Resistance Stretching (DCT) – Muscle Tension and Joint Mal-alignment

Resistance Stretching (DCT) – Muscle Tension and Joint Mal-alignment Hi, my name is Nic Bartolotta, founder of Dynamic Contraction Technique. This is another episode of DCT Academy. I wanted to discuss muscle tension and how it relates to joint malalignment. We talk a lot about knots and tension forming in the body. We talk about how as a muscle shortens it can pull the bones it attaches to closer together, which obviously creates a change in the anatomy, change in the ergonomics between those two bones.

Specifically, it’s important to understand that that muscle tension, especially when it’s causing adaptive shortening in a muscle, where you’re actually getting, the ultimate length of the muscle is being reduced by that tension, it creates a specific type of malalignment in the joint that muscle crosses. If you look at my injury as a college athlete, for example, I had worn the cartilage down to the bone on my left knee. If You’d seen the alignment of my lower leg and my femur, the lower leg, the tibia was torqued out to the side pretty severely.

If you looked at my knee, my knee pointed forward, but my lower leg was twisted out, and I was duck-footed on that side. When we looked at the anatomy and the musculature that was shortening, to create that torque or that malalignment of the joint, it was specifically my lateral hamstring. The way we know it was the lateral hamstring is just by looking at an anatomy chart, and looking at the origin, and the insertion of the lateral hamstring, also known as the biceps femoris. If you look at the biceps femoris, it runs down from your ischial tuberosity, those little rings on the bottom of your pelvis. It attaches at the fibula on the outside of the lower leg.

Imagine a rope going from that ring on the bottom of your butt down to the outer leg. Imagine that rope shortening and it’s going to mal align the joint by creating a lateral torque. For as long as I can remember growing up, my lateral hamstring was torquing my knee. When I was doing gymnastics, when I was doing springboard diving, and I would load my left knee to jump, it was grinding on cartilage, because of how extremely rotated that muscle tension had caused the bones to be malaligned.

By the time I was 19 years old I’d worn out the cartilage, and the only way to repair that was by actually identifying where the malalignment was coming from, and then performing the resistance stretching and the loaded eccentrics to lengthen the lateral hamstring and strengthen it into the new position. That’s a simple way. The rope analogy is a really good way to understand how muscle shortening and muscular tension, in that way, creates joint malalignment, or tension or torque across the joint.