Thursday, June 08, 2006

New Muscle of the Week

About ten years ago when I tried running in a fairly unorganized fashion. I just went out my front door and sprinted up the nearest hill until I couldn't run any more. At the time, it was to burn off anger over a bad break-up. I did it for about a month and then I quit, because I wasn't angry any more.

At one point during that time, I was alarmed to find a rather large swelling behind my knee. Oh, my God, I thought. What is that--some kind of tumor? I reached behind the other knee to get a comparative frame of reference, and was alarmed to feel an identical swelling behind that knee.

Finally, it dawned on me that this was, indeed a muscle, to be precise my hamstring; whose function before this point in time was to sit meakly behind me and provide ancillary cushioning for sitting.

As I said, that was ten years ago, but I've started having that same experience again since I started running, swimming, and cycling last year. Of course, Husband, ever practical, likes to point out, "they aren't new muscles; they've always been there. It's just that now you can feel them." This, however, does not dimish my happy excitement when I accidentally see or feel a "new muscle."

Which brings me to my new muscle of the month. This morning as I was shaking my moisurizer down to the end of the tube, I glanced in the mirror and saw a muscle heretofore unnoticed on my forearm. Science geek that I am, I had to look it up, and found that it is the Flexor carpi ulnaris. Apparenly, gripping aerobars and brake levers and whatnot have developed it.

It's primary function, along with the flexor carpi radialis, is to stabilize the elbow against valgus torque (An abnormal position where the elbow is twisted away from the midline of the body) The flexor carpi ulnaris is the primary stabilizer, with the flexor digitorum superficialis is a secondary stabilizer.

Thus I share with you, this science moment. Just because I'm off for the summer doesn't mean I can't teach, and it doesn't say "GEEKGRL" on my license plate for nothin'.


  1. I like your use of scientific terminology! "Ancillary cushioning". I have a lot of that! I'll have to remember that one when I'm geeking out!

    Blogger is sucking badly today, to use the vernacular. I hope I don't end up leaving this comment eleventeen times.

  2. It's been sucking for a couple of days now! I had the hardest time getting pictures uploaded earlier this week, and then it was down all yesterday afternoon for maintanance, but now it seems to be working pretty well.

  3. yes, I've had a crap time of Blogger too. My post today got published like eleventeen times. It sucketh!

    I have one of those little mooscley things for the same reasons! Thanks for the info!


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I'm sitting here, looking out the window.  I did 3 miles this morning.  Big whoop.  After recovering from CDiff last month, I got a cold...