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The Windlass Mechanism and Fascial Winding of the Whole Body

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Craig Payne, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    In the thread on MBT shoes and the windlass mechanism, i recently made the comment:
    to which Paul responded (my bolding):
    I was intrigued by the role that the windlass mechanism in the foot may play in the fascial winding of the whole body. I have read stuff on the fascial stuff and the back and do not totally understand it, but not given a lot of thought to the windlass emchanism affecting it.

    Anyone got any comments?
  2. efuller

    efuller MVP

    There are capuple of parts to this. There is the observation of no windlass leading to the chin being stuck out and thoracic kyphosis. There may be a correlation here. I'm skeptical. How often do these events occur together.

    (What is no windlass? The windlass can provide a moment that prevents dorsiflexion of the forefoot relative to the rearfoot without 1st mpj dorsiflexion.)

    The second part is sort of an explanation of why no windlass would lead the suspected outcomes. What is fascia winding of the body? How does this prevent the purported observations. You could insert unlocked midtarsal joint in the place of fascial winding and the explanation would sound just as bad.

  3. It does sound rather scary does'nt it.

    Is there an explanation of fascial winding which would make sense in terms of commonplace and everyday fissics?
  4. musmed

    musmed Active Member

    Dear Craig
    The book anatomy trains by Myers will help here greatly.
    He is actually running workshops here next year (that is in OZ)
    Paul C
  5. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I on to it...:
  6. leoneenan

    leoneenan Member

    Is there a similarlity between the fascial winding/ anatomy train/ and Gracovetski's spiral slings?

  7. dougpotter

    dougpotter Active Member

    One might consider information from the late Dr. Ida Rolf: In 1977, she wrote Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures (Harper and Row, Publishers). This book is the major written statement of Ida P. Rolf’s scholastic and experiential investigation into the direct intervention with the evolution of the human species."
  8. Dananberg

    Dananberg Active Member

    Fascia is a fascinating subject, particularly in light of the concept of the body being a self supporting tensegrity system. (For details on tensegrity go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensegrity) Tensegrity structures require CONTINUOUS tension networks (fascia, muscle, tendons and ligaments) and DISCONTINUOUS compression components (osseous structures of the skeleton). When tension within the fascia is continually and uniformily applied through the entire network, the body is capable of being a self supportive structure. Many fascia experts assert that the fascia is a continuous structure from the head to the feet. Because of its continuous nature, tension can be applied over the entire system when the windlass winds, and it would appear beneficial for posture in two fashions; overall fascial tightening for improved postural support and that normal sagittal plane dorsiflexion is occurring at the 1st MTP joint allowing normal forward progression. It completely integrates with Grecovetsky’s spinal engine process, as the same tension-compression, support network is synergestic with an energy storage, energy return gait machine.
  9. If like me you had never heard of the spinal engine or Grecovetsky and want some light reading ( right) on the subject- A book The spinal engine - Grecovetsky

    and these PFD´s came up when I googled the spinal engine.

    Attached Files:

  10. I'm probably being grossly simplistic here but If I took a cadaver, stood it up, and dorsiflexed the big toe, it will still probably fall over. Or, better example, If I shot someone full of muscle relaxant and asked them to stand, the fascia / tensegrity won't hold them upright. When we use Botox to chill out a hypertonic Triceps surae group in a CP patient, the muscle relaxes and allows greater dorsiflexion, the fascia has not changed length, but the function has.

    I don't get it.
  11. Dananberg

    Dananberg Active Member

    By the same logic, if you removed their fascia, and the muscles still functioned (quite the hypothetical).....they would fall over as well.

    Think of the materials used to make a kite. The plastic covering, balsa wood, etc won't be stable enough to fly until a piece of string is added bowing the balsa wood and adding tension plastic covering and the system as a whole. It then becomes stable enough to fly as long as the tension remains continuous.

    As muscles press against fascia, they promote tension. It is the combination which allows for support and balance.

  12. leoneenan

    leoneenan Member

    The way I understand it is the fascia winding etc is as Janda explained is part of the sensorimotor system which is integral to the bodies ability to compensate for variances in locomotion of the body.
    Without the fascia the locomotor slings cannot work efficiently which is also the case when the muscles dont work as they should whether due to spasticity or whatever. Together however they can provide compensations to any discrepancies by changing local myofascial slings to change posture and thus how GRF acts on the body.

    Myers book is definitely worth a read for this alone
  13. efuller

    efuller MVP

    So the body is not a tensegrity structure because we do have continuous compression components. The leg bone is connected to the thigh bone....

  14. Dananberg

    Dananberg Active Member


    The last time I looked, the thigh and leg are separated by a joint at the knee, as are the hip and thigh, and ankle and foot. And, these bones would be loose and unstable without the accompanying soft tissues arranged as a continuous tension network.

  15. The body can't be a tensegrity structure since a true tensegrity structure does not have compression forces between its structural elements. The last time I checked, the hip, knee, ankle, subtalar, midtarsal joint and first metatarsophalangeal joint all had compression forces between their osseous structural elements.

    As soon as there are compression forces within the joints of the body, then the body becomes a non-tensegrity structure.

  16. [​IMG]

    This tent would also be loose and unstable without tension in the guy ropes. But without the compression in the poles it will still fall over. Not tensegrity.
  17. hamish dow

    hamish dow Active Member

    Interesting comments, I see what Robert is getting at but I think the primary mechanics are the shape of the fabric, the cut of the panels and the tension in the guy ropes. The loading into the poles is a by product of the weight and mass of the hanging structure. The poles give it balace the tension in the fabrics give it stability and flexibility. The adjustability of the tension allows for functional variability. Ther has to be some degree of movement or vibration but as with all structures finding the balance is key. Hard can be brittle and will not be able to cope with resonance leading to cracking in the structure and too soft has no structural integrity.
    That all said I have an observation:
    Take one human and have them stand up. Human has to be of general average type with observed function Hallux Rigidus. Observe from the subject in the saggital plane. Check the limitation. Now ask the subject to look straight ahead, and take a reasonably good breath in (as if they were going to call to somebody some distance away, or start singing) ask them to maintain this adjusted posture but be relaxed about it as it does not have to be over controlled. Ask them to lean forward slightly and the FHL should be more pronounced. Now ask them to carefully beginto adjust their body backwards slowly untin they are able to dorsiflex thir big toes. You might want to say lift their big toes up in case they have no idea what it means. What you should notice is that they now have moved their COM posteriorly to wher they had set themselves first, and crucially they will not have fallen over. Habitually most people are in a greater state of tone than they need to be, they have learned to walk and have succeeded in their own minds by just not falling over. They have developed gait patterns that utilise the prdictability of the continuously flat flooring we have created as a species for our convenience. As a consequence it suckers us into poor balace and muscle sequencing that increases eccentic load (particularly in the calf and flexors) which ultimately leads to the Post Tib being used excessively in this state. As we all know it is not ovely fond of that.
    Their are many walking actions that work but one has a sublime movement mechanism that smooths out impact and invokes balance and torque in the system. When observed it has a grace and flow that sets it apart. They are less likely to fall over when they stumble too.
    This gait requires loading and activtion of the suppporting leg and its stabilising gluteal mechanism, counter rotation of the trunk (creating a flywheel like action and tensioning the vertical structure) smooth saggital plane flow of the arms and swing phase leg, hte head held in a manner that encourages the subject to look ahead (maximising peripheral vision to scan the ground while walking, without dropping it to stare at the floor 4 feet in front of them. The worry about falling over is the problem as inanimate objects tend to stay that way but as any motorcyclist knows, target fixation is a killer. Stare at it...drive into it). The forward swinging arm aids propulsion the back swing offsets load in the oposite hip and the combination of the two assists in regulating the orbit of the COM The combination of it all creates and active, dynamic gait (as I like to call it). Using it on a flat surface and working off a shortened stride length, helps in increasing double weightedness (reducing impact by transitioning weight between the two feet rather than impact loading), improves ballance,
    activates and increased amount of muscles throughout the body and helps keep them healthy and onditioned. It also allows the foot to rotate effectively around the ankle complex because the transition of weight and mass are smoother and the speed at which it happes at is slower allowing for a more controlled activation of coordinated muscle sequencing. But critically by allowing the stance leg to reamin weighted during the transition load it allows the ankle to rotate into plantarflexionfor a longer period, combine that with a more vertical COM the 1st MPJ can hinge itself more effectively. An added benefit to all of this is better contraction into the Tricep Surae, the Tib Post being allowed to functiona s a stabiliser rather than a primary propulsive muscle, and also improved function of the calf muscle pump mechanism.
    Now just how deep is my hole?
  18. Dananberg

    Dananberg Active Member

    When trying to apply engineering principles to a biologic structure, there is going to be some distortion of the purest of these (engineering) principles to fit what is actually (biologically) present. That neither makes the body nor the principle incorrect. There is clearly a combination of tension/compression occurring in the human structure, and to my way of understanding, tensegrity-esque seems to make the most sense. I fully realize that we are not an absolute anything, so it is easy to find fault and be critical of any of these explanations. However, that does not render any of these "wrong", just that we have yet to develop a single method to describe the body's structural integration. Being able to poke a hole in one aspect does not make tension/compression any less valuable in helping to understand how the body functions. Recognizing the roll of the fascia as a broad based tension band does add to the discussion in a meaningful way, and this was the purpose of my comments.

    Kevin, I do appreciate your remarks about tension across joints negating the idea that the body could be a tensegrity structure. Many years ago, Steven Levin, an orthopedic surgeon introduced me to the tensegrity concept. He was intrigued by these principles when he realized that after a major knee trauma, once the ligaments of this joint were repaired, and then adequately tightened, the knee joint SEPARATED. He recognized that as tension was applied across the joint surface, the dynamics entirely changed. So, if one were to measure the tension across any joint, it must either be opened or somehow invaded....and this may change the ability to measure the tension influence across these surfaces. We certainly see this on x-ray...that spaces exist between joint surfaces in weight bearing attitudes. I am quite sure that there are other explanations for this phenomena....and I look forward to hearing them.

  19. Howard:

    Hope all is well with you and your family.

    I think the concept of tensegrity is important for the podiatrist and clinician to understand since I believe, as you do, that the mechanical interactions between tension and compression forces within the locomotor apparatus of the bipedal human is critical to allow normal gait function to occur. Is the body a "tensegrity structure" in the strict definition of "tensegrity"? No. By the strict definition of tensegrity, since there are compression forces between the osseous structural components at the joints of the body and there significant bending moments within these osseous structural components during weightbearing activities, the rules of tensegrity are violated within the structure of the human body.

    However, your term "tensegrity-esque" may be a better one that shows that the body isn't exactly a tensegrity structure but still allows the clinician to understand how important the mechanical interactions between the compression-bearing elements and tension-bearing elements are within the body.

    Certainly, we wouldn't have osteoarthritis (OA) developing in the knee joint as individuals age if compression forces didn't exist between the femur and tibia during weightbearing activities. However, without the tensile forces from the meniscal ligaments that restrain the medial and lateral meniscus in their proper positions within the knee joint during these weightbearing activities, knee joint OA would occur at a much earlier age in an individual.

    Therefore, the human body does rely on a remarkable balance between compression forces and tensile forces in order to accomplish its daily weightbearing tasks both smoothly and efficiently with little damage to its structural components. Is this tensegrity at work? No. But certainly the principles of tensegrity can be used to better understand how these balancing of compression and tension forces may occur in a harmonious fashion within the human body.:drinks
  20. Kelsey

    Kelsey Member

  21. hamish dow

    hamish dow Active Member

    Thanks for posting I had a look at your site. I like what you are doing.
  22. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    If this is the sort of thing anyone in the UK is into then this course in a couple of weeks may be of interest:

  23. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    Interesting looking conference program- note Dr Schleip that Kelsey mentions above is speaking...
  24. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I got the book (the new edition) and first impressions are not good. The page I flicked the book open at was a whole page on how the plantar fascia causes heel spurs to form! duh? Since when have heel spurs been in the plantar fascia? Someone needs to tell him to look at all the research on this:
    Is a calcaneal spur in the plantar fascia? (this research is really old so it puzzles me that claims like this still get made these days)

    There is plenty of other foot stuff that us just plain wrong - on the same page is a mention of the tripod (1st met, 5th, heel) .... the foot does not function as a tripod --- all the mets share in the load. Someone needs to show him that research as well.

    Hopefully the books picks up from there, but I do not know enough to judge the rest of the book, but if its anything like the foot stuff, then...

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