08 Nov 2009
Medical Astrology: Sun in Aquarius Part 2 by Eileen Nauman, DHM, medical astrologer
The lower leg consists of two bones, the tibia and the fibula.
There’s an awful lot of muscles, too. Probably the most common problem people will connect with is legs cramps. Usually, this happens during the day from over exertion, not stretching before you exercise or run. However, night leg cramping is a horse of a different color and I’ll cover that later in this blog.
The most common leg complaint is known as Shin Splits. There are two types. The first is the pain felt in front of the tibia bone and is known as an anterior shin splint. The posterior shin splint causes pain along the inside portion of the leg. The main reason this conditions flares up on us is because of over use. This condition usually occurs with die hard joggers. But, it can be someone who is walking, too. The pain (usually a dull ache at first) is felt in the front or the inside of the tibia (also known as the shin bone). The reason for it is over doing in the exercise department. Athletes get this condition who run or jump a lot. For the rest of us, we don’t set reasonable goals on our out-of-shape body and it is the shin bone muscles that starts screaming first. And the symptoms will usually occur in a downhill portion of their walk or run.
Here are the major muscles of our calves.
The tibia is the larger of the two bones in the lower leg and is sometimes referred to as the shinbone. The smaller, thinner bone is called the fibula. Both run from knee to our ankle. The Tibia muscles allow our foot to bend upward. There are many fibers that fasten the muscle to the bone of the tibia. This covering is called the periosteum.
With shin splints, if the person doesn’t rest or stop the repetitions or lower the miles jogged, real damage can be caused to the tibilius muscles that are attached to our tibia. Worse, the edge of the muscles may begin to pull away from the bone. Then, the muscle and the periosteum become inflamed.
For athletes, shin splints occur when there are increases in training regimen. You can also acquire shin splints if your foot gear isn’t properly supportive. If you have good footgear and are still getting shin splints, I’d strongly suggest you pop over and see a Podiatrist. Not everyone’s foot is straight. Indeed, many people walk “duck footed” or one foot will angle out instead of falling straight ahead as its supposed too. An appointment with a podiatrist can never be underestimated.
Anterior shin splints usually occur to joggers, sprinters or playing sports that require fast stops and starts (basketball, for example). The force and strain is placed on the anterior tibialis muscle. This muscle’s job is to control the landing of our foot with each stride we take. Downhill running really puts the stress on it and that is when you’re likely to feel the pain.
If you make the mistake of jogging on the balls of your feet, you will quickly acquire an anterior shin splint. The balls of our feet aren’t meant to take the pressure and force of a stride.
Learning to jog right might require you talking to a track coach and getting some useful instructions to avoid shin splints.
If you get a posterior shin splint, it’s usually due to imbalance of the leg and foot. Tight calf muscles can contribute. Primary, however, is foot alignment (flat feet/flat arches also called pronation), can all cause this health issue. The pain and inflammation will be felt along the inside edge of our lower leg. Going to a Podiatrist is your first order of business and get the correct orthopedic devices so that it avoids this problem.
Another condition is known as a Stress Fracture. This is an actual breaking of a bone. If you run on hard, unforgiving surfaces as in marathon or long time joggers who do many miles a day, you may suffer from this. A stress fracture is a crack in the weakened area of a bone. Unfortunately, people who start with shin splints think they can ‘work through’ the issue. But in doing so, they may develop a stress fracture instead. A far worse situation.
Here is an example of a stress fracture in the lower leg.
A worse case scenario for shin splints is a condition known as Compartment Syndrome. There are four compartments in the lower limb. Pressure builds, muscle damage ensues and then swelling builds up inside a section (or compartment) of the leg. The pressure builds the the capillaries (small artery-vein blood vessels) collapse and are squeezed shut. When this happen, the muscles loose a badly need blood and oxygen supply. At first, the symptoms are like an ache or may be mistaken for a muscle cramp.
If this condition persists undiagnosed, larger blood vessels are shut down as well as nerves are affected. The person may feel coldness, numbness and swelling in lower leg (or foot). If not treated, serious damage is done to that area. Necrosis, or the tissue dying, is the worse case scenario.
Dull, aching pain is felt where the involved tibialis muscle attaches to the tibia. Redness and swelling can also occur in this area. Tenderness is felt where the muscle attaches to the bone.
Anterior shin splints are usually felt on the front of the tibia, especially when using the anterior tibialis muscle to bend your foot upward.
Posterior shin splints produce symptoms along the inside edge of the lower leg. Small bumps may also be felt along the edge of the tibia in this area.
Symptoms of shin splints generally get worse with activity and ease with rest. Pain may be worse when you first get up after sleeping. The sore tibialis muscle shortens while you rest, and it stretches painfully when you put weight on your foot.
periosteum (bony covering). This condition is called periostitis.
Most shin splints will disappear if the person stops doing the physical activity. You can use cold packs on the area. Anti-inflammatory drugs are used, but I’d suggest homeopathic treatment instead. Special support such as taping may support the shinbone to help the area heal. A trip to the Podiatrist is in order to ensure your feet are flat and in straight alignment with the rest of your body. If they aren’t, shin splints can appear. Orthotics (made by the podiatrist) are a way to get the foot in balance and also to support your arch.
Going to a Physical Therapist can be equally important. They know how to reduce pain and inflammation. Surgery is rarely indicated. Before you believe a doctor telling you surgery is inevitable, I hope you saw a Podiatrist first.
Leg cramps are a common, shared experience. Most of us get them when it’s a hot day out, we’re not drinking enough water and we’re physically active. Dehydration can cause leg cramps and drinking water, resting and staying out of the direct sunlight can all ease that cramp.
Another type is known as “Nocturnal Leg Cramps” or Night Cramps. You may be just about asleep or sleeping when there’s sudden, excruciating pain (I call them Charley Horses) will bring you up screaming with pain. Usually, they are in the lower leg, although they can occur in the upper leg as well.
The calf muscles are most often involved. This type of cramping is usually harmless and suggests that our own local muscle chemistry is imbalanced. Not drinking enough water can cause it. Or, not eating foods that have potassium in them. People who consume a lot of salt but not enough potassium via the foods they eat, are targets for night cramps.
But there are other reasons, too. Over exertion of the muscles, standing on hard surfaces for a long time, or sitting along time (getting up every 20 minutes is a good idea, if possible), maintaining a certain leg position for too long, dehydration (discussed above) or diseases.
Diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, hypoglycemia, thyroid disorder (get lab tests every year to stay on top of whether you need more or less thyroid supplementation), and mineral imbalance (you may need more calcium, potassium or magnesium) or certain prescription medications (blood pressure meds, statins (that lower cholesterol), morphine and lithium) can be the hidden reason for your night cramps.
If you continue to have night cramps on a consistent basis, please check with your health care provider and tell them what is going on. If you are over age 50, have been over exerting yourself, if you’re pregnant, or if you stay in a certain position for along time, have flat feet or foot/ankle deformities (see a podiatrist on these), suffer from alcoholism, have a neurologic disease, can all be potential reasons for these night time cramps. Homeopathy is stellar in this area and I’d also suggest along with your MD, to see a homeopath. Many times, the correct remedy can correct the acute symptoms.
Another less common problem for Aquarian’s is the Weak Ankle situation. In most instances, this is a genetic skeletal problem from birth onward. Faulty skeleton creates poor posture and incorrect function. This can create spinal instability in movement. Unhappily, most of the population has some kind of skeletal insufficiency or imbalance. It’s only a matter of time until it catches up with us.
And usually, when we get active or start a gym exercise, this is when it will show up. Inherited lower limb skeleton problems will excessively angle the foot connection with the ground. You would think that when we walk, ALL of our foot, especially the last third, is in complete contact with the ground or surface we’re walking on. Don’t put money on it.
Many people’s feet do NOT hit the ground fully, especially the ball and toe area. Here is an example, due to genetics, of the toes and ball hitting on the outer two toes and not the entire foot. This condition creates an unstable spine. And it can also make the hips “go out.” You will spend a lot of money on chiropractors getting your spine realigned constantly. Or, the wise thing to do is visit your Podiatrist and let her or him check out your foot and create orthotics so your foot fully and completely hits the ground like it should. Good-bye chiropractor bills!
This angled foot position (or the toe/ball portion of our foot) is angled. It then results in a forceful foot roll. The consequence is the ankle collapses (rolls out or in) and the lower leg turns forcefully. If this continues on for any amount of time, wear and tear on the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles are going to conspire against you. Pain will be the result. And your spinal column or hips “going out” so that you visit the chiropractor at least once a month to get realigned.
Lastly, for Aquarian’s, remember that STARCH is your ENEMY. When the stomach is digesting and breaking down the food you just ate, the most amount of oxygen goes to breaking down the starches in it. As more oxygen is allocated to the stomach for digestion, the Aquarian, about thirty to sixty minutes after that meal, feels very sleepy. Most nap. Or they should. Actually, they should really cut down on the amount of starches’ in their diet. Yes, I mean breads and pastas, specifically. Potatoes too. And I know, Aquarian’s are fixed eaters and trying to add something to their pallet or take it off is nearly impossible. Good luck.
Let me put a bug in your ear, Aquarius. Do you want to become obese starting in your forties? Well, you’re headed there unless you can swear off the starches, my friend. Add more veggies and fruits to your diet instead. Stay away from wheat products (many Aquarians have an allergy to wheat or wheat products and should look for “gluten free” items instead. Make a friend of your health food store.
And, adding on to this, all fixed signs (Scorpio less so), are prone toward obesity for the very reasons above. Taurus is the gormand and eats too much rich food. Leo indulges and super sizes everything thing. And Aquarius is a ‘meat-and-potato’ mentality where starch is king. All these signs are obese-prone. You’ve been warned.
Next Week: Sun in Pisces, Part 1
bones of lower leg
shin splints with bone and muscle
stress fracture illustration
lower leg pain
Shin splint from jogging
Leg Cramp illustration
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