty much normal now, full knee flexion isn't 100% though. So I am very intrigued.

 Chris I had lateral meniscus surgery, stupid decision - so good decision for you!

My meniscus isn't the problem but there definitely something going on posteriorly that this stretch fixes.

FOR EMMET: Your stretch really started working once I did longer holdt in the bottom - something like 30 sec and applied a bit of C-R technique:)

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JoachimG: Good to know

But damn is it effective for the posterior leg...i dont know exactly what I'm hitting but it's helping heaps..I'm sweating like crazy so my CNS is definitely challenged while doing this stuff...

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  • 3 years later...

Hi guys,
Just wondering if anyone has any more advice regarding this popliteus muscle and surrounding area?

I have similar symptoms to the OP except it's my left knee.
Sitting at the computer for too long causes extreme stiffness and some pain when I stand back up. 30sec of walking and its pretty much fine again...
I can get in complete ass2grass squat and can get flat palms on floor in a standing pike. 

 

So far I am treating myself with advice from this thread and master the pike including:
-SLDP (approx 1min holds)

-Single leg good mornings 5x rep each leg with weightless bar and foot in dorsiflexion as Emmet suggests. 



I also found this thread if any others are looking for info:
https://kitlaughlin.com/forums/index.php?/topic/1273-anyone-ever-deal-with-bakers-cystpopliteal-cyst/

 

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  • 1 year later...

Well 18 months on and I finally had an MRI done.
Turns out the issue (which evolved overtime) is tendinopothy of the semimembranosus tendon.

I am assuming the best course of action will be slow but progressive targetted hamstring  strengthening work.
I am planning to start a routine focussing on some simple RDL balances and eccentric nordic curls. I have a booking with a specialist physio next week but will start with ultra low dose exercise for now as I am too impatient to sit back and wait!

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  • 9 months later...
On 7/2/2015 at 12:03 AM, Kit_L said:

Joachim, have you tried this?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1nxYoWA0GI

 

use a thinnish stick first and do the whole calf/hamstring line, then repeat, getting the stick as high up the back of the leg (inside the knee, effectively), as you can. Please report back.

Hi Kit will this exercise help my popliteal cyst? I have had the cyst now for 2 years and am unable to get rid of it. It’s in my shorter leg. I also have tight hamstrings and hip flexors which I’m working on via your stretches!! 

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