Video Tutorial #81 Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates How To Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Ankle (Subtalar Joint Outside)


The subtalar joint (STJ) is also known as the talocalcaneal joint. In explaining subtalar joint anatomy, it is  located at in the rearfoot.    The subtalar ankle joint is comprised of the calcaneus (heel bone) and the talus, the bone that sits above it. Also known as the talocalcaneal joint, the subtalar joint is actually three separate articulations between the two bones.

The subtalar joint makes up the foundation of our body so if there is a problem with joint movement,, ankle joint pain, ankle arthritis,  (over pronation or over supination), then it can disrupt movement up the body including the ankle, hip, knee, spine and even the spine/skull. Subtalar joint pronation leads to problems not just of the foot and ankle, but of the entire lower extremity, and possibly both lower extremities.

Overpronation of the subtalar joint is when, during a walking workout or running training the ankle joint itself goes in a down and outward direction, the heel goes inward and other joints rotate unnaturally. Overpronation can be a contributing factor in other lower extremity disorders, such as foot pain, plantar fasciitis, ankle injuries, medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints), periostitis, stress fractures and myofascial trigger points. Overpronation increases the degree of internal tibial rotation, thereby contributing to various knee disorders such as meniscal injury or ligament sprains. The effects of the postural deviation are exaggerated in athletes due to the increase in foot strikes while running and the greater impact load experienced. When running, three to four times the body weight is experienced with each foot strike. If overpronation exists, the shock force is not adequately absorbed by the foot and is transmitted further up the kinetic chain.
I have found that by releasing and strengthening the muscles that support the foot and ankle in the safe range between supination and pronation maintain the subtalar joint in a more efficient way of moving. which can also result in avoiding foot and ankle pain as well as chronic inflammation and even heel spurs.

The Human Spring Mechanism is what protects us from the landings.

Our bodies have a spring mechanism between our joints and the ground. When two objects collide they need something in between them to help protect and absorb the impact. The result of not having protection could be damage or injury.

What I explain is to help you release your human spring so that it will help protect you from the impact force of the landings.

Today we are going to work on releasing the subtalar joint of the ankle on the outside. The points i’m referring to are pictured below:

Subtalar Joint Outside Deep Tissue Release Point

  • Work along the edge of the outside of the ankle bone.
  • You will find a little gully or notch.
  • Apply pressure down to the bone with your thumb.
  • Hold it down until the pain goes away
  • Once the pain goes away move the thumb along the ankle bone as shown in the video tutorial
  • After you have released the subtalar joint move your ankle in a circular motion as shown in the video tutorial
  • You might hear a clicking noise. That is your subtalar joint releasing.

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There are times when you should refrain from massage or deep tissue massage because it may adversely affect a health condition.
Contraindication is the medical term for these conditions. “Contra” means against, as in contrary, and indications are things that tell you what to do one way or the other. Therefore, contraindications are things that are telling you not to do something.

  • Fever: When you have a fever, your body is trying to isolate and expel an invader of some kind. Massage increases overall circulation and could therefore work against your body’s natural defenses.
  • Inflammation: Massage can further irritate an area of inflammation, so you should not administer it. Inflamed conditions include anything that ends in itis, such as phlebitis (inflammation of a vein), dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), arthritis(inflammation of the joints), and so on. In the case of localized problems, you can still massage around them, however, avoiding the inflammation itself.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure means excessive pressure against blood vessel walls. Massage affects the blood vessels, and so people with high blood pressure or a heart condition should receive light, sedating massages, if at all.
  • Infectious diseases: Massage is not a good idea for someone coming down with the flu or diphtheria, for example, and to make matters worse, you expose yourself to the virus as well.
  • Hernia: Hernias are protrusions of part of an organ (such as the intestines) through a muscular wall. It’s not a good idea to try to push these organs back inside. Surgery works better.
  • Osteoporosis: Elderly people with a severe stoop to the shoulders often have this condition, in which bones become porous, brittle, and fragile. Massage may be too intense for this condition.
  • Varicose veins: Massage directly over varicose veins can worsen the problem. However, if you apply a very light massage next to the problem, always in a direction toward the heart, it can be very beneficial.
  • Broken bones: Stay away from an area of mending bones. A little light massage to the surrounding areas, though, can improve circulation and be quite helpful.
  • Skin problems: You should avoid anything that looks like it shouldn’t be there, such as rashes, wounds, bruises, burns, boils, and blisters, for example. Usually these problems are local, so you can still massage in other areas.
  • Cancer: Cancer can spread through the lymphatic system, and because massage increases lymphatic circulation, it may potentially spread the disease as well. Simple, caring touch is fine, but massage strokes that stimulate circulation are not.Always check with a doctor first.
  • Other conditions and diseases: Diabetes, asthma, and other serious conditions each has its own precautions, seek a doctor’s opinion before administering massage.
  • Pregnancy: No deep tissue work. Be aware: danger of triggering a miscarriage by strong myofascial work is greatest during the first 3 months (especially through work around the pelvis, abdomen, adductors, medial legs, or feet)



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