Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Working Out When You’re Sore: The Dos & Don’ts of DOMS

Picture this: you finish a workout and the endorphins are kicking in, helping you feel great and energized. But the next day, your body is tired and you’re having trouble even lifting your arms over your head. You had planned to work out that day, but now you find yourself wondering, should I work out when I’m sore? The answer isn’t as straightforward as “yes” or “no”, but if you pay attention to the signs your body is sending you, you’ll be able to tell whether or not you should be hitting the gym.

To help you and your body stay healthy and happy, we’ve put together some general guidelines on when it is and isn’t okay to work out when it comes to muscle soreness.
What is DOMS?
To decide whether or not you should work out, you first need to focus in on the pain you’re experiencing. DOMS is short for delayed onset muscle soreness, and it’s the reaction your muscles have after an intense workout. These feelings of pain usually occur a day after you work out and can last anywhere between 24 hours to a week. These aches are a result of micro-tears in your muscles, and they can make daily activities like walking and lifting your arms suddenly become a struggle. DOMS can range in intensity from mild to severe—so severe that people sometimes struggle to walk or get out of their chairs. This is why it’s sometimes difficult to know whether you’re just sore or if you’ve actually injured yourself.

Injury vs. DOMS
Luckily, there are a few significant differences between DOMS and injury. The biggest difference is the pain level. You might convince yourself that you’re injured when getting up out of your chair is a struggle, but that’s nothing compared to the searing pain of a real injury. Your pain will come instantly and won’t decrease over time, no matter how much you stretch your limbs. Lastly, it won’t go away after a few days, but will last until you either seek medical attention or it heals on its own.

If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of a real injury, contact your doctor so they can take a look. When it comes to your body, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Should you work out?
Once you’ve realized that what you’re feeling is just intense soreness, you’ll have to decide whether or not to work out. Some doctors recommend that if you feel any soreness, you should wait until it’s completely gone to start working out again. However, recent studies have found that it’s actually better to engage your muscles when they’re feeling sore. Exercising increases oxygen flow to the muscles, and in turn can help make your muscles feel better.

You probably won’t max out in reps, but you can still get a decent workout in. To help make sure you don’t push yourself too hard, use a sleeve or other support that helps compress your muscles and prevent tearing, such as the new, innovative Body Glove Performance Knee Sleeves. Your joints will be protected and supported, allowing you to push through the soreness and rock your workout!

The most important thing out of all of this is to listen to your body. If you feel too sore to work out, then take it easy for a couple of days. If you think you could benefit from light exercise, then go for it. If you start feeling fatigued, you can always stop and try again tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Offseason: Avoiding Injuries and Staying Healthy

For some athletes, the beginning of offseason is a welcomed relaxation period to destress and unwind. And for many, offseason training begins right away. Although it is extremely important to maintain a healthy exercise regimen during this period, it is also wise to do everything you can to avoid an injury. An offseason injury can severely affect your ability to perform once your normal workouts start back up again. Many athletes get injured when they push themselves too hard, use improper techniques, do too much of the same exercise or neglect rest and recovery time. Be smart during the offseason with our tips below.

Don’t forget to work your core in the offseason. This includes your glutes, lower back and deep abdominals too. Your core is the foundation of your movement and if these areas are out of sync, the rest of your body will be as well. The core acts as the central energy transfer in your entire body, so not keeping it strong and in shape during the offseason can lead to injury and exhaustion when you return.

Focus on low-impact core exercises during the offseason to minimize joint damage.

Another helpful tip is to focus on exercises that are not a part of your usual in-season routine. If you lift heavy weights, focus on conditioning and cardio during the offseason with less emphasis on weights. If your in-season consists of mainly cardio, consider doing more strength training and lighten up on the running. This will help you train the parts of your body you don’t normally work during the season to stabilize and strengthen those areas. Also, consider moving away from the machines and using free weights and body resistance. Machines are great for exercising, but they only allow for resistance along a set path of motion. Exercises like squats, lunges and presses will lead to a greater transfer of strength.

Remember that your diet is as important as your exercise during the offseason, if not more so. Don’t continue to eat as though you are in-season and burning thousands of calories a day. It may take a while for your body to adjust to a new normal, but not doing so will lead to fat gain and over-consumption. Avoid using energy bars and sports drinks as meal replacements. These are filled with calories that are great for in-season workouts, but will be counterproductive while you’re off. With an increased amount of time on your hands, you have a perfect opportunity to practice preparing non-packaged, non-processed foods. Get into this habit early on and incorporate it into your future routine too. Mix up your diet with healthy alternatives. Try simple swaps like quinoa for brown rice, fish for chicken breast and kale for spinach.

Advance meal planning can help keep you from making unhealthy choices on the fly.

The most common injuries during this period are “overuse injuries” such as muscle strains and tendonitis. These can result from not resting and recovering after visits to the gym or from going to the gym too often. Rest is one of the best preventative techniques to avoid offseason injuries. Ask yourself if you’ve had enough recovery time between the end of your season and the beginning of your offseason workouts. This is the perfect time to allow any pains or issues you dealt with during the season to heal, so take advantage of it. As a rule of thumb, you should rest for about two weeks. Consider a brace or compression sock as well to aid in support and recovery. If your offseason is the start of a long period without weightlifting, start low and work your way up when you return to your normal routine. The combination of forgotten lifting techniques and recent body changes in the offseason may put too much strain on your body and lead to an injury. Go slow and work your way up to where you once were.

Finally, and most importantly, watch your form! You should always be cautious and use proper lifting techniques. While in offseason, athletes have a tendency to forget or become less concerned with their lifting and running form. A careless technique will almost always result in injury. Be smart, be aware and be active. Take these tips and head into your offseason with safety and confidence!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sports Medicine Q&A with Houston Methodist’s Dr. Scott Rand

houston methodist dr rand
Dr. Scott Rand
We thought it would be interesting to get a perspective on sports injuries from the other side of the table. We are excited to share with you a question and answer session we had with Scott Rand, M.D., a Houston-area sports medicine doctor within Houston Methodist hospital system’s Orthopedics & Sports Medicine clinic.

What led you to a career in sports medicine?
I played sports in high school, but was not really an athlete. During college and medical school, sports and exercise were just not part of what I did, but when I joined the Navy for my residency, I became attached to an active population of people. My residency was basically taking care of healthy people who hurt themselves, so the move to sports medicine was a natural fit. I enjoy taking care of people who take responsibility for their health and want to make themselves better.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about sports injuries?
Most of us think of sports injuries as the things that make the highlight reel for ESPN. Many more training days and competition days are missed because of overuse injuries and medical illnesses.

Injuries to the knee, especially the ligaments, seem to be incredibly prominent these days. Do you think this is the result of poor conditioning, tougher play, better medical care to diagnose a knee injury properly, or something else?
I don’t think knee injuries are that much more common now than they were 20 years ago. Since we have better technology and techniques for treating these injuries, they get more attention. Athletes are certainly bigger and stronger now, but I think the increased awareness comes from a larger number of athletes participating and a greater awareness because of the treatments we now have to treat these injuries, both surgically and non-surgically.

What is the most common sports-related injury you encounter in your work?
Right now, concussions are Number 1. We see athletes of all ages for all kinds of problems. During football and club soccer season, concussions are our leading injury. Injuries happen in collision sports. That is a given. Many positive things also come from participation, however, so I think that overall the benefits outweigh the risks.

What is the most common thing you see athletes do incorrectly when rehabbing from an injury?
Easy. Too much, too fast, too soon. We are always in search of the magic bullet or high tech procedure that will allow quicker return to play. Getting back on the field is the most important thing and anything that will speed that along is the right thing to do. That is a lie and is probably what is the most dangerous thing for athletes to look for.

When is surgery the wrong route to take for recovery from an injury?
When pain is the major factor. Orthopedic surgery can restore function pretty well, but when the driving issue is pain, surgery is often not the best solution. Pain may not go away, even if function improves.

Do you think physical therapy is being utilized by patients as much as it should?
Physical therapy has huge benefits for people, but unfortunately the outcome-based and evidence-based studies have not borne it out. Physical therapy fails when patients are not compliant with the exercise plan put forth by the physical therapist. PT that doesn’t make you sweat or cry wasn’t worth going to.

In your opinion, what is one of the biggest changes to sports medicine in the last few years?
The therapeutic modality that is getting the most attention right now is regenerative medicine. The promise of healing with your own tissue by simply injecting platelet-rich plasma or bone marrow or fat cell derived stem cells is very exciting. Right now the science is equivocal, but the potential for amazing things is there and will hopefully be made readily available.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in sports medicine?
Taking care of people who have to be held back rather than pushed off the couch. Watching an athlete recover from a devastating acute or chronic injury and return to compete at a higher level than they ever could before.

If you could impart any words of wisdom on young coaches or athletes, what would they be?
Be alert and cognizant when something looks or feels wrong. Then stop. It sounds simple, but personal health is so often overlooked for the sake of the win. When it comes to your overall health, you’re in a marathon, not a sprint.

Dr. Rand is a graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, and is a board certified physician of family medicine with a certificate of added qualification in sports medicine (CAQSM). He is the director of the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship program at Houston Methodist Willowbrook, one of only 111 accredited programs in the country. Additionally, he is the medical director of the Houston Methodist Human Performance Lab. His practice maintains a focus around overall medical care, concussion management, and non-operative orthopedic care of athletes and active people of all ages. Dr. Rand co-chairs an education testing subcommittee within the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, guest speaks regularly, is a co-author and editor of the AMSSM’s Sports Medicine CAQ Study Guide, and is an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Rand regularly serves as a consulting team physician for Houston-area high schools, club sports, running groups, and Rice University.

Friday, October 3, 2014

ACL Injuries in the NFL

ACL injuries seem to be so prevalent in professional sports these days. How prevalent are they? Take a look at this infographic we put together on ACL injuries in the NFL, and remember to take care of your body when you're playing sports!

acl injuries in the nfl

Saturday, September 27, 2014

DonJoy Defiance vs. Reaction

After a knee injury, it can be difficult to know which type of brace is best for your recovery. One built for ligaments won’t function the same as one built to prevent dislocations, for example. Today we’d like to compare and contrast two of DonJoy’s more popular models: the Defiance and Reaction knee braces.

The Defiance is unofficially known as the flagship brace of DonJoy. Its patented leverage system and lightweight, high-tech design make it the go-to brace for any sort of ligament instabilities. ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL. You name a ligament, the Defiance will handle it. While the Defiance may be lightweight, it is no slouch when it comes to durability and stability. Its carbon-composite build makes it perfect for high-impact sports like rugby, snow sports or football when protection is an absolute must. It’s also available with the LoPro FourcePoint Hinge, the only hinge clinically-proven to protect the ACL. It does all this with a low-profile design to keep it out of your way and under clothing or uniforms.

The Reaction, on the other hand, was designed for kneecap stability and anterior knee pain reduction. The brace’s elastomeric web design helps absorb pressure that would normally be felt on the patella and disperse it throughout the rest of your knee. It’s a fantastic brace if you have arthritis or tendonitis problems that could use the helping hand. The brace’s open web design and mesh backing lets your knee breathe comfortably unlike traditional elastic designs.

The chart below summarizes the main differences between the Reaction and the Defiance.

Reaction Defiance
Built For Tendonitis, Arthritis, Knee Cap Dislocation and Stability Ligament protection (ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL)
Durability Velcro can be known to wear out due to continued use Perfect for high-impact sports
Design Elastomeric webbing to disperse pain Lightweight carbon-composite frame
Misc 6-month warranty Custom built, lifetime warranty on hinges and frames

We pride ourselves on carrying the best and most varied selection of knee braces for pre- and post-op conditions, but your condition might not fit one of these two braces. Always be sure to consult a medical professional to find out what sort of support your knee needs to help you stay healthy and active!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five Durable Players to Pick up in Your NFL Fantasy League

The NFL season is in full swing and with it the ever-competitive and intriguing fantasy football season. Whether playing for bragging rights with your friends or with a pool of anonymous players for a cash prize, it’s the ultimate chance to test your knowledge of statistics and roll the dice. We’re just a few short weeks into the season and we’ve already seen players go down with season-ending or season-shortening injuries. Here are a few players we’d recommend you pick up on the waiver wire or trade for if your roster has already been decimated by injuries.
  1. Philip Rivers – The San Diego QB has been consistent throughout his entire career, averaging around 30 touchdown passes, 4,200+ passing yards, and a yearly QB rating hovering around 100. The rest of the Chargers’ 2014 season will be highlighted by tough road games, but Rivers’ poise against Seattle’s menacing secondary has to be encouraging for any fantasy league player.

  2. Kirk Cousins – OK, OK, he came into the game for Robert Griffin III against a lowly Jacksonville Jaguars team and torched them (as expected) but he’s now going to be THE guy moving forward for Washington the rest of the year. Washington’s schedule won’t be easy this year, but with games against questionable NFC West, NFC South and AFC South opponents, they could eek their way into the wild card conversation. Cousins has looked good in spot starts, has a high football IQ, and when given time to throw, completes close to 70% of his passes. He also fits well into Jay Gruden’s offensive scheme. You just might want to sit him against Seattle :)

  3. Darren Sproles – You probably drafted his Philadelphia counterpart, LeSean McCoy. You had plenty of reason to do so! With Sproles’ undeniable speed and ability to accelerate in open space, he’s a threat in both the passing and running game. He’s missed only a handful of games over his career and rushes for an average of 5.1 yards per carry. His catches average 9.1 yards, and if history tells us anything, then he’ll average around 65-70 catches this year coming out of the Eagles backfield. Oh, he’s also only fumbled the ball THREE TIMES in his entire career. He’ll carve up defenses like St. Louis, New York, Tennessee, Washington, and Dallas, making you look like a genius for picking him up. 

  4. Jordy Nelson – We’re not sure why anyone would pass on Green Bay’s new “it” guy, but in case you did, here’s a reminder that you made a mistake. After spending the first six seasons of his career in the shadow of household Packer names like Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and James Jones, Nelson has emerged to become the favorite target for QB Aaron Rodgers. Having only missed a small handful of games over his career, Nelson has become an architect of the sideline catch, creating height and separation from his defenders where other receivers might not be able to find it. He averages over 15 yards per catch and has only fumbled once in his career. The Packers may be trying to diversify their offense with Eddie Lacy and James Starks running the ball, but you don’t leash an arm like Rodgers’ when you have it. Nelson will carve up the secondaries of Minnesota, Miami, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay just to name a few.

  5. Steve Smith – The veteran, long-time-Panther-now-Raven looked like a man possessed this past week against Pittsburgh. He’s missed just a few games over the course of his career and averages over 14.5 yards per catch. With Jacoby Jones as Joe Flacco’s primary target and Baltimore’s tendency to rely on the short passing game, expect Steve Smith to be the receiver left overlooked by the defense. Baltimore’s journey this year won’t be an easy one in the always-tough AFC North, but games against the NFC and AFC South with less-than-stellar secondaries will give him a chance to shine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Product Spotlight: Donjoy Velocity Ankle Brace

DonJoy's Velocity Ankle Brace, available in three different support levels, is the most useful brace for men and women at risk for injury-prone ankles. These braces are also ideal for those who have already experienced an ankle injury and are on the mend, and especially for those involved in athletics or high-impact activities who want to be proactive in preventing potential injuries.

These Velocity Ankle Braces are so popular because they're not only functional but also very comfortable to wear. They feature a plastic shell that's both lightweight and heat moldable, giving each user a semi-customizable fit. The semi-rigid plastic that makes up the foot plate and lateral uprights provides protection against impact, such as being kicked during sports like soccer, football or rugby.

DonJoy offers three styles of the Velocity Ankle Brace:

Light Support (LS) is the standard configuration capable of providing the foundation required for prevention of ankle injury and treatment for those recovering from previous injuries. This is a bilaterally hinged brace with correct anatomical design that allows for unrestricted foot movement while guarding against unnatural ankle rotation that's the cause of most ankle sprains. Compression of the ankle to prevent swelling is provided by special R3 (Rapid, Rigid, Ratcheting) Technology™ incorporated into the calf cuff. Lightweight and low profile, this brace is designed to comfortably fit into the user's shoe. It can also be trimmed to accommodate the use of orthotics, if necessary.

The Medium Support (MS) Velocity Ankle Brace starts with the basic LS Brace and adds a soft, speed wrap that creates additional compression to the medial and lateral malleolus bones, which are the bony protrusions coming out of the sides of each ankle. This helps control inflammation and provides more support for those needing it, especially those recovering from past ankle injury.

The Extra Support (ES) Velocity Ankle Brace takes the MS model and adds one additional speed wrap with laces for compression around the foot. The ES is the most popular choice of Velocity braces and is ideal for those suffering from chronic ankle problems, those rehabilitating from a past injury, and for athletes engaging in any type of sports activity where cutting or pivoting maneuvers are common.

Sizing Specifications

DonJoy Velocity Braces are appropriate for use by either men or women and come in black or white. They're available in three sizes (S-M-L), in two calf sizes (standard and wide), and can be ordered for either the left or right foot.
  • Small – men's shoe size 8 & under, women's 9-1/2 and under
  • Medium – men's 8-12, women's 9.5-13.5
  • Large – men's 12 & up, women's 13.5 & up

Friday, September 12, 2014

Get Back Pain Relief with the Aspen Horizon 631 LSO

aspen horizon 631 hso back brace
A popular choice from Aspen Horizon, the 631 LSO back brace can provide relief to those who suffer from acute or chronic low back pain. It’s low-profile and ergonomic design allows you to comfortably wear the brace under your clothing. 

Its adjustable sizing fits a variety of people, from those with a 24 inch waist all the way up to a 54 inch waist. With the addition of extension panels, the sizing accommodates even larger waists- up to 70 inches. Simply tighten or loosen until the brace comfortably fits your body. Its construction prevents the back panel from bunching up, allowing for a snug but flexible fit.

With tri-band technology, this brace provides stability while allowing for effective compression and flexibility of the body. As with all other Horizon braces, the Horizon 631 LSO can be reconfigured to act as a Horizon PRO brace, allowing for continual treatment of recurring back discomfort. Lateral panels are included in this full back support brace to provide support on the sides of the spine if needed.

Wearing this brace is easy and can be put on relatively quickly. Wrap it around your abdomen, overlapping the right side of the brace over the left in the front. Pull on the dual lacers to adjust compression levels as needed- the left for lower compression and the right for upper compression. Once the optimal levels of compression have been reached, secure the tabs to the front of the brace.

Constructed of breathable mesh fabric, this back brace is easy to clean, and it should be cleaned regularly. Simply hand wash in cold water with a mild soap, rinse, and allow it to air dry before it is worn again.

The 631 LSO back brace is a great option for post-op patients, as it’s able to provide several configurations to assist with the recovery process. If you or any of your patients are looking for a spine brace to assist with rapid recovery, this is it. MMAR Medical carries a variety of spinal back braces to assist with your back pain relief regimen. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

How to Properly Fit Youth Football Shoulder Pads

How to Fit Youth Football Pads

With the end of August comes the beginning of fall and a new season of sports, one of the most popular being football. Whether you’re a parent getting your child equipped for their first time on the gridiron or a coach strapping the pads on your varsity squad, making sure your athlete's pads fit properly makes for not only a comfortable game but a safe one as well. Improperly fitted equipment can lead to injuries, so consider the following steps on how to properly fit those youth football shoulder pads before the games begin. To make the measurements easy, grab a tailor’s tape measure.
  1. Measure your player’s chest at its broadest. Across the pectoral muscles where a shirt would fit tightest will give you the most accurate measurement. 
  2. Measure shoulder width. This is done by measuring across the back from tip to tip. Begin and stop your measurement where the AC joints begin. That’s where the shoulder pads need to naturally drape to protect joints.
  3. Weigh the player. Several shoulder pads are built to accommodate different sizes of players, so an accurate weight measurement is important. 
Now that you have some physical measurements, it’s time to try on the pads that match those measurements.
  1. Once everything is strapped in place, the pads should fit comfortably tight against the chest and back with minimal extra padding coming off the shoulders. The player shouldn’t feel buried within the pads.
  2. Make sure the upper chest and the top of the back are completely covered at all times by moving around in the pads. Raise the player's arms up. Shift around. Have them do all the normal movements he or she would do in a football game.
  3. Comfortable? Everything in place? Time to order those pads. If not, repeat necessary steps to find pads that fit the player properly. 
There you have it! Well-fitting pads will keep your youth football stars comfortable and safe from injury. We recommend pads and accessories from Douglas for durability and fit. Do you have any tips that work for you when fitting shoulder pads? Sound off in the comments below and let us know about them!

Best Ankle Braces for Basketball Players

Among foot and knee injuries, ankle damage is also an extremely common occurrence for basketball players. Their constant movement of running, sudden stopping, and cutting and jumping puts a high volume of stress on the ankles. Picture this:  a player goes in and jumps for a rebound and he lands in the crowd of players anticipating him at the bottom. The problem awaiting is that it’s so easy for him to heavily land on someone else’s shoe, which can cause his ankle to twist or roll too far inward or outward.

If this has ever happened to you, what you are experiencing are your ankle’s ligaments being stretched and torn – otherwise known as a sprain. Depending on the magnitude of your injury, these ligaments may partly or completely tear. Treating a sprain includes a short duration of complete immobilization and oftentimes using a supporting device, like an ankle brace, in order for the ligaments to heal correctly. Ankle braces reduce the amount of stress placed on your ankle and allows you to get back in the game much quicker. Without proper recovery, these injuries are easily prone to re-injury.

Read below to see our favorite ankle braces for basketball players:

To Recover From a Sprained Ankle

For basketball players who are suffering from a general ankle sprain and slowly transitioning back into physical activity, the M-Brace Mercurio Ankle Lock #15 is the ideal ankle brace. With its figure eight, cross strap, the brace provides mild to light, medial and lateral compression and support for moderate injuries. Its breathable, 100% cotton velour construction thoroughly ventilates the ankle and foot. And more like a wrap than a brace, it fits and feels similar to a sock, which makes it incredibly comfortable to wear on a daily basis for someone who is in the process of rehabilitating.

To Support Acute/Severe Ankle Injuries

When it comes to treating and preventing acute ankle injuries, the DonJoy RocketSoc Ankle Support Brace is a sure bet. Since it’s important to keep your ligaments still/stabilized and in place after acute sprains, the RocketSoc’s lace-up and strap secure your ankle in a sturdy, yet natural, position. Don’t be fooled by its modest design! As light as it is, you’ll be surprised to see that it provides the maximum amount of support you may need. The straps tightly fasten around your ankle while still allowing you complete range of motion.

To Support Chronic Ankle Injuries

The McDavid Ankle Brace w/ Straps provides maximum support for people who suffer from chronic ankle sprains or instability. Research has shown that the McDavid ankle brace reduces the chance of injury by 3x. Its figure-6 strap design, single-layer nylon construction, adjustable laces, ventilated tongue and paddled lining are just a few of the ways this brace protects your ankle from medial or lateral vulnerability. Don’t let chronic injuries stop you from living a full and active life. This McDavid ankle brace is just one of the few ankle braces for sprained ankles that can support you and keep you moving at the same time throughout your life and athletic career.

To Prevent Further Injury

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, an ankle brace should prevent you from further injuries. The Active Innovation T2 Ankle Stirrup is a hinged, U-shaped ankle brace that subdues heavy pressure on your ankle joint and protects your ankle from the harmful inversion and eversion movement (rolling inward and outward) often seen in basketball. The bilateral hinge stabilizes the ankle while still allowing freedom of movement. And the best part about this ankle brace is its ability to mold to the shape and contour of the user’s ankle, promoting comfortable and seamless movement on and off the court.

If these braces aren’t quite your cup of tea, visit our Ankle Braces for Basketball page. At MMARMedical, we take care of the hard part for you by researching and selecting the best ankle braces for your specific situation. Browse and find what you’re looking for today.