Fasciotomy – fas·ci·ot·o·my

Defintion : surgical incision of a fascia <palmar fasciotomy for Dupuytren’s contracture>

Yep, you read that right; a current surgical procedure is a permanent incision in to the fascia. It is indicated when the pressure or tension of a limb builds to a dangerous level, decreasing circulation. This can happen after crush or impact injuries, burns, or athletes.

You may even know someone (or be someone) whose foot falls asleep or goes numb when they run. This is chronic anterior compartment syndrome (as opposed to acute, like a crush injury).  Having decreased blood flow is never good, but I have a hard time understanding how having a permanent incision in your fascia can be helpful in the long run. Yes, it alleviates the problem-causing pressure now, but does it do anything to maintain the integrity of your lower limb for the rest of your life? Eh, probably not.

Fascia, as Jill Miller describes it, “is the fibrous and gelatinous body wide web that forms the living seams, structures, protection and repair system for your body. It is the soft tissue scaffolding that gives your body its form and shape. It links muscular proteins and other connective tissue structures like bones, ligaments and tendons to one another.” It’s the inner lining of your birthday suit. When it comes to structure, you can understand how the inner lining of your entire body would be important. How having integrity and not permanent incisions would be important.

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine has this to say about fascia: “Covering [muscles, nerves, and blood vessels] is a tough membrane called a fascia. The role of the fascia is to keep the tissues in place, and, therefore, the fascia does not stretch or expand easily.” Fascia research is still fairly new, but it’s clear that the shift is VERY slow in the rest of the medical community. Those who study fascia, massage, or teach others self-massage (Holla to my YTU/mobility peeps!) know that you can dramatically change the pliability of tissues through manual manipulation.

All of the tissues through your body have some sort of elasticity (even bones can bend a bit before they fail). Their elasticity is dependent on how much you move and use them and their hydration levels. If you sit at home drinking nothing but soda everyday, your tissues are probably a bit stiff from underuse and lack of hydration. “Motion is lotion” and “use or lose it” are true principles of the body.

So why does the AOSS think that fascia is this tough, fibrous, unyielding structure? I’m not sure; but I do know that a fascias inherent springiness can be changed.

So, how do we hydrate tissues and improve their elasticity? Self-massage, proper hydration and stretching, of course.

Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls are a perfect way to roll out and restore springiness to the soft tissues on the front of the lower leg. When placed in their snug grip tote, YTU Therapy Balls perfectly hug the front of the shin, working their massage magic into the front of the leg. Now, why would the tissues on the front of your leg be tight? The type of shoes you wear is a huge factor, but also think about how much stress the front of your leg takes when you drive – you must constantly hold tension in the shin to keep your foot hovering over the gas (or alternating your pressure to affect your speed). If not, you would drive with the pedal to the floor 24/7 (which, if you did you would not need any of this J)

(Why Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls and not a LaCrosse ball or foam roller? Read this BreakingMuscle.com article by Brooke Thomas for a breakdown on self-massage tools.)

Try the YTU Therapy Ball technique in the video below to alleviate shin pain and tension!