Half Pigeon Yoga Pose

Half Pigeon Yoga Pose

• The pocket in the back of the knee is the popliteal fossa. Nerves, vessels, ligaments, and muscles cross through this area. First time pain during or after a run/walk is almost always caused by the largest muscle in the pocket, the upper gastrocnemius (the upper calf muscle). Injury to this muscle is discussed in the calf pain section. Sometimes there is confusion as to the site of the injury because it may seem to come from lower thigh muscles.

• A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled mass or lump that can appear in this pocket. This expansion from the knee joint sometimes protrudes into the upper gastrocnemius muscle. Internal knee irritation stimulates increased fluid inside the knee which is squeezed until it bulges backward into the fossa. The cyst can change in size from day to day.

• The inner margin of the popliteal fossa is formed by the medial (inner) hamstring tendon. Its job is to pull the lower leg back, or slow it down, as it straightens. It is heavily used during yoga and walking, and is vulnerable to soreness with increases in speed or distance.

• Injury to the inner side of the knee and into the upper front of the leg bone is usually caused by the pes anserinus tendon and bursa. Pes anserinus means “goose’s foot” in Greek due to the shape of its three toes that are muscle tendons joining together. The larger single tendon formed by the junction wraps around the front of the leg bone and assists in bending and controlling the straightening of the leg. Its unique job is to rotate the leg bone. When the lower leg bone is rotating outward during the last few degrees of extension, this muscle pulls it back. It will also assist when the knee is rolling to the inside, as noticed in those with “knock-knees.” A bursa is a fluid-filled sac of connective tissue that protects a tendon from rubbing excessively on a bone. If the pes anserinus experiences more rubbing that it can handle, it can damage the bursa that lies beneath it. This increases the fluid in the bursa, causing it to thicken, resulting in a painful condition called bursitis.

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• The upper gastrocnemius muscle in the popliteal fossa is injured by excess stretching. Overzealous calf muscle stretching is the most common cause. yoga on a surface that is too soft, or allowing the knee to straighten or become “locked” can aggravate it. Fast uphill walking, overstriding, and cycling can be causes.

• Baker’s cysts within the fossa are caused by internal knee irritation. Sometimes this is due to irritation from a mileage or speed increase. Arthritis and meniscus tears can also be a cause.

• Medial hamstring tendon pain is caused by the same mechanisms as upper gastrocnemius pain, except calf stretching is not a cause.

• Pes anserinus pain is triggered by over extension of the leg, often due to overstriding and yoga faster. Excessive pronation and supination are strong contributors.

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