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 10 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.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How To Safely Start a New Workout Regimen

Whether you’ve never set foot in a gym but want to become more active or you’re just getting back into working out, you are on the right path to a healthier and happier lifestyle. There are numerous benefits to regular exercise, most notably weight loss, a healthier heart, more energy and improved mood. However, if you’re starting from scratch, a small mistake at the gym can turn into a much larger injury. Below are a few workout tips for beginners to help you create healthy and safe gym habits for a new workout regimen.

Know Where You Stand
While it may not be fun to step onto the scale or take other measurements, it is crucially important to ensure you don’t injure yourself at the gym. Starting a new fitness regimen is going to involve pushing yourself and challenging what you think you’re able to physically do. And while it’s admirable to want to take your routine to the max, everyone has a limit, and taking these measurements will help you determine what yours is so you don’t literally push yourself to the breaking point. For example, before you begin a new workout regimen, you should know what your maximum heart rate should be so you don’t push yourself too far. A good way to estimate this number is to subtract your age from 220.

Warming Up and Cooling Down
Regardless of how new you are to a workout routine, be sure to let your body warm up before a
workout routine, be sure to let your body warm up before a workout and cool down afterwards. These warm ups and cool downs don’t have to take a long time, just five to 10 minutes of moderate movement and stretching should do the trick. These extra few minutes are a small price to pay and well worth it. If you plan to do any sort of intense exercise to shed pounds, not letting your body adjust to the intensity of your workout could result in muscle (and other) injury that could prevent you from working out at all for quite a while. Additionally, if you don’t do some light exercise to let your body slowly come back down to its normal level of activity after a workout, you risk fainting from the abrupt change of pace.  

Practice Patience
As a culture, we have come to expect instant results no matter what is we’re doing. However, when it comes to starting a new workout regimen, you have to be patient and set realistic goals if you want to see healthy and sustained success. You shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t see noticeable changes within the first few weeks of your routine – to do so would not be natural. If you push yourself too hard because you want faster results, you risk seriously injuring yourself and rendering yourself unable to work out at all. So, keep at it and be patient. You’ll be rewarded down the line with healthy and sustainable exercise habits.

Play by the Rules
While it seems obvious, it is paramount that you follow the rules and instructions of your gym’s equipment if you choose to lift weights or use one of their aerobic exercise machines. Be sure you are following all necessary safety precautions, whether by having a spotter for a bench press or knowing how to use the emergency stop function on a treadmill. It is easy to ignore these precautions; however, the injuries you could get from not properly using these machines might put you out of the gym for a few days, weeks or even longer.

Congratulations! By reading this blog, you’re already taking the first steps to starting a new healthy lifestyle. These tips may add a few minutes and a little extra work to your overall routine, but the benefits of healthy and sustainable exercise habits far outweigh the costs. And as always, MMAR Medical Group is here to help along the way as you work toward your health and fitness goals, and we have a wide range of orthopedic products and accessories if you do have an injury to mend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

All About Foot Fractures

Foot fractures can happen for a variety of reasons. In athletes, these bone fractures typically occur from a sudden trauma or as the result of untreated bone stress reactions. Whatever the cause, bone fractures in the feet are serious injuries that usually require a lot of down time for healing. Here, we’ll cover the different types of bone fractures and how to prevent them.


Although many people think of bone as an inanimate thing, bones are actually made up of living tissue that is constantly undergoing changes. Bone can grow stronger when stress is placed upon it, but only if done in the right way. Whenever we stress our bones through repeated physical activity, exercise or sports, the bones initially become weaker. However, this initial weakening triggers the bone to grow a thicker outer layer. The additional growth that occurs makes the bone stronger over time.

Foot fractures can occur when an individual continues to place more and more stress on the bone without giving it enough time in between to rest. As a result of the repeated stress placed on it, the bone can eventually succumb and break.


Now you know what exactly a foot fracture is – but with 26 bones in each foot, not every fracture is the same. There are a few main types of foot fractures:

Full Foot Fractures

A full foot fracture is a break in one or more bones of the foot and is the result of a traumatic injury to the area. A motor vehicle crash or dropping a heavy object on the foot are common causes of these severe fractures.

Stress Fractures 

Stress fractures also involve one or more broken bones but are the result of repeated overuse and stress to the bone(s) rather than one specific incident. This type of fracture is common among athletes who often mistake the pain for a less serious injury and don’t take appropriate precautions. Stress fracture symptoms include swelling and pain that increase over time if not treated. While foot stress fractures may sound less severe than breaks resulting from trauma, they still involve a broken bone and may require surgical treatment.

Simple Fractures

Calling a foot fracture simple doesn't necessarily mean that it's not a severe break. A simple fracture simply refers to one that occurs without breaking the skin overlying or tissue surrounding the bone. In this type of full fracture, only the bone is damaged. Simple fractures most often result from repetitive use rather than traumatic injuries.

Compound Fractures

Compound fractures are the other type of full fracture that involves a broken bone in addition to damage to the surrounding tissues or overlying skin. These are usually more serious simply because the break is often worse given that it has caused additional injury other than just the bone. Since the skin itself is also no longer intact, infections can also be another potential complication with this type of fracture.


While the traumatic injuries that cause full foot fractures can't always be prevented, it’s important to practice caution when possible and stay aware of your surroundings. Alternatively, stress fractures usually come with warning signs that allow an individual to correct the underlying problem before the bone actually suffers a fracture. In athletes, for example, repeated overuse of the bone without giving it enough rest can result in pain that gradually worsens. If this pain is ignored, the bone can continue to weaken; if the pain is ignored long enough, an actual stress fracture may occur and require months of rest in order to heal. 

To avoid stress fractures, we advise you to pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. If pain persists during workouts or continues to get worse over time, take a step back and allow the area to heal before continuing with placing additional stress on the bone. A few days’ rest is usually far better than spending months with your feet up. If you do find yourself with a fractured foot, there are a wide range of foot and ankle braces available to facilitate the healing process.

During the healing period of foot fractures, it’s important to keep pressure off the affected area, meaning you’ll be seriously restricted in your mobility. Be aware of this common injury so you don’t have to put your life on hold! Listen to your body and take proper precautions to avoid getting hurt. If you’ve experienced a foot fracture and have any tips to share, feel free to comment below!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Clavicle Injuries and Symptoms

The clavicle, whose name is derived from the Latin term Clavicula, is a small, but important
bone in our body. Clavicle injuries are especially prominent during the summer months, when
people tend to be more active. Over activity and hyperextension are often the cause of
clavicle fractures and other health related issues. Despite how pervasive clavicle-related
injuries are, many medical professionals continue to struggle with understanding where these
injuries stem from and how the bone itself functions due to a general lack of medical-related
data. Although fractures tend to heal regardless of treatment, complications may very well
arise from clavicle-related injuries.

There have been several attempts to devise a classification scheme for these types of
fractures, and after lots of careful consideration and deliberation, clavicle fractures have come
to be classified by their location. There are three main types of clavicle fractures:

  • Group/Type I Fractures: Middle third injuries
  • Group/Type II Fractures: Distal third injuries
  • Group/Type III Fractures: Medial (proximal) third injuries

While several people experience one of the three types of injuries, Type I fractures are by far
the most prominent. It is not difficult to spot symptoms of clavicle fractures, as they can cause immediate pain and readily impact upper extremity movement and overall mobility. Some common signs of a fracture include:

  • Swelling, ecchymosis and tenderness around or over the clavicle
  • The shoulder may appear shortened relative to the opposite side and may droop
  • The patient may cradle the injured extremity with the uninjured arm
  • Difficulty breathing or diminished breathing sounds may indicate a pulmonary injury
  • Palpation of the scapula and ribs may reveal a concomitant injury
  • Abrasion over the clavicle may be noted, suggesting that the fracture was from a direct mechanism

If any of the aforementioned signs can be observed in a patient, it is vitally important that you
seek medical attention immediately. Diagnosis can be done through a variety of laboratory
studies and typically takes very little time to do. A Complete blood count (CBC) may be
mandatory is a vascular injury is suspected. This procedure checks the patient’s hemoglobin
and hematocrit values. An Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) may also be necessary if a pulmonary
injury is suspected or identified. There are also a wide variety of imaging studies that may
assist in the diagnosis process. These studies include chest radiography, which obtains an
expiration poster-anterior (PA) chest film (along with the aforementioned ABG test) if a
pulmonary injury is suspected or identified. A CT (Computed tomography) scan,
ultrasonography or radiography of the clavicle and/or shoulder may be needed to better
understand the fracture, where it came from and possible solutions to the injury, as well.

The majority of clavicle fractures are able to heal correctly with nonoperative management,
which includes the use of a simple shoulder sling or brace. However, this doesn’t mean that
surgery is never required. If the patient experiences a complete fracture displacement, tenting
skin. Fractures with 2 cm of shortening, comminuted fractures, neurovascular compromises,
or open fractures, for example, may indicate that surgery is necessary in aiding the healing
process. When surgical fixation is required for a mid-shaft clavicle fracture (type I & III), the
most commonly performed procedure involves open reduction of the fracture, which is then
followed either by insertion of an intramedullary device or fixation with a plate and screws. In
a distal clavicle (Type II), stable fixation may be achieved in several different ways, including
combinations of coracoclavicular screws, Dacron or Mersilene tapes, tension banding, a
Kirschner wire (or, K-wire), and clavicular plates. Regardless of the technique used to fix the
fracture, the same basic principles of fracture reduction and stabilization apply.

The key to avoiding clavicle-related injuries and fractures is remaining diligent in injury
prevention, regardless of how strenuous your exercise routine may be. If you are in need of a
clavicle splint or support item, please visit our Ossur Clavicle & Rib store. If you have any tips
on how to aid the healing process of clavicle fractures, please share your thoughts in the
comment section below!

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Summer Skin

Ahh, summer. This sunny season usually bears fond memories of long days at the beach, amazing backyard barbeques, and perfectly warm weather. With all the great things summer entails it’s no wonder why it’s a personal favorite among many. However, not everyone is so quick to jump on the summer bandwagon. For many of us, summer means intense sun exposure, dehydration, and painful burns. It may come as no surprise that summertime is the most dangerous time for your skin. With high UV levels and the tendency to expose more skin, the summer is when most people develop skin cancer, severe burns, and even cataracts! Bummer, right? While it may seem like these problems are unavoidable during the hot season, fear not, there are several methods to avoid skin damage and repair areas that have been overexposed. Your skin is your biggest organ and one of the most important, so remaining adamant on proper skin care during long sunny days is crucial for your short and long term health. Follow our tips below and be on your way to enjoying a pain-free summer in minutes! 

Wear Sunscreen! This has probably been drilled into your head since you were a little kid, and rightfully so, as wearing sunscreen is the best way to prevent burns and other sun-related skin damages. It’s important to remember that while we may love being out in the sun and how we look with a golden-brown tan, there are serious health consequences that result from overexposure to the sun. Sunscreen is noted to be the single best way to combat Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer and the leading cause of death from skin diseases. Melanoma spreads extremely fast and although it is less common than other types of skin cancers, the rate of it is steadily increasing every year.

Sunscreen protects your skin from ultraviolet rays (UV rays), as well as similar sunrays like UVA, UVB, and UVC. Try to apply just the right amount of sunscreen before heading out in the sun. As a general rule of thumb, use an ounce (about a handful) to cover your entire body. Pick a sunscreen with an SPF that best suits your skin type: if you have naturally darker skin, opt for SPF 5-15. If you have sensitive or fair skin, go for SPF 30. There are a wide variety of sunscreen types to choose from today. With dry-sprays, to unscented lotions and even water-resistance formulas, finding the perfect sunscreen has never been easier. Applying sunscreen may be an annoying process, but trust us—your skin will thank you later!

Drink lots and lots of Water. Dehydration is extremely common in the summertime and can affect everyone, regardless of age, psychical activity, or skin sensitivity. Dehydration is often brought on by feelings of dizziness or fatigue and often prompts diarrhea, vomiting, severe headaches, and fevers. This means that making sure you get enough water throughout the day is vital to your overall wellbeing. It is key to drink plenty of water before, during, and after long periods of exercise, especially if you are outdoors in the direct sunlight. Try to take a swig of water or a sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes during periods of activity. Drinking a sports drink, like Gatorade which is chuck-full of electrolytes, is recommended if you plan on exercising for more than an hour. Refrain from using salt tabs during exercise routines. While many athletes use these tabs as a way to replenish the salt they lose through your sweat, they can easily dry-out your body and cause dehydration. Sports drinks offer an effective solution for replacing the minerals and salt you lose during intensive workouts. Another way to prevent dehydration is by avoid high-protein diets. Foods that are high in protein tend to make you thirstier and soak up a large portion of your body’s water. If you do choose to adhere to a protein rich diet, make sure you are consuming at least 8 to 12 glasses of water every day. Most importantly, always stop working or exercising outdoors if you begin to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or fatigued.

It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water if you get a sunburn. Burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, so dehydration tends to be very common among sunburned individuals.

Treating Skin Damage. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there—you’re spending a relaxing day at the beach and somehow sunscreen didn’t make its way into your beach bag. Now you’re stuck with a lobster-red back that is sore to the touch. Before you panic and start figuring out ways to cover you crimson tan, consider the tips listed below to help you on your path to recovery!

Cool showers. When you get a sunburn, heat gets trapped inside your skin. By taking cool showers, you can temporarily lower the temperature of your skin. Not only will the water provide relief from your burn’s stinging sensation, but it may also help the burn heal faster! First set your shower to a normal temperature—one that is not too hot, but not too cold. Gradually adjust the temperature lower and lower until you feel comfort and relief. If your sunburn starts to itch, do not continue to take cold showers. In this event, switch back to warm showers. The warm water will help greatly reduce itching.

A&D cream. While this multi-purpose ointment is typically used for babies with diaper rash, A&D cream is also a miracle worker for sunburns. This cream is formulated with vitamins A and D and helps soothe the skin from cuts, scrapes, and burns. Not only does this cream prevent your sunburn from itching, but it also provides your skin with the nutrients it needs to recover from the burn quickly. Evenly coat the burned area with the cream and wait until it dries. After it dries completely, re-apply the cream as often as you’d like!

Peppermint Oil. Sunburns HURT. Luckily for you, Peppermint oil provides instant relief for even the most painful burns. Peppermint oil is an essential oil that can be found at a variety of retailers who regularly sell oil kits, vitamins, or other health-related supplies. To use, simply apply 2 or 3 drops onto the affected area and gently rub it into the skin. Upon completion, you will immediately feel a cool sensation run over your burn, reducing the stinging sensation and allowing you to carry on with your everyday tasks with ease!

Take Advil or Ibuprofen. When you first start to feel your sunburn sting, try taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, like ibuprofen or Advil. Taking these drugs will help diminish feelings of discomfort and can greatly reduce skin inflammation. The effects may be subtle, but anti-inflammatory drugs like the ones listed above are guaranteed to offer some form of relief from mild to severe burns.

Aloe Vera. If you’ve ever gotten a sunburn the chances are you are well acquainted with Aloe Vera. A popular choice among many sunburned beach bums, Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that grows in dry climates such as those found in Africa and India. These plants have been used medicinally for centuries and are widely recognized for their clear gel that heal wounds and soothe skin. Aloe Vera helps with sunburns through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, which is the layer of cells that cover the body. The aloe acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish the moisture it loses when burned. Because of its nutritional and antioxidant properties, this plant extract helps the skin heal quickly and efficiently.

Skin protection is vitally important all year-round, but especially in the summer. Make sure to keep all of these tips in mind as you head out on various outdoor activities and expose your skin to the sun’s powerful rays! Have another sure-fire method of preventing skin damage in the summertime? Share your ideas in the comment section below!