Technique Highlight: IASTM and Functional Release of the Fibular Head | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Technique Highlight: IASTM and Functional Release of the Fibular Head

Having problems restoring a patient's ankle dorsiflexion? The problem may be higher than the talocrural and subtalar joints! The fibular head should glide antero-laterally when performing dorsiflexion whether it's open or closed chain. I had a request on the EDGE Facebook page for this technique. Ask and you shall receive!

Pt: hooklying or sitting

  • behind the patient, start along the bony contours of the fibular head
  • use the sharp side of the EDGE and the 2nd smallest convexity to release around the fibular head
  • screen superficially around the circumference, starting posteriorly and finishing anteriorly
  • find a direction of restriction and release it with repeated strokes in that direction
  • There are also common restrictions along the lateral gastroc superiorly almost in the shape of a large oval. This is one of the lower quarter patterns of tissue dysfunction I find
    • Release this pattern area in proximal to distal or distal to proximal strokes starting superficially with the sharp EDGE and then progressing in depth with the flat EDGE
  • perform this for 5-10 minutes around this area and recheck dorsiflexion/function
Functional Release
Pt: lunge position involved LE forward or standing ready to squat
  • half kneel in front of the pt
  • mob hand on posterior fibular head, careful with pressure as you may impinge the fibular nerve
  • if it's sharp, readjust your hand placement, or perform some STM to release the tissues posteriorly first
  • pt squats or if in lunge position, does a mini lunge with involved LE forward
  • lightly pull the fibular head anterolaterally as the pt lunges or squats to improve the glide
  • assisting hand may pull the guide the distal tibia properly so the the knee tracks over the 2nd metatarsal 
  • perform 3-4 sets of 10 then recheck dorsiflexion/function

Special thanks to Leah "The Bruiser" Laube, SPT, and Dan "Deep Fry Tempo" Lopez, SPT for assisting in this video!



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