Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Why You May Need a Wrist or Hand Brace

We use our hands and wrists countless times a day. Practically everything we do involves these important appendages - and we don’t usually give it much thought. That is, until we start to feel discomfort or even pain. Then, we suddenly realize how critical our hands and wrists are and the issues that arise when we’re not able to use them as usual.

If you experience wrist or hand pain or you are at risk for it, you may want to consider investing in a brace to support your daily activities (and to prevent any pain from getting worse). The following are common activities that often lead to wrist or hand problems:

Computer Work

It’s no secret: Typing on a keyboard all day isn’t great for our wrists or hands… or our bodies in general, for that matter. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common effect of this repeated motion, but there are other conditions it can lead to as well, such as Repetitive Strain Injury. In today’s world, a growing number of us are plopped in front of a screen all day. Even while away from our desks, the increasing use of mobile devices also harms our joints as we try to carry on with the day’s activities and juggle our phones, sending that quick text or scrolling through our feeds.


Similar to the repetitive motion of typing at a computer, video gamers are also prime candidates for hand and wrist ailments. While gaming may be your means to unwind, your hands are working hard to get you to the next level - and you may be paying a high cost for it.

Athletic Activities

While many sports don’t require the use of hands or wrists, there are also many that do - and repeated exposure to that same movement can lead to serious issues. For instance, swinging a tennis racket or a golf club (a full game of golf has upwards of 80 swings - if you’re lucky - plus, all your practice shots). You’ve probably heard of the condition “tennis elbow,” but that constant swinging motion can lead to problems for hands and wrists, too. Even the downward dogs and planks of yoga can strain the wrists.


In what seems like a backlash to society’s increasing screen time, there is a rising popularity in creating things by hand. Whether it’s baking a loaf of bread or building a piece of furniture, the desire to create something physical is rising - and is a welcome respite from hours by the computer. But if your craft involves repeated motions with your hands and wrists (and is something you partake in frequently) you could be at risk for developing hand or wrist problems, too.

What To Do

Now that you know what to look out for, you’re probably wondering what can be done to alleviate the risks of hand or wrist injury - or the symptoms if you’ve already got issues. You’ll want to take frequent breaks from whatever activity puts you at risk. If you work poised by a computer, stand up every 25 minutes and do a few wrist rolls. If you spend hours gaming each evening, walk around the room between levels and wiggle your fingers.

If you are already experiencing symptoms - or perhaps have been injured previously - a wrist or hand brace is probably a worthwhile investment. You’ll want to select one that applies gentle compression without preventing movement. There are a number of high-quality options out there, such as MMAR Medical’s selection here, whether you’re looking for the best wrist support for general use or something more specific. Do you have hand or wrist problems? If you like, feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments below so we can learn from each other.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a medical condition that affects millions of people in the United States. This common condition is characterized by swelling in the extremities - such as the arms and legs - due to a buildup of lymph fluid. This buildup means the lymphatic system is not performing the way that it should be. This can get dangerous because the lymphatic system is responsible for ridding the body of toxins as well as transporting the lymph fluid that carries disease-fighting white blood cells throughout the body.

Whether you are suffering from lymphedema or simply want to learn more, here are some things you need to know to help understand and treat this condition.

What Causes Lymphedema?

While there are many things that can cause lymphedema, the most common is cancer treatment that requires removing the lymph nodes. Without lymph nodes to properly drain lymph fluids, the fatty tissues under the skin become more susceptible to fluid buildup. However, any damage or blockage in the lymph system will increase the risk of getting lymphedema.

Other common causes:
  • Hereditary absence of lymph nodes or vessels
  • Cancer treatment or radiation therapy that scars tissue
  • Other infections

Lymphedema Treatments

Although there is no complete cure, there are various ways that you can prevent and treat the symptoms of lymphedema. Since lymphedema is caused by the restricted flow of the lymph fluid, treatments include exercises and compression tactics that will help regulate better flow and reduce swelling.

Compression for Lymphedema

Depending on where the lymphedema is located, compression garments are a great way to regulate the flow of the lymph fluid. For mild lymphedema and early stages, compression sleeves are usually recommended for beginning treatments.

Not only can compression sleeves be worn anywhere, but they’re also engineered to direct the fluid to its natural flow. Because these sleeves are made with a gradient pressure technique (more pressure on one side and slowly lessening pressure toward the other), it forces the flow of the fluid in a certain direction.

Types of compression garments:

Since lymphedema is usually concentrated in specific parts of the body, compression sleeves are great for daily treatment because they are able to target that specific area. However, it’s important to verify with your doctor the type, size and pressure of the compression garment you want to try. Depending on your specific condition, doctors often recommend getting both a daytime and a nighttime garment for varying pressures.

Exercises for Lymphedema

Not only is exercise important for overall daily health, but it’s also helpful to do certain exercises to better regulate the flow of lymph fluid. Doing daily exercises encourages constant movement, deep breathing and weight loss, which will get the lymph fluids moving. Although it is best to work with a physical therapist to cater the exercises to your specific condition, the most helpful types of exercises are those that involve the following:

  • Stretching and increasing flexibility
  • Cardio or any aerobic exercises (require heavy breathing)
  • Improving muscle strength (weight & strength training)

Massages for Lympedema

In addition to exercise, massage can be a great way to target specific swelling points. However, it’s important that you ask your healthcare provider what the proper technique for your condition may be. Massage can help encourage the direction of flow as well as loosen any blockage.

Whether lymphedema directly affects you or not, familiarizing yourself with the effects of the condition is always a good thing to do. Have any exercises that have worked wonders for you? Share your experiences below!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Six Best Exercises for Foot Drop

Foot drop is a condition that is caused by one of several different disorders. People who suffer from this condition have gait abnormalities because the forefront of their foot drops while they are walking. The condition may be temporary or permanent. Whether it affects one or both of your feet, drop foot often causes the front part of the foot to drag when walking. Treatment for foot drop varies depending on the cause of the condition. In addition to available medical treatments, there are several foot drop exercises that can help to strengthen the affected foot.

Treatment for foot drop

To diagnose the condition that is causing the foot drop, doctors may use diagnostic imaging tests. After a proper diagnosis and prescribed course of treatment, the following steps may be recommended:

  • A splint or brace to help give a more normal gait
  • Ankle-foot orthosis
  • Surgery on the peroneal nerve
  • Vitamin B6 therapy or nerve medications
  • Physical therapy

It’s important to openly communicate with your doctor about the course of treatment that may be best for you, and be certain to follow all of the recommendations that you are given.

Exercises for foot drop

Before starting exercises for foot drop, be sure to obtain permission from your doctor. These exercises will help to strengthen the foot muscles that are involved in lifting the front portion of the foot.

1. Cycling

The movements that your foot makes when riding a bicycle involve the muscles used to lift the front part of your foot. There are various options to strengthen these muscles:

  • lie on your back and make cycling movements in the air, 
  • ride a stationary bike or 
  • ride a real bicycle. 

All of these exercises can help to strengthen the muscles that control basic functions of the foot’s movement.

2. Calf Raises

This exercise helps to strengthen both the muscles in the feet as well as the calf muscles. To perform this exercise, stand up straight on a flat, supportive surface. Raise your body up on your toes and lower it back down again. Repeat this exercise for one set of 20 calf raises to start; then build up to completing two sets.

3. Foot Stretches

Foot stretches help to strengthen the muscles that surround the front of your foot. To do this exercise, sit on the floor or on a yoga mat with your leg stretched out in front of you. With a long towel, loop it around your affected foot and pull the top part toward you while keeping your leg straight. Hold for five seconds and then relax your foot. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

4. Toe Flexes

To perform toe flexes, sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight out in front of you. Place your hands on the floor on either side to provide you with some support, and raise one leg. While your foot is slightly off the ground, bend it towards your body. Hold this position for five seconds before relaxing. Repeat this exercise 10 times per leg.

5. Toe Curls

Sit in a chair that has arms on it and brace yourself by holding onto the arms. With your knees straight, raise your legs straight out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor. Point your toes toward your body and hold the position for five seconds. Repeat the toe curls 10 times per set, completing two sets of the exercise.

6. Toe Grabs

Place a small ball or towel in front of your chair, and sit in the chair. While you are seated, take your barefoot and try to grab the ball or towel with your toes. Try to lift the object as high as your knees if you are able to do so. Do two sets of 10 repetitions each of this exercise.

Foot drop can be caused by a number of different conditions and may affect your ability to walk properly. If you think you might have foot drop, make an appointment to see your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment. Ask your doctor if it is okay for you to perform these simple exercises at home. If you are given permission by your doctor, these exercises will help to strengthen your muscles so you might be able to walk more normally.

Do you have foot drop? Are there any foot drop treatment exercises that have helped you? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Choosing the Right Insole for Your Foot

Foot pain can be caused by a wide range of issues, from running a marathon to playing a squash tournament to traversing through your garden. Regardless of the source of the problem, it is always debilitating to some degree; most of us rely pretty heavily on our feet to get us around. The good news is that the majority of foot problems can be treated – and sometimes, it’s as simple as getting insoles for our shoes. In this post, we’ll cover different types of insoles and what you should consider for each one.

Orthotic Arch Support Insoles

Orthotic insoles offer the highest level of support and are designed with a rigid or semi-rigid support plate. Whether you’re looking for prefab or custom-made orthotics, this type of insole focuses on supporting the foot’s arch and heel, providing a natural form for whatever activities your day may bring. While orthotic insoles usually take some time to break in, the benefit will certainly outweigh any initial discomfort. These insoles help eliminate strain on the plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the forefoot. If you have arch pain or plantar fasciitis, an orthotic arch support is worth a shot. This insole is also ideal for anyone suffering from over-pronation or supination.

If you’ve never had an orthotic insole before, starting with the semi-rigid option is recommended as the rigid support is almost completely stiff. Either way, you can break in your insole by wearing it for a couple of hours every day for the first week, and slowly increasing the duration from there. If you still experience discomfort after several weeks, you might want to consider another insole.

Cushioned Arch Support

If you’re looking for a softer insole option, cushioned arch supports may be what you need. Unlike the rigid support offered by orthotic arch supports, cushioned insoles are entirely padded to provide your foot with lots of cushioning. Foot fatigue is the most common ailment that this padded support can relieve. Shin splints are another common injury that cushioned supports can alleviate. These insoles are also perfect for anyone on their feet all day, whether or not they have foot problems.

Flat Cushions

When you buy a new pair of kicks, there’s usually a thin sock liner along the inside of the shoe. This insole doesn’t actually provide any support but just offers a lining for your footwear. Replacement insoles are available in whatever material suits your preference – but you won’t necessarily be doing your foot any good with this option.

Examine Your Feet

As you assess what type of insole you need, keep in mind the shape of your foot – is it narrow, wide, long, short? Sizing usually follows your shoe size, but each insole will have its own variations, so be sure to read through the product description – and reviews when possible – to be sure you’re getting the right fit.

Also consider the arch of your foot. Do you have high arches, neutral arches or flat feet? Wearing an insole that’s not designed for your type of arch will likely be painful, so be sure you’re looking at the right one. If you don’t know what kind of arches you have, try looking at your wet footprint. If you don’t see a trace of the arch in the print, you probably have high arches; alternatively, if you see nearly the entire outline of your foot, it’s likely that you have flat feet. Getting the low or high arch support you need can make all the difference.

Get back to the mobile activities you love in no time with a supportive insole. And even if you haven’t reached the point of immobility, if you’re experiencing any type of foot pain, an insole may be a simple solution before it gets worse. Do you already use an insole? What are your tips for insole shopping? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Strategies for Combatting Stress

When was the last time you did nothing? Literally, you weren’t doing anything at all. In today’s fast-paced society, idleness seems to be a thing of the past, like CDs and The Brady Bunch. Instead, we’re constantly rushing between appointments we’ve got booked on our calendars and soaking up information on our handheld screens in the “off” moments. Being busy has become almost an indicator of success – the busier, the better.

That busy-ness offers plenty of opportunities. But it also comes with stress. In 2015, 24 percent of American adults reported experiencing extreme stress, a 6 percent increase compared to the previous year. Similar stress statistics follow suit: They’re on an upward trend. While we may not be able to stop the trajectory of our fast-paced society, we can control how we react to it. And there are a number of techniques we can use to help relieve the stress we feel. Read on for a few of the top ones!

Move Your Body

One way to reduce stress is by exercising. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers (also known as endorphins). Exercise also helps reduce fatigue and improve alertness, concentration and overall cognitive function, which can do wonders when stress has depleted your energy. Whether your preferred means of physical activity is walking, surfing or yoga, your body will benefit from it, and so will your mind.

Make Time for Relaxing

It seems so simple, but many of us don’t set aside the time we need to actually relax. Find an activity that helps you relax, such as meditation, knitting or listening to music, and schedule regular times for it. Making these activities a part of your routine will decrease the chances of you forgetting about them. Just like you wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment, hold yourself to the times you plan to unwind. 

Prioritize (and Say “No”)

Decide what you need to accomplish in your day and what can wait. Then, give yourself permission to hold off on the things that can wait. Yes, that person might not get a response to their email until tomorrow. And that load of laundry won’t get washed just yet. But you’ll get around to them in good time. And your mind will be more relaxed for it.

And while we’re on the topic of prioritizing, know when to say “no” when you feel overloaded. It can be difficult, but those two small letters can do so much for you, both body and mind. Saying yes to everything usually means you’re spreading yourself thin – and that’s not going to be good for anyone.


Connect with people you enjoy spending time with. Whether it’s a short walk with a neighbor at the end of the day or a 15-minute phone call with a friend far away, connecting with people in your life will help alleviate stress. These people are a support network you can turn to in times of difficulty, perhaps to vent or maybe to bring over some food when the going gets tough.

Don’t Procrastinate 

Procrastinating means you’re in a constant scramble. By putting things off, you’re keeping them in the back of your mind with the knowledge that they need to get done at one point or another. By the time you get around to doing the task, it’s usually not half as bad as the anticipation that’s been building from all that procrastination. Organize your tasks with realistic deadlines and maintain focus when working toward those deadlines. This will prevent things from building up and reduce your overall stress levels.

Stress can be all-encompassing – when we let it. By constantly working to reduce stress, we bring ourselves closer to happier, more fulfilling lives without getting hung up on the small stuff. Feel free to share your own stress management techniques in the comments below!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Runners of All Levels

In many ways, running is a perfect sport: You don’t need a team or any equipment, or even a field. You get time to think or zone out. Just grab your running shoes and head out, however fast or far your feet may take you. As simple as it sounds, there are some definite running don’ts in terms of how to keep your body healthy and in good condition. Whether you’re new to the sport or have been running for years, you want to be sure you avoid these common running mistakes.

Skipping the Warm-Up

However ready your body may feel for that run, not warming up can do some serious damage. Most of us are sedentary for a large portion of the day, so getting our bodies moving should be gradual. Even if you’re on the move throughout the day, take a few minutes to start your workout with a light jog to loosen up your muscles.

Making Your Easy Days Hard

If you’re at the point in your running routine that you plan out your runs by intensity, be sure to include easy days – and follow through on them. Your body needs lighter workouts to recover and restore itself between the tougher ones, so giving every run your all isn’t doing you any favors. On that note, taking rest days is also important. Sometimes it’s okay to just chill on the sofa.

Tensing Up Your Arms

Your arms aren’t involved in running, right? So why are we even mentioning them? Your whole body works together with each step you take, and your arms help in the process. You want to keep your arms light while allowing them to swing naturally as you stride. The momentum of each swing can help propel your body forward – especially up those hills.

Wearing Old Shoes

One of the most common causes of injury is wearing the wrong pair of shoes. Perhaps your shoes pinch your right big toe just a bit. Or you want to bring to life that old pair from five years ago. Resist the urge. The lifetime of a shoe is anywhere from 300 to 500 miles, depending on the surface you run on and how much material your shoe has to support your foot. Running on dirt roads or trails means your shoes will last for longer than pounding on asphalt with each step. Regardless of where you run, you’ll want to keep track of roughly how far you’ve run – and invest in a new pair of quality running shoes regularly for running injury prevention.

Pushing Through an Injury

At some point in your running career – even if you get new shoes regularly – it’s likely you’ll be faced with an injury. Whether it’s a sore hip or shin splints, your body is trying to tell you something, so be sure to listen. Don’t push through the pain; instead, take the time your body needs to heal. This may require you to completely stop running for a while. This can be difficult, but pushing through may cause further damage and put you on the sidelines indefinitely.

While avoiding these running mistakes will make your jogs more enjoyable, you’re still bound to face some hiccups along the way. Be patient with yourself, and don’t forget to breathe! We’d love to hear your running tips in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ice Wraps – When Should I Use Them and Why?

Ice wraps come in many shapes and sizes for all different kinds of pain, injuries and ailments. These ice compression and support devices use portable plastic sacs filled with cooling gels, water or other liquid that slows down blood circulation and, in turn, alleviates pain and swelling. You’ll frequently find athletes using ice wraps, as they are best for minor injuries – think strains and sprains, bruises and bumps, pulled muscles and pulled ligaments. They’re also commonly used in overuse injuries, like patellar tendonitis, which is commonly found in avid runners.

As a safe and localized alternative to painkiller drugs, ice wrap packs are a very popular recovery method for a variety of injuries and circumstances. If you think an ice wrap might be right for you, read on while we dissect the different kinds of ice wraps and how they can help you live a pain-free life.

General Pain Relief 

Day-to-day activity – whether it’s especially athletic or not – puts strain on our bodies. Sometimes, even just working a job where you’re on your feet can cause some pretty serious musculoskeletal pain. Ice wraps are excellent solutions for minor muscle and bone injuries. If foot pain is resonating with you, consider our Icy Feet™ Orthotic cold packs. These soft ice packs provide sturdy arch support for your feet, making them perfect to put on at the end of a long day.

Athletic Injury 

Ever heard of the RICE method? RICE is a process commonly referred to by doctors and nurses as the best way to treat muscle injuries, including all athletic and overuse injuries. RICE is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Doctors say that these four steps can heal most minor muscle injuries in a short period of time. With an ice wrap, the second and third steps – ice and compression – are taken care of in one easy application.

Knee injuries are increasingly common among athletes, especially in high-intensity, high-impact sports. If patellar tendonitis (an extremely common injury that involves inflammation of the knee’s primary tendon) is the problem, try this DonJoy Dura*Kold™ Consumer Wrap. The small band will deliver the right amount of pressure to your patellar tendon, while the specially made ice packs provide two hours of cold therapy.

If an injury is minor enough, or if your injury is on the mend, a good ice pack could be the difference between sitting on the sidelines and getting back in the game. When you feel like you might be ready to get back in the game but still want some extra TLC for a knee injury, consider this high-tech Corflex Cryo Pneumatic Knee Splint. The anatomical wrap is ideal for athletic activity, while the detachable pump allows you to choose the level of compression at any given time. However, be sure to consult your doctor before reworking a healing injury. He or she will be able to give you the best opinion as to whether or not you’re ready to get back to activity.


Sometimes, an injury is severe enough that it requires surgery. When this happens, the road to complete recovery is a long one, but an excellent ice pack can make all the difference. For surgery recovery, make sure to choose an ice wrap that is powerful enough to cool through surgical dressings. An effective ice wrap can help decrease pain, edema and secondary hypoxic tissue injury from your surgery.

DonJoy makes excellent post-surgery ice wraps with its Dura*Soft™ wrap line. This DonJoy Dura*Soft™ Shoulder Wrap has removable cooling packing that can be changed out without removing the wrap, providing long-term cold therapy and making your life much easier.

Reducing pain and getting back to your normal routine could be as simple as purchasing the right ice wrap for your needs. Ask your doctor how an ice wrap can help you. It might just change your life!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Tips to Avoid Tendonitis

If you’ve ever felt a dull ache around your limb or joint, or perhaps noticed a mild swelling, you may have been experiencing the effects of tendonitis. Tendonitis is the irritation of a tendon in the body, whether in your shoulder or your ankle. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach your muscles to your bones, and they can be injured from repetitive motions, awkward positions or forceful exertions. The body can be a delicate thing to keep healthy – but with these simple tips, you’ll be able to minimize the risk of tendonitis symptoms and any problems they may lead to.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Pushing yourself can feel great in the moment – but if your body isn’t ready, you’ll likely regret it later. Be kind to your body and start out slow. If you’re just starting an exercise routine, keep it moderate to give your body time to adjust. And even if you’re in shape, be sure to properly warm up before doing an intense workout. Your tendons will thank you – and be stronger for it.

Sit Correctly

Let’s face it: A growing number of people spend huge chunks of their day perched in front of a computer. Society may demand it, but our bodies don’t thrive in this sedentary position. If you fall into this category, make sure you’re set up with proper ergonomics, whether you sit down or stand up at your desk. We recommend having a professional assess your work space’s ergonomics to ensure your joints and tendons are not under stress throughout the day.

Stretch Your Body

If you’re a yogi, well done. If not, consider giving it a shot. Or, at the very least, work stretching into your routine for a few minutes each day. Stretching is especially important to do before and after any type of cardio activity, ideally once you’ve had a chance to warm up your muscles and then again when you’re finished. Stretching is also recommended for anyone who is seated all day in front of a desk or behind the wheel. Set your alarm a few minutes early in the morning or take some time before you settle into bed at night to do some stretches. Your tendons – and your whole body – will thank you. 

Spice It Up With Variety

If you’re feeling pain, doing the same thing every day is a great way to make things worse. Listen to your body, and try different activities to see which one best suits how you’re feeling today. Low-impact exercises like biking or swimming may be a great alternative until you’re back to normal – or all the time to avoid injury.

Fine-Tune Your Technique

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to get the technique right – and doing things right is actually an important part of keeping your tendons feeling good. Don’t let yourself get lazy; be sure you’re using the proper technique as you go about your daily workout.

Pay Attention and Listen…

…To your body, that is. If something hurts, stop. If something feels funny, change what you’re doing. If you’re trying something new, ease into it safely and be even more aware of how your body is reacting.

An injured tendon can take a long time to recover, depending on where in the body it is. Following these tips will help you avoid what causes tendonitis (and a number of other ailments) so you can stay healthy. Feel free to share any other tips you’ve found to ward off tendonitis in the comments below!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Compression Therapy 101

Compression therapy is a preferred medical treatment for individuals suffering from a number of different ailments, including venous leg ulcers. A venous leg ulcer is a condition that can develop as a result of chronic venous insufficiency. Venous disease is fairly common, with some research suggesting that as many as 50 percent of the adult population will be affected by venous insufficiency during their lifetime.

Other conditions for which compression therapy is commonly prescribed by doctors include phlebitis and thrombosis, sclerotherapy (and other types of treatment for varicose veins), and a variety of conditions associated with chronic venous disease, such as varicose veins, leg ulcers, edema and heavy legs. Compression therapy may also be used to alleviate problems associated with pregnancy, during long-distance travel and for athletes undergoing injury rehabilitation or desiring effective injury prevention.

What Is Compression Therapy?

Compression therapy is the application of pressure on the body's limbs – usually the legs but sometimes the arms – through the use of special socks, stockings or sleeves. This compression apparel is designed to support the veins in your arms or legs and to improve blood circulation. It's usually worn during the day and then removed at night. The compression prevents the blood in veins from pooling in the extremities, helping to improve circulation and decreasing the tendency for the limbs to swell.

With compression stockings, graduated compression is applied to the leg with the greatest pressure occurring at the ankles and then gradually decreasing as the hosiery extends up the leg. This compression acts to provide support to the legs and veins, helping to control both swelling and discomfort. The gradually decreasing pressure provided by the garment works along with the calf muscles, which also assist in the improvement of blood circulation in the legs.

Venous Insufficiency 

Chronic venous insufficiency, also known as CVI, which can lead to the development of venous leg ulcers, occurs when the walls of the veins in the legs or the valves within those veins are not working properly and are ineffective at allowing blood to return from the legs back to the heart. This condition causes blood to pool within the leg veins, which can trigger swelling and discomfort and lead to more serious problems. The first treatment prescribed for this condition is the use of compression stockings as a means for improving blood flow in the leg veins.

There are a few expected results of the utilization of compression stockings:

Increased venous blood flow
Reduced venous blood pressure
Reduced reflux (backward flow) in veins
Reduced pathologically elevated venous blood pressure
The use of compression therapy is also meant to reduce edema and inflammation, sustain recuperative processes and improve the movement of joints and tendons.

Compression Therapy Effectiveness

Compression therapy has been well studied and proven effective in the healing of wounds. It has also been shown to improve the quality of life in patients. Not only have symptoms such as pain, swelling and skin discoloration shown improvement through the use of compression, but there is also documented evidence as to its efficacy in the increase of activity levels, decrease in depression and improvement of sleep.

In addition to wound healing and treatment for those suffering CVI, compression therapy may also be the treatment of choice for those with leg injuries or those who are recuperating from leg surgeries, those with excessive weight gain or obesity, individuals experiencing prolonged periods of non-movement, or those with venous blood clots.

Expected results of compression therapy are only achievable, however, when the garments are put on and worn as directed. Medical compression socks will only work when worn, and non-compliance with the doctor's directions is the main reason for their failure. Elderly, obese or other patients experiencing difficulty in putting on their compression stockings may require the assistance of a helper for proper donning.

Compression Levels

Compression stockings and sleeves are graded according to the amount of pressure they exert. It's important that a patient using this therapy is properly diagnosed by a qualified clinician and prescribed a garment appropriate to their particular situation. Pressure designations are expressed in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), similar to the scale used in a blood pressure reading. There are four generally accepted pressure designations used in compression therapy:

  • Mild - less than 20-mmHg
  • Moderate – 20-40-mmHg
  • Strong – 40-60-mmHg
  • Very Strong - more than 60-mmHg 

Strong compression is commonly prescribed for leg ulcers. Those suffering from severe arterial disease are not candidates for any level of compression therapy.

Sports Applications

Both athletic performance and tissue rehabilitation may be enhanced by the use of compression garments as a result of improved blood flow and muscular, tendon and joint support. Maximizing athletic performance and reducing recovery time are just two benefits of utilizing sports compression garments.

If you’re considering investing in your own compression garments, you can check out our wide range of options here!

Friday, December 1, 2017

How To Avoid a Back Injury

Back injuries are common in virtually every occupation and every walk of life. From students to nurses, construction workers to lawyers, body builders to computer programmers, high school kids to the elderly, back injury doesn’t discriminate, and its effects can be debilitating. Even a somewhat minor back injury can take you out of work, out of your exercise routine or make it extremely difficult to sleep at night. MMAR Medical provides numerous back braces and support in the event of an accident. But what proactive steps can you take to prevent yourself from ever having to suffer through a back injury ordeal? Read on for our back injury prevention strategies to keep your spine healthy and your life on track.

1. Work that core…

Core muscles are crucial to providing support for the lower back and avoiding injury. Try adding a few core exercises to your daily routine. Planks are a great option as they work your abdominals and your obliques, giving you solid support on the front and sides of your body. To do a plank correctly, place your palms or forearms on the ground at shoulder-width distance. Keep your shoulders above your wrists and step back to bring your body into a straight line, from the tip of your head all the way to your heels. Hold for 60 seconds. Never let your hips collapse out of the straight line. This will only strain your lower back and open you up to injury. When you’re done, bring your knees to the ground carefully.

2. …And that heart, too.

Low-impact aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the spine, which promotes healing and hydration to all of your vertebrae. Briskly walking your dog, light jogging, using an elliptical, riding a bike or swimming all count as low impact aerobic exercise. Doing any of these activities 3-4 times per week will benefit and protect your spine as well as your overall health. 

3. Stand up straight.

Bad posture can have lots of negative effects on your body. In the short term, poor posture causes pain and discomfort from unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae. In the long term, sustained use of poor posture can cause muscle and tissue damage. Practicing good posture while walking and sitting up straight at your desk can help prevent these injuries – and it also works your core. To find your natural posture, stand with your back up against a wall and your heels about 2-4 inches away from the wall. Notice how your body creates a straight line, from the crown of your head down through your pelvis. To maintain this stance without a wall, focus on keeping your abdominals pulled in and your shoulders relaxed back. It might feel strange at first, but with practice, good posture will become second nature in no time. 

4. Stretch your hamstrings.

A little known cause of back pain, especially in the lower back, is extremely tight hamstrings. If you’re experiencing back pain and can’t remember the last time you stretched, try some gentle hamstring stretches, like reaching for your toes or propping your leg up on a chair. If you already have a diagnosed back injury, use special caution here – not all stretches are good for all back conditions. Always check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting a new regimen. 

5. Drive carefully.

Unfortunately, a very common cause of back injury is automobile accidents. Driving carefully is smart, courteous and can help you avoid months of pain and discomfort from a back injury. Make sure to always leave yourself enough travel time to avoid reckless driving, and if you’re guilty of serious road rage, try listening to some soothing music while you’re on the road. You’ll save your back and reduce overall stress!

6. Lift with your legs.

Heavy lifting is a classic cause of back injury. But when you’re moving, you’ve got not-so-small children or your job requires it (looking at you, maintenance and construction workers), lifting heavy items is unavoidable. If you’re caught in one of these situations, squat down, grab the item, engage your core, and stand up. By concentrating the pressure in your legs and not your lower back (“lifting with your legs”), you’ll avoid back injury, and carve out some killer buns & thighs too. 

Back injury isn’t completely unavoidable. But following these tips and doing these lower back exercises will help you take preventative action by keeping your back strong and healthy. For more information on back pain, back injuries, back care and answers to questions like “How do I shower with a back brace?” take a look at the back injury page of our website.

We hope you never endure a back injury; but if you do, MMAR Medical is here to help you along the road to recovery.