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!



Monday, June 5, 2017

5 Ways to Treat Plantar Fasciitis Pain

Have you ever woken up to an intolerable foot pain? Perhaps a stabbing-like pain in your heel
that starts in the morning and then increases throughout your day? If you have experienced
some of these symptoms, then you might be dealing with a cold case of plantar fasciitis.



Plantar fasciitis, similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, is a type of inflammation injury. It is caused
by the the over-stretching or degeneration of the arch of the foot due to excessive strain. In
other words, it is a type of repetitive strain injury causing foot arch and heel pain.

Common causes of this chronic inflammation can be due to excessive jumping, standing for long periods of time, wearing high heels, high impact activities or sports. It can be found mostly in middle-aged people, runners, overweight people, or individuals who have flat feet or spend large amounts of time standing on their feet.

Here are 5 easy ways to ease the pain caused by plantar fasciitis:

Foot stretches. A very popular exercise that is often recommended for people suffering from plantar fasciitis is foot rolls. Foot rolls are an excellent and practical way to stretch the arches of your foot. Most people tend to use anything from a frozen water bottle and a tennis ball to a foot/hand massage roller. Rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle can give you both the benefits of icing and stretching in a single exercise. Here is an excellent guide to foot rolls and other easy exercises to alleviate foot pain.



Orthotic Insoles. Using orthotic insoles or inserts in your shoes can help greatly in removing stress from your plantar fascia while adding comfort to your feet. There are a wide variety of brand insoles that might help, click here for a helpful list. Also, when you are experiencing pain from plantar fasciitis, you want to have shoes that provide the most cushion and comfort to your feet. Unless you are spending the day at the beach, it is very important to avoid using flip flops. Many doctors highly discourage the use of flip flops, even amongst people that don’t have plantar fasciitis. The reason for this being that their super thin and flat structure can cause your feet to overgrip, putting a large amount of stress on your foot arch and plantar fascia.

Medical Splints. A lot of doctors highly recommend medical splints to be used in the evenings. Medical splints can stretch the arch and calf, managing to lighten pain and loosen the muscles of the foot. Here is a great list of medical splints and braces that are specifically designed to deal with plantar fasciitis pain.

DonJoy Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint by MMAR Medical


Ice Packs. Ice, which is known to reduce inflammation and provide relief, is a very inexpensive way to treat plantar fasciitis pain. According to professionals , ice can cause blood vessels to temporarily constrict and slow down the flow of blood, reducing nerve sensations of pain. Using ice cubes wrapped in a cloth or engaging in frozen water bottle exercises, such as the one mentioned above, are good ways to use icing for plantar fasciitis pain. Here are more examples of how you can use icing.

Acupuncture. A very well known type of alternative medicine, acupuncture, has been a popular approach to alleviate pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Acupuncture, the insertion of needles into specific nerve points of the skin, can help reduce inflammation, relax tissues and improve blood flow. Here is more detailed information pertaining acupuncture treatment for plantar fasciitis pain.



While there are many different at-home ways to treat pain associated with plantar fasciitis, it is highly recommended to first speak with your doctor about your particular medical case and treatments. We hope this guide was helpful, please list your questions or comments in the section below!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How to Keep Healthy Hamstrings

At one point or another in our lives, we have all experienced the excruciating pain that
comes with a leg cramp. Why does it hurt so much? Oftentimes, this pain is due to an
involuntary muscle contraction of the hamstring muscles from the back of the thigh.

If after experiencing pain in your hamstrings, your first instinct is to stretch them, you might want to stop. The nervous system controls tension in the hamstrings and stretching them to alleviate pain or make them “longer” can be dangerous. Hamstring muscles are connected to the rest of your body and play an important role for knee and hip motion. Stretching them might put you at risk of injuring your spine or lower back, tearing your tendon, or rupturing discs.



If you are trying to alleviate pain in your hamstring muscles or simply trying to keep them healthier, try one of these methods instead:

Walk it Out

Walking, even if done in a leisurely manner, is the fastest way to stretch your legs
without doing any heavy exercise. Research suggests that walking can improve blood
circulation and strengthen your muscles. This can even be done while taking a lunch
break or by frequently taking 5-10 minute breaks during the middle of the workday. Try
to find as many reasons as you can to get up from your working area, so you can be as
active as possible.



Drink Water

Drinking water during the day can help you stay hydrated and aid in the delivery of rich
nutrients from your body to your muscles. Doctors recommend to drink anywhere from
8-16 cups of water per day, depending on your body type and needs. However, keep in
mind that drinking too much water can also dilute the level of sodium in your blood
stream and cause severe muscle spasms.


Do Light Stretches

Doing a couple of easy and simple stretches can help loosen up your hamstring
muscles. For example, many experts recommend starting the day by stretching in the
morning. A good exercise provided by Health Magazine involves “a slight bend in the
knees, core flexed and weight in the heels, reach your rear backwards while lowering
your chest toward the ground.” Other good exercises that are light and easy for your hamstring muscles are hamstring door way stretches and chair hamstring stretches


Heating Pads

Using a heating pad under your legs can help loosen your hamstrings, particularly when
they are feeling too tense or tight. While heat can be a great way to loosen a sore or
cramped muscle, it is often advised to avoid using it for more serious muscle injuries.
Using heat for serious injuries may cause swelling and increase pain.


Get More Sleep

Getting your full 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night can be very important when trying to heal
any type of muscle pain. During sleep, the body undergoes a restorative and biological
maintenance done by the brain. Therefore, sleeping the recommended hours by your
doctor can give your brain the opportunity to do this correctly and heal your body.



In all, leading a healthy and active lifestyle is the biggest key to having healthy
hamstring muscles. This might be especially true for individuals that spend too much
time sitting down in an office environment or in their daily lives. Listening to the tips
mentioned above and taking frequent walking breaks or stretching while you sit may
help more than you think. We would love to hear your thoughts, so please let us know in
the comments section below! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

5 Simple Strategies to Get Rid of Cramps on Game Day

After pouring countless hours into your game day preparation, it can be incredibly frustrating (and a little embarrassing) to limp off the field with a case of the cramps. Usually, cramps are a signal that your body is not ready for the increased stress and exertion of an actual head-to-head competition. If your coach is particularly hot-headed, they may “encourage” you to rest by sitting on the bench for the duration of the game!


Thankfully, there are a few easy alterations that can be made to an athlete’s routine that can significantly decrease the likelihood of cramping. In addition to eliminating cramps, these small changes should improve your overall well-being and boost your performance on the field too!

To help you transition seamlessly from a practice scrimmage to a heated rivalry game, we’ve compiled a list of tips that will keep you from missing any in-game action. Read on to discover a few simple ways to preempt debilitating cramps and recover from muscle spasms.

Understand the Importance of Food
You are what you eat. That phrase is a common cliché, but food is truly one of the most vital factors in sustaining performance. If you’re constantly cramping on game day, the cure might be a simple switch up of your pre-game diet. While fatty and sugary foods are delicious, you need to be giving your body the right nutrients that can be metabolized into fuel.

What kind of food should you choose? Ideally, your pre-workout meal should consist of an assortment of items that are high in sodium, potassium, calcium and carbs. Whenever your body sweats, salt is secreted from your glands and it needs to be replenished. In order to ensure a healthy supply of sodium on game day, try sipping on a sports drink (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) or eating some lightly salted nuts.


For potassium, try eating foods like bananas, yogurt, broccoli and legumes. Most diets don’t naturally provide sufficient levels of potassium, so it’s important to go out of your way to achieve the required intake. Potassium works alongside sodium to reduce muscle spasms and to ensure that your muscles are receiving the correct signals from your brain.

When eating, you should also keep the two “C”s in mind (calcium and carbs). While most weight-watching diets suggest that you limit your carb intake, it’s important that you carbo load before physical exertion. By eating grain based foods like bread, oatmeal or pancakes, you can create a healthy store of energy that your body can use as fuel. Calcium, like potassium, is an electrolyte that your muscles need to perform at their peak. To ensure adequate levels of calcium, try to eat a small serving of a dairy product like yogurt, milk or cheese. If you’re lactose intolerant, you can also get calcium from eating fish, greens and seeds.

Take Vitamin Supplements
If altering your diet isn’t enough, try adding a few vitamin supplements to your daily routine to get rid of cramps. The first supplement you should consider taking is vitamin E. This vitamin fights free radicals that are a cause of cramping—specifically cramps in legs. By taking 400 units of vitamin E each day, you can effectively reduce cramping. Magnesium is the next supplement that you should be taking. It can be found naturally in nuts, figs and seeds, but you can also ingest this electrolyte in pill form.

Drink Water but Not TOO Much
The average adult requires six to eight cups of water daily, but your body will need even more if you’re playing a sport. Cramps are directly caused by dehydration, so it’s vital that you increase fluid intake before you exert yourself. If you’re just starting to drink as you hit the field, it’s already too late. To ensure that you’re adequately hydrated, begin drinking about an hour before your game and make sure that it’s 16 to 24 ounces. However, there is such a thing as overhydration. If you drink too much water, it dilutes the level of sodium in your blood stream and could cause severe muscle spasms.

  
Warm Up and Cool Off
Whenever you’ve been playing sports competitively for a long time, it can be easy to disregard the importance of warming up and cooling off. You’ve probably been told that it’s essential, but stretching before or after a game isn’t very glamorous. If you neglect pre-game stretches, your body will likely cramp from the shock of sudden physical exertion. It’s important to ease yourself slowly into the heightened speed of a game. Simple stretches will ensure that your range of motion will comfortably allow you to flexibly extend muscles during a workout.

Massage and Heat Therapy 
What if all of your preventative measure aren’t enough? This is where massage therapy, cold compression and heat therapy factor into the equation. The easiest way to heal spastic muscles is to gently massage the ailing areas with a foam roller. By targeting the cramps with a roller, you can relax your muscles and get back on the field. Another effective cramp alleviator is a simple heating pad. High temperatures are great for making pain disappear and should be effective within mere minutes. On the opposite end of the thermometer, ice is also a great way to relax ailing muscle groups.


With each of these five tips in mind, you can effectively prepare for your next physical activity and ensure that your muscles will perform at peak condition. By eating right, taking supplements, staying hydrated, stretching and enjoying a post-game massage, you’ll stop feebly limping off the field from muscle exhaustion.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Conventional & Alternative Medicine Can Work Together

The primary focus of medical care is to provide the most appropriate care to patients given their presenting conditions and the availability of resources at the physicians’ disposal. Modern medical practices have evolved through the years due to an increasing body of knowledge made possible through research, worldwide collaboration and information-sharing processes. Regardless of their field of specializations, many doctors are open to studying and applying treatment protocols that may be outside the standard practices of western medicine. Some of these practices may complement existing protocols while others may offer alternative treatment pathways.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies

Medical professionals aim to deliver the highest quality of care to achieve the best outcomes for their patients. To this end, health pros take their oath seriously, striving for positive doctor-patient encounters for both well and ill visits. While mainstream medical practices typically define the treatment plans for all patients, there has been a steady movement toward integrating complementary and alternative medicine therapies, or CAM, with conventional practices.

According to the Mayo Clinic, about 40 percent of adult patients already integrate CAM therapies as part of their lifestyle choices, and doctors are certainly paying attention to the impact of CAM practices on their patients’ health and quality of life. The integrated approach may be associated with other terms such as whole medical systems, mind-body medicine, biologically based practices, manipulative and body-based practices and energy medicine. These classifications are the from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, but it must be emphasized that comparisons may not always be clear-cut as the therapies may have overlapping elements, and practices may fall under more than one category.

Overview of CAM Therapies

Mainstream medicine is evidence-based and highly regulated under the auspices of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies associated with the National Institutes of Health. CAM therapies may be regulated under a different set of guidelines and monitoring agencies.

Whole Medical Systems

This category refers to a system or a collection of medical remedies and treatments focused on a specific philosophy or a belief system such as the presence of internal energy in the body or the relationship of the human body to nature.

  • Traditional or Ancient Healing Practices
    • The healing arts have been practiced in one form or another in ancient cultures. Many of these procedures are based on knowledge of anatomy and physiology coupled with insights on medicinal properties of herbs and other available materials.
  • Naturopathy
    • The practice of Naturopathy involves using noninvasive treatments to encourage the body to heal itself from trauma and symptoms of various diseases. Techniques include acupuncture, massage, exercise, ingestion of herbal remedies and lifestyle counseling.
  • Homeopathy
    • This is a system that attempts to trigger the body’s self-healing response by dosing with small amounts of natural substances known to have beneficial properties.


Mind-Body Medicine

For optimum health, it makes sense to make sure that the mind and the body are in harmony. Mind-body techniques tap the connection between these two systems to encourage relaxation and positivity that can help conventional medical therapies to be effective. These techniques include:

  • Meditation
  • Art therapies
  • Other relaxation therapies


Body Manipulation Techniques

As the name suggests, human touch is used to apply pressure and manipulate a specific body part or the entire body. Targeted areas may be directly affected by a disorder, or that area may be connected to a body system affected by ill health. These techniques include:

  • Massage
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Osteopathic manipulation


Practices Based on Natural Supplementation

Western medicine has borrowed and adopted many medical remedies from traditional eastern practices. These are remedies based on natural ingredients formulated into teas, syrups, tablets or similar formats. Herbs such as ginseng, Echinacea and gingko are among the ingredients that are now part of mainstream dietary supplements.

Integrating Complementary Medicine Techniques with Conventional Practices

Conventional medicine is based on practices that have been found safe and effective through research and stringent trials and testing. These tests are typically backed by pharmaceutical companies, university or hospital-based research efforts and other corporate support. Remedies considered as complementary or alternative may lack solid research backing primarily because large and extended trials are expensive. However, many complementary practices have become part of mainstream medicine due to their popularity and the absence of any reports of harmful effects.

Some complementary practices are easily integrated into a treatment plan based on conventional medicine practices. Techniques such as meditation, massage and relaxation therapies can be integrated into your plan of care or as part of lifestyle changes for optimum health. In general, it is best to let your health care provider know about any health and lifestyle choices you have made or plan to make to limit the potential for unintended reactions. Be wary of jumping on trending alternative practices without researching first or consulting a health care professional because treatment plans are customized to individual needs and conditions.

Use of CAM techniques in conjunction with conventional medicine is widely accepted according to a study spearheaded by the National Institutes of Health. More than half of adults surveyed reported that they had included one or more CAM techniques in their treatment plans, and their physicians approved of the integrated strategy. Medical professionals support the use of some CAM practices along with evidence-based mainstream medicine because it empowers patients to take charge of their health care options.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What Is Shoulder Subluxation and How Is It Treated?

What is shoulder subluxation?

Shoulder subluxation, more informally referred to as shoulder instability, occurs when the upper arm partially dislocates from the shoulder socket. Many people confuse shoulder subluxation with a shoulder dislocation, but there are a few key differences. Think of your shoulder joint like a golf ball sitting on a tee. The golf ball is the humerus and the tee is the socket, or glenoid. When the shoulder dislocates, the humerus or “ball” becomes dislocated from the shoulder socket and requires a professional to reset it. A subluxation, however, is when the humerus is partially dislocated but naturally pops back into place. It can occur during sports that involve throwing like football and baseball, and it’s usually accompanied by a weak, numb feeling as well as a sharp pain in and around the shoulder.



Causes of Shoulder Subluxation

The most common cause of shoulder instability is a traumatic injury to the shoulder. This is one of the reasons why this injury is most common among boxers and football players. For non-athletes, it is usually a hard fall or accident. However, there are also people who have naturally looser ligaments in their shoulders and are more susceptible to injury. No matter the cause, many people suffer from shoulder instability and do not appropriately take care of it.

Recurrence

Similar to a twisted ankle, once a person suffers a dislocated shoulder the chances of it happening again are very likely. The recurrence rate in patients under 20 is 95% and 40-50% in patients 40 and over. The reason for this is that when the injury occurs, the tendons and ligaments in the shoulder socket are torn and then heal back in a stretched position. This gives the shoulder a wider range of motion as well as less stability. If not treated properly, the shoulder can continue to sublux and lead to multi-directional instability (MDI), which can be especially harmful. This is why treatment and rehab are absolutely key in preventing further injuries.

Treatment Options

The first action one should take is to ice and rest the shoulder to help with the swelling and pain, as well as taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory. Immobilization of the shoulder is important in helping the muscles and tendons heal. A shoulder brace of some kind, like our DonJoy Ultra Sling, will be beneficial in this regard. The brace should typically be worn for about 3-6 weeks to allow the ligaments and tendons to heal properly and to prevent re-aggravating the injury. If the shoulder does not heal and chronic pain persists, surgery may become necessary, but this is not common.

Rehabilitation

Because of the nature of the injury, it is difficult to say when one should begin rehabilitation for shoulder subluxation. On average we recommend at least 6-8 weeks after the injury before beginning rehab, but prefer up to three months to be on the safer side. After you have allowed the shoulder to rest and the pain has subsided, you will need to start strengthening the muscles in and around the shoulder socket. Begin lightly and slowly increase the weight and intensity until the shoulder begins to feel strong and secure. It may take several months until the shoulder is fully healed, so remember to take care and abstain from activates that could re-aggravate the injury such as contact sports or movements that exert extreme torque on the shoulder like tennis or golf. Proper treatment and rehabilitation will greatly reduce your chances of recurring injuries and complications. However, the shoulder will most likely never be as strong as before so remember to treat it accordingly when performing physical activities going forward.

If you are currently suffering from shoulder subluxation, we offer a fact sheet about this injury as well as a wide line of shoulder braces that can be helpful with your recovery. Leave a comment below with further questions or your own experiences dealing with shoulder subluxation!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Identifying & Treating Seasonal Depression

What Is Seasonal Depression and How Is It Treated?

Taking care of your physical body during the winter months is important, especially if you tend to become more sedentary or indulge in too many holiday treats. However, your winter behaviors aren’t the only concern. Seasonal changes can directly impact your mental and emotional health, and this, in turn, can impact your physical health in many ways.

The Winter Blues

If you find yourself feeling a little down in the dumps as the temperatures begin to drop, you’re not alone. It’s common to experience moodiness, apathy or diminished energy levels during fall and winter. Some people even develop a serious form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Making your mental health a primary concern and addressing seasonal mood changes can help you live a fuller and healthier life year-round.

What Is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is associated with a change of seasons. It usually begins and ends at approximately the same time each year. Most people with SAD start to experience symptoms in the fall that continue through winter. Experts believe that between four and six percent of people have SAD. Another 10 to 20 percent may have a milder form of the disorder. It’s more common in women, and usually begins after the age of 20. As you age, your risk of developing SAD drops.

Symptoms of Seasonal Depression or SAD

Seasonal depression is different for each person, but it’s common to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

Feeling sad, agitated or depressed for most of the day
Anxiety
Low energy levels or fatigue
Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
Being unable to enjoy your favorite activities
Insomnia or early waking
Sleeping too much
Weight gain or loss
Appetite changes
Difficulty concentrating or remembering
Preoccupation with death or suicidal thoughts
Hypersensitivity
Frequent arguments or relationship problems
Overindulging in food or alcohol
Substance abuse

What Causes Seasonal Depression?

SAD that occurs in winter is related to the reduced level of natural sunlight that accompanies the season. The reduction in sunlight can affect your body in several ways. It can disrupt melatonin production and your internal biological clock, leading to changes in your circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. A lack of sun is also believed to trigger depression by reducing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is closely linked to mood and general well-being. Chemical changes in your brain can be responsible for many depression symptoms such as insomnia or food cravings, and the resulting symptoms can themselves perpetuate the cycle and deepen depression.

Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder

Treating seasonal depression often involves an integrated approach. Lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting as much sunlight exposure as possible can sometimes resolve mild cases. If you can’t access enough natural sun to reduce your symptoms, consider light therapy; it simulates sunlight exposure using a special lamp or light box. Managing stress levels is also important; cognitive behavioral therapy or counseling may be effective in helping you cope. If conservative measures fail or your depression is severe, antidepressant medications can help correct the chemical changes caused by insufficient sunlight.


When to Seek Help

Mild seasonal depression is temporary and often tolerable, but if symptoms start to interfere with your daily life or well-being, ask your doctor about treatment options. Seek help immediately if your symptoms include suicidal thoughts, substance abuse or an inability to sleep or eat normally. With a little help from your doctor, you can stay afloat and even thrive until warmer days arrive.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What the Growing Orthopedic Industry Means for Patients and Practitioners

Over-the-counter, or OTC, orthopedic devices have long been recognized as an irreplaceable segment of the modern medical device market. With 2011 reports estimating that more than two percent of all osteoarthritis patients chose orthopedic surgery, devices like braces continue growing in popularity.1 For patients, therapists, physicians and other caregivers, increased awareness of the benefits of OTC orthopedics and rising product availability could translate to improved treatment practices and better long-term outcomes.

Where Are Trends Headed?

In October 2016, economic observers predicted that the OTC orthopedic braces market would grow by 4.8 percent annually until attaining a total value of $1.33 billion in 2021.2 Globally, regions like North America and Europe were key players in the field in 2016, but demand in Asia and elsewhere is also expected to grow.

Why Are OTC Orthopedics in Demand?

What’s driving the expansion? There are a few key factors:

Increased Patient Knowledge

Some assessments pin braces’ burgeoning popularity on an expanding middle class that's more familiar with the advantages of the technology. Compared to alternatives like invasive procedures and pharmaceutical regimens, braces could seem like attractive options due to their low cost and ease of use.

Aging Populations

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, less than 15 percent of the national population was 65 or older in 2014.3 By 2040, that number is projected to exceed 21 percent. These groups are at higher risk of falls, broken bones, sprains and other health troubles that might be less challenging with orthopedic braces.

It’s also worth noting that Medicare Part B covers many leg, neck and back braces as long as they’re medically necessary.4 As a result, they may be more viable treatment options for those who can’t afford other forms of health coverage.

Mounting Necessity

The number of road accident and sporting injury victims is growing. Experts believe that these incidents contribute to a higher demand for orthopedic supports that can be used to strengthen muscles and joints during the rehabilitation period.5 With ligament injuries being some of the most common injuries across all sports, braces play a major role in helping participants heal effectively.

Superior Manufacturing and Distribution

Technologies and business models are also improving. Along with lowering product prices, new developments in materials science and novel fabrication methods are leading to increased comfort and reducing the size of formerly bulky devices. In 2014, market analysts also identified a rise in the number of braces manufacturers that outsourced precision fabrication services.6 Coupled with supplier consolidation, these factors contribute significantly towards the above-market growth exhibited by many orthopedic sectors.

What Does the Expansion of the Braces Market Mean for You?

Caregivers Can Heighten Service Quality

For doctors and physical therapists, a more robust braces market is a good thing. Manufacturers that want to capitalize are likely to offer more competitive pricing and new design innovations that let physicians provide their clients with a broader range of accessible treatment options. Practitioners with problematic patients may also have an easier time persuading these individuals to adhere to their treatment regimens if they involve the use of braces and orthopedics that seem minimally life-altering.

More Options for Patients and Users

Patients stand to benefit from greater access to orthopedic products and knowledge. Although most people are already familiar with devices like leg and arm orthopedics, there are a huge variety of similar options for other parts of the body. For instance, the University of Maryland Medical Center acknowledges more than 30 types of braces for spine disorders alone.[7]

As manufacturers develop new technologies and optimize orthopedic designs, they’ll also market them to caregivers and publish information about their use in trade journals. Your primary physician may soon benefit from more comprehensive knowledge about different kinds of braces and be able to recommend a better option for your recovery. If you’re on Medicare or a private health insurance plan, your particular orthopedics are more likely to be covered if your doctor is able to justify your need, so their growing expertise definitely works to your advantage.

A Bright Future for OTC Orthopedics

The proliferation of OTC braces holds great promise for all. By letting more people take charge of maintaining their health, orthopedic devices stand to offer significant care improvements and help their users live more enjoyable lives. To see where this exciting industry is going next and to find the orthopedic brace that works for you, 
visit MMAR Medical today.

Sources:

[1]
http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/orthopedic-device-280.html
[2]
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/bxbgrn/otc_orthopedic
[3]
http://www.aoa.gov/Aging_Statistics/
[4]
https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/braces.html
[5]
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/3452105/orthopedic-braces-and-supports-market-by-product#rela7
[6]
http://www.harriswilliams.com/sites/default/files/industry_reports/orthopedic_industry_overview_5.20.14.pdf
[7]
http://umm.edu/programs/spine/health/guides/braces

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How to Avoid Winter Sports Injuries

The yearly arrival of snow gives people the opportunity to participate in winter sports of all kinds. While thrilling, snow-based activities also come with the possibility of sustaining an injury. For instance, every year, winter sports enthusiasts suffer from back, knee and even thumb injuries. Don’t join them. A little caution and a few prevention tips can help you avoid a ski injury or snowboard injury that can keep you from enjoying the rest of the season. Here are a few of the best ways to stay safe.



Check the Weather

Before hitting the ski slopes, check the weather report. If a major storm is on the horizon, consider staying home or participating in an indoor activity. If you’re already enjoying a winter sport when a storm arrives, head to the lodge or your car as soon as possible.

Despite the wintry weather, be sure to wear sunscreen. Whenever you spend time outdoors, you are exposed to UV rays. Apply a 30 SPF sunscreen to all exposed skin to avoid a sunburn.

Wear a Helmet

If you intend to ski or snowboard, then be sure to wear a helmet that fits your head properly. Also, if you wear a knit cap to keep your head warm when you’re spending time outdoors in the winter, make sure that your helmet fits securely with the knit cap in place. It’s common to suffer from falls when enjoying winter activities. If you do, be sure to replace your helmet the next time you hit the slopes.

Take Lessons from a Professional

If you’re a winter sports novice, be sure to take lessons from an expert. Allow them to teach you the basics. Professional guidance is worth the investment because you will learn the right technique from the get-go. An expert will also make sure that you have the right equipment to participate in winter sports safely. Begin slowly and be patient with yourself.

Assess your limitations, and make sure that your children know theirs as well. If you let your young children play outside on snow or ice, supervise them closely. When it comes to playing in the snow on snowmobiles or ATVs, do not allow children who are six years old or younger to ride on them. In addition, those who drive these vehicles should be 16 years old or older.

Use Quality Sports Equipment

From snowshoeing to ice-skating, winter sports require equipment. Make sure that yours is top-notch. High-quality equipment that is in good condition will help you stay safe. Accidents happen on the slopes when ski bindings or poles break. A loose blade on your ice skate or a damaged ski can also cause winter sports accidents to occur, so be sure to maintain your equipment regularly.

Prepare Your Body with Conditioning

If your body is out of shape, then you’ll be more accident-prone when you participate in winter sports. Throughout the year, keep your core strong with abdominal and spine exercises. When your core is strong, it will help you stay balanced and stable. Be sure to warm up your body before you start a winter sport. If your muscles, ligaments or tendons are cold, then an injury is more likely.

You can also wear sport braces, mouth guards and compression socks when you head out to play in the snow. 
Winter sports medical support equipment like braces add stability to your ankles and knees while mouth guards protect your teeth and jaw. Compression socks can also improve your athletic performance by increasing the flow of oxygen to your bloodstream and by improving blood flow to and from the muscles in your legs.

Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Take note of danger signs while on the mountain.

If you like to participate in popular winter sports like snowboarding, downhill skiing and ice skating, be sure to pay attention to your surroundings to avoid injury. Often, people are hurt by colliding with each other. Winter activities that take place on the ski slopes put you at risk of striking a tree, slope indicators or even a resort lift.

Plan for a fall by considering how you’ll do it if it happens. For instance, if you feel yourself falling, attempt to roll into it naturally, and shift your head in the direction that you’re falling. This step could decrease the severity of an injury. It could even help you avoid being hurt all together.

If you hit your head, visit your doctor to make sure that you’re not suffering from a concussion or other dangerous head injury. Slight soreness and mild pain can be managed with heat or ice. You can also take over-the-counter pain medication.

Protect Your Health from Winter Sports Injuries

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission confirms that more than 290,000 people visited the hospital for winter sports-related injuries in 2014. Stay out of the hospital by maintaining your strength, sports equipment and skill level. If you do, you’ll be healthy enough to participate in your favorite winter sports throughout the season.