Dr. Sebastian Gonzales is a Certified Active Release Techniques (ART) Provider.
ART is a combination of examination and treatment. It involves evaluating the texture, tension, movement and function of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. ART treats soft-tissue injuries by moving muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments through a combination of motion and deep, targeted massage to release adhesions, smooth the movement of tissues, release entrapped nerves of blood vessels, and promote healing.
The purpose of my visit was two-fold. First, I wanted to get some treatment for my posterior tibial tendonitis. Second, I wanted to get some advice on my tight calves, quads, and hips.
Dr. Gonzales started the session off with some range of motion and strength analysis.
He recommended I do some exercises to strengthen my glutes. He explained it's difficult to say if my psoas are tight due to weak glutes, or if my glutes are weak because due to tight psoas. He showed me how to isolate my glutes with some butt lifts to help re-educate my neuromuscular system.
Some aspects of the ART manipulation were similar to experiences I've had with Rolfing but I definitely appreciated Dr. Gonzales' holistic approach.
In the past I've mentioned that my plantar fasciitis sometimes manifests itself as an intense, burning pain in my arches and I would have a hard time differentiating the plantar fascia pain from the posterior tibial tendon pain. When I explained this to Dr. Gonzales and I pointed out the different pain locations, he explained my arch pain is actually a result of a sore flexor hallucis brevis muscle.
He spent a great deal of time showing me how to differentiate between the plantar fasciitis, the posterior tibial tendonitis, and the flexor hallucis brevis pain. He said it's easy to get confused because the tendons of flexor hallucis brevis run along the bottom of the foot, under the head of the first metatarsal bone, and attach to the small bone of the big toe.
I have a high pain tolerance but I must admit that the ART hurt significantly more than a deep tissue massage. Surprisingly, my left calf was much worse than the right side. He said my left posterior tibial muscle was extremely tight. I had to focus intently on breathing in and out to endure the intense pain.
After all that, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to stand but my legs actually felt a lot better. He had me walk around a bit and I marveled at how my calves actually felt a little looser.
Next, Dr. Gonzales took me outside for a running gait analysis. He videotaped me running back and forth across the packing lot a few times.
It was both awkward and fascinating to observe the footage. My untrained eyes couldn't detect any abnormalities but Dr. Gonzales made the following observations (which immediately became glaringly apparent):
- I have some issues with my left gluteus medeus which are causing pelvic instability
- My spine rotation on the left side is restricted
- My knees cross
- My left arm hardly moves
He is going to have some more in depth analysis performed on my video and then he suggested I talk to my coach about techniques and ways I can correct these issues. In the meantime, he recommended I work on stregthening my glutes and do some exercises to improve my gluteus medeus stability.
I felt like my visit to Dr. Gonzales was really productive. I'm anxious to hear the additional feedback on the video.