Vastus lateralis. Closed chain internal rotator of the thigh. Stimulation of this point (ST34) improves gait in elderly individuals (who we assume have compromised mechanoreceptors in the muscles and joints). Think about incorporating this muscle into your rehab protocol, particularly in older folks. 

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Jan;92(1):7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.09.023.
Stimulation of acupoint ST-34 acutely improves gait performance in geriatric patients during rehabilitation: A randomized controlled trial.
Hauer K1, Wendt I, Schwenk M, Rohr C, Oster P, Greten J.

Study results showed that a 1-time administration of a specific acupoint stimulation regimen statistically significantly improved gait performance during geriatric ward rehabilitation. If sustainability of effects can be documented, acupuncture may prove to be an inexpensive intervention that may mildly improve motor performance in frail geriatric patients.”

Commentary on this topic copied from our social media:

  • Reader: The abstract doesn’t give much away. I suspect using the acupuncture technique DECREASED activity of the VL leading to a more balanced muscular response to gait…kinda like massaging out an overactive muscle – which I don’t like doing but people do…
  • The Gait Guys Could be. We like to think of it as it created homeostasis of the muscular system. The effects of inserting a needle are not just local but global.
  • Reader:Hmm. I am not sure there is evidence to support that statement.  Something changed. Homeostasis was not necessarily achieved. Their gait improved. For how long is unknown. Also, it is unlikely that the people applying the acupuncture were blinded so that is a source of bias. It is interesting for sure, but drawing conclusions is difficult.
  • The Gait Guys agreed. you bring up some good points. The folks doing the acupuncture were not blinded

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