Thursday, July 24, 2014

Diabetics: Eat This Not That

There's no question that diabetes is on the rise in America, but since most of the risk factors are diet related, it's often preventable by simply making prudent diet and lifestyle choices. Even if you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, it's possible, in some cases, to reverse the disease or, at the very least, control it through diet. And, by the way, this doesn't mean depriving yourself totally of foods you love or resigning yourself to a lifetime of nothing but bland and boring "health foods."

A healthy diet designed to prevent or control diabetes is really no different than any other healthy diet. The most significant risk factor for contracting diabetes is being overweight, especially if the weight is being carried around the abdomen as a "spare tire." Several studies have suggested that waist size is a better indicator of potential risk for diabetes than the body mass index.

Eating right is the #1 defense against diabetes. While exercise is important, diet is the most important factor regarding weight loss. It's untrue that you have to cut out every bit of sugar and it's also a myth that a high-protein diet is best since too much protein, especially animal protein, has been shown to promote insulin resistance. You also don't have to cut out all carbohydrates. A healthy diet is a balanced diet consisting of fats, carbs and protein. The secret is to eat the correct types of these foods. Carbohydrates, for instance, should consist of whole grains because they contain essential fiber that slows the digestion of, and therefore the release of carbs (sugars) into the bloodstream, helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on diabetes risk - much more so than proteins or fats. You should limit consumption of refined carbs such as white rice and bread, pasta, snack foods, sodas and candy. Slow-release, high-fiber, complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and help blood sugar levels stay more even and allow the body to produce less insulin. They also make you feel fuller for longer and provide more long-lasting energy.

Here are some suggestions you may want to incorporate into your diet:

  • Instead of white bread, try whole-grain bread such as a whole-wheat
  • Replace white rice with brown or wild rice
  • Eat high-fiber breakfast cereal such as Raisin Bran instead of the high-sugar alternatives
  • Replace instant oatmeal with rolled or steel-cut oats
  • Use whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta
  • Replace cornflakes with bran flakes
  • Opt for green leafy vegetables instead of peas and corn
  • Replace your white potatoes, French fries and mashed spuds with yams (or sweet potatoes), squash or a mash made from cauliflower

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What to Expect After Herniated Disc Surgery

herniated disc surgery
Not much can be more debilitating and painful than a back injury, and you never quite realize just how many muscles from your back are involved in simple movements. When it comes to a herniated disc in your spine, most of the time your best option will be surgery. So you go under the knife and the surgery is a success. Problem solved, right? In many ways, yes, but your body now needs to adjust to having less of that disc between your vertebrae. Let’s talk about what you can expect post-herniated disc surgery and how to best take care of your back in the long run.

Things to Do After Herniated Disc Surgery

Your body won’t magically get back to 100% after surgery. It’ll take time and hard work to guide it along the way and prevent future injuries from occuring. You’ll eventually want to start taking physical therapy to aid in the recovery of your back. This is important for two reasons:
  1. You need to  build strength in all of the muscles that support the spine. These muscles need to be even stronger than they were to shoulder the load of having less cartilage in your back.
  2. Your body needs to repair weak or deadened nerves in that area of your spine. A slipped disc pushes all sorts of delicate nerves out of place, and your body will need time to restore them to their former glory.
So what muscles are important to strengthen? Your physical therapist will know this, but for your own reference, the perispinals, abdominals, obliques, psoas, glutes, and piriformis all play a part in back strength. You’re looking to strengthen your whole core, basically. So how do you achieve strength without stressing your back? Consider the following exercises:
Planks – propping yourself off the ground and bracing yourself on your toes and forearms while keeping your back straight
Bridges – laying on your back with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle and gently lifting your torso off the ground and slowly lowering it back down
Supermans – laying face down on the floor and lifting your arms and legs off the ground, keeping them from touching the floor

 

Things to Avoid After Herniated Disc Surgery

It’s incredibly easy to damage your body shortly after surgery. The muscles, skin, cartilage and nerves are all in a very delicate state, so it’s good to practice some everyday routines to let your body heal itself.
  • It’s incredibly important to immobilize that part of your back after surgery. You can achieve this through the use of a back brace. These braces aren’t so much used for support as they are to remind you not to move that particular section of your back.
  • Don’t exercise! It may be tempting to whip yourself back into shape, but exercise will put strain on the surgical spot and your back as a whole. 
  • Don't sit in one place for too long. Standing is great for keeping your spine straight. Take walks, work at a standing desk, do whatever is necessary to prevent your spine from compressing.
The road to recovery won’t be the same for every patient. Age and overall athleticism can play a part in your recovery. That being said, it’s not unreasonable to assume that if you’re an older patient with a less active lifestyle, your recovery period will be slower than that of a younger person. Overall, the approach is the same; build your core strength, repair your weakened nerves, immobilize the surgical area, and give it time!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inspiring Jackie Robinson Quotes

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in modern baseball, paving the way for a more ethnically diverse and representative group of players in Major League Baseball. In the face of insurmountable odds and discrimination, Robinson was poised to represent himself in a respectable manner with a winning, competitive spirit. Here at MMAR, we wanted to review some of his famous quotes and imagine how they might’ve inspired athletes who came after him. Enjoy.

Image credit: draftdaysuit.com
I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.
Starting this article with Tiger Woods might be divisive, and plenty of people have their opinions about the man off the golf course. One thing you can’t deny is Woods’ competitive spirit. After an arthroscopic knee procedure didn’t do the trick two months before the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods fought through intense knee pain to win the tournament in a playoff round against Rocco Mediate that has been heralded as one of the best 1x1 competitions many have seen in recent golf memory. It was Woods’ 14th Major golf championship.



Image credit: CNBC.com
Above anything else, I hate to lose.
Back in the fall of 2004, the Boston Red Sox were trying to do the impossible: beat the New York Yankees in four straight games after falling behind in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series 0-3. They turned to a determined yet hobbled Curt Schilling to take the mound in Game 6 with a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle. Schilling hated to lose and didn’t want to be the one to end the Red Sox season. The result? Seven innings of pitching brilliance while fighting through pain and soaking his sock in blood. The Red Sox went on to win the ALCS and the World Series.

Image credit: worthpoint.com
There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.
Okay, okay, we’re stretching a bit with this one back before Robinson became a famous athlete, but Olympian Jesse Owens’ performance in the 1936 Berlin Olympics speaks to racial acceptance and freedom across the board. Despite the obviously tense situation in Germany with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in power, Owens became a household name by winning four gold medals. It may have been several years later before the Nazi regime’s control ended, but a simple showing of sport and athletics by Owens spoke volumes for how the rest of the world felt about the unrest going on in Europe.

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
One of the most underrated baseball players in terms of skill and his impact on the world was Roberto Clemente. Widely considered to be the Latin American player that opened the door to Major League Baseball for future Hispanic generations, Clemente saw the importance of using his fame and fortune for good. He regularly involved himself in charity work throughout his native Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, providing children with baseball equipment to encourage the spread and popularity of the game as well as delivering food to needy families. Clemente truly understood the importance of impacting others with his life. MLB recognized it, too, making him the first Latin American inducted into their Hall of Fame and creating an award in his honor given to players that put charity first.

Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing and nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo certainly didn’t want to quit against the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals when his team was losing. After dislocating his elbow in the middle of the game, Rondo got his elbow set, treated as much as it could in the training room, and then  came back out to finish the game playing one-handed. Nobody wants to quit when he or she is losing. Boston would win the game but unfortunately lose the series.

Adversity and challenges in sports are part of what make them more than just games. They become tools for learning, improving, inspiring, and growing as a person. Visit MMAR Medical to see more ways you can improve and grow as an athlete, and sound off in the comments section below to tell us about times you overcame adversity or injury in sports to be a stronger, better person.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Prevent Common Summer Injuries

At MMAR Medical, our goal is helping you stay healthy and happy.   Keep in mind some of the most common summer injuries (below in the infographic) and learn ways to prevent or minimize your risk.  

Have you or your family had an injury this summer? What happened, and what advice do you have to others?



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

5 Safe & Fun Family-Friendly Sports

If your family never gets enough time outside, use the summer season to change things up! Running out of fun family activity ideas? Have no fear - we’ve got you covered. Here at MMAR Medical, we know that with hectic schedules, getting enough time outside can be difficult. Here is a list of 5 outdoor family activities that are fun for everyone:

Capture the Flag

Divide the family into two teams and give each team a flag – it can be anything of your choosing (even a piece of fabric). Split up your yard into two equal boxes: one box for one team and another box for the other team. Place a flag at the back line of each box and line up the players of each team on their respective flag line. Once the game starts, the players sprint to the other side and try to gather the other team’s flag to take back to their flag line. If any player is tagged in opposing territory, he’s out and must stand behind the other team’s flag line. If he brings the flag back to his home flag line, he is safe and scores a point. The team that scores 3 points first wins.

Flag Football


Flag football has been a P.E. class favorite for a long time. Why not bring it to your backyard? The rules are similar to regular football except each player has 2 foot long flags suspended from a removable belt or tucked into their shorts. The tugging off of a flag resembles the typical football tackle. So, if a player were to have his flag taken, the player is therefore “tackled.” If you want a safer way to play football, flag football is the best alternative. Invite the whole neighborhood over and get playing!

Biking
Get out your bikes and explore your neighborhood the old fashioned way. If you live in a suburban neighborhood, bike around with your kids and see all the things that you might have missed while driving. If you’re neighborhood isn’t the safest place for kids to bike, check out local nature trails or biking trails. Not only will this be a great bonding experience for your family, it will also help your kids get some necessary outside time. Tell your kids to bring a friend for added incentive to get outside!

H.O.R.S.E

If you have a basketball hoop or a neighborhood basketball court, why not take the kids over to play a good-old fashioned game of H.O.R.S.E? Decide on the order of the players: who goes first, who goes second, etc. The first player attempts a shot at the hoop from any position and any style. If the first player makes the shot, the player that follows the first player then has to mimic exactly how the first player made the shot. If the second player is not able to make the shot the same way the first player did, they get the letter “H”. If player 2 makes the shot, the third player has to attempt to make the same shot the first player made. If player 3 fails to make the shot, they get the letter “H”. Whoever makes it to HORSE first, loses the game.

Geocaching

Geocaching uses GPS units to find hidden treasure in your neighborhoods, common parks, or nature trails. There’s also an app for your phone! If your kids love to treasure hunt, then they will love geocaching. Dress your kids for the outdoors and bring along water, snacks, a pen and a few assorted trinkets (think playing cards, figurines, etc). Input the basic coordinates of the cache and try to find it with your kids! Once you find the cache, there should be a few small items around it. If you decide to take something from the cache (for memories!), then you must replace the item with one of your little trinkets. There might also be a logbook at the cache site. If so, use your handy pen to sign the guest log! The geocaching website also lists family-friendly and kid-friendly caches.

Use the summer months to get your kids active! This list is only a small selection of fun
family outdoor activities! For information on sports and injuries, check out MMAR Medical.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Best Knee Braces for Common Basketball Injuries

Basketball players are incredibly prone to knee injuries, because their sport requires them to run and jump the majority of the time. This constant movement puts an immense amount of stress on their knees, making them vulnerable to ACL, MCL and patella injuries. Knee braces can help athletes continue playing basketball after their injuries by absorbing contact shock and providing necessary support. Here's our list of the best knee braces for basketball:

1. McDavid Knee Strap for Patella Tendonitis Injuries

Patella tendonitis, otherwise known as "jumper's knee," is a common injury among basketball players. The patellar tendon is the attachment between the kneecap and shinbone and helps the leg to straighten and bend properly. Injury or overuse of this tendon from repeated movements, like jumping and changing direction, can cause irritation or inflammation to the kneecap region. The McDavid Knee Strap is perfect for this type of injury, because its non-slip buttress distributes just enough pressure to relieve the pain. Not only is it great for "jumper's knee," but it's also ideal for other issues like Osgood-Schlatter disease and patella tracking. As a one-size-fits-all band with an adjustable hook and loop, it can be strapped tighter or looser depending on the amount of tension and pressure desired.

2. Hely Weber Shields Knee Brace for MCL Injuries

A Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury is also quite common in basketball. This type of injury usually happens when the MCL is stretched or torn when the knee is forced into a knock-knee position, which is when the legs turn inward with knees touching, ankles separated. A medial-lateral brace with thigh and calf sleeves or straps, like the Hely Weber Shields Knee Brace, can significantly lessen the painful symptoms by limiting the range of medial-lateral tilt, anterior-posterior tilt and rotational motions. Controlling the kneecap and preventing hyperextension, it stabilizes the MCL and patella with its wide bi-axial hinges. And for added comfort, this knee brace is made out of perforated neoprene for cool compression and ventilation.

3. Mueller Hg80 Knee Brace for ACL Injuries

Lastly, there's the dreaded ACL injury—the stuff nightmares are made of for serious athletes. Basketball players can tear their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) by changing direction too abruptly, twisting the knee unnaturally or enduring a hit directly at the center of the knee. Despite the pain and possible surgery, the long recovery time of anywhere between 6-12 months is enough to cause significant physical and emotional deterioration. Fortunately, there are many multidirectional stability braces, like the Mueller HG80 Hinged Knee Brace, to aid in the recovery process. The Mueller HG80 supports both sides of the knee with its flexible steel springs, minimizing abnormal motion yet still permitting leg flexion and extension. In other words, it supports without restraining flexibility.

The knee braces mentioned above are designed with the main basketball movements - like pivoting, cutting, jumping and running - in mind. It's important to remember that most knee braces are not prophylactic or made for injury prevention. They are support systems for present injuries and help with daily muscle and ligament function. Check out our wide range of knee braces and supports for other options.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

DonJoy Playmaker Knee Brace vs. DonJoy Playmaker II Knee Brace

Have you always been a sports enthusiast? Being an athlete can take a toll on your body and it takes a lot of effort and care to stay fit and be in shape. Once in a while, even the fittest athlete is hit by some sort of injury.

If you are a runner or skier, or play sports such as basketball, tennis, squash, soccer, or golf, you are very likely prone to ligament tears and instabilities. Fortunately, with advances in technology, ligament troubles are not a problem.

The DonJoy Playmaker Knee Brace and the DonJoy Playmaker II Knee Brace are two braces that will allow you to keep playing the sports you love without worrying as much about future injuries. Both of these products are similar yet different. Let us take a look at both the products to help you make an informed decision as to which product would suit your purpose better.

Differences between the DonJoy Playmaker & DonJoy Playmaker II

The DonJoy Playmaker Knee Brace is a flexible brace that provides support and is made for mild to moderate knee ligament troubles. The Playmaker is a soft-hinged brace but it differs from other braces because it has an exclusive and patented arrangement of straps. These straps have been proven to reinforce and increase stability in the knee ligaments.

The Playmaker comes in two different materials. One of them is neoprene which is used mainly for surfer’s wetsuits. The other material is called Drytex and is lightweight and more breathable than neoprene. Drytex helps during warm weather due to better airflow. The Playmaker can also be worn in water and you can use a cover over the brace to prevent the water current from loosening the straps. In addition, the Playmaker can be worn in either leg which gives you the option of buying just one.

Also, you can choose from a sleeve or wraparound Playmaker. With the sleeve, you will have to slide it onto your foot, while the wraparound with its Velcro straps can be opened and placed on the knee directly. Finally the Playmaker Brace comes in seven different sizes to suit your needs.

On the other hand, the DonJoy Playmaker II Knee Brace is very similar to the Playmaker Knee Brace. It is meant to help with ligament tears and instabilities. Also, the Playmaker II also comes in seven different sizes to choose from. It also comes in two different materials, Neoprene and Spacer. The Playmaker II has been further enhanced with Hi10, which is a high tenacity nylon/spandex fabric. This offers supreme comfort and fit making it very comfortable to pursue any kind of sport. The spacer fabric further adds to the comfort by providing a cool environment.

Finally, the Playmaker II continues to use the same design as the Playmaker Knee Brace with molded strap tabs which assist with effortless adjustment of the knee brace.

So what are you waiting for? Pick your knee brace today and enjoy the freedom of playing your loved sport.

MMAR Medical carries a huge selection of sports braces that will help you get back on your feet after an injury. Visit our store for our entire selection of therapy products.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

ACL Injury Trivia: Famous ACL Injuries in Sports

An ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury can often spell the end of a career for some athletes. Hearing the famous "pop" of the ACL normally means the end of the season and the beginning of a long journey to recovery. However, an end of the season certainly doesn't mean the end of a career for these nine athletes. Here at MMAR Medical, we put together a quick trivia quiz of famous ACL injuries in sports. We brought together soccer knee injuries, football players with ACL injuries and basketball players who were also affected by tearing their ACL in our trivia.

See if you can guess these famous athletes' ACL injuries before you check the answers under the pictures.

NFL

1. Which Minnesota Vikings player broke the all-time record for rushing yards in a season in the NFL a year after he tore his ACL?

2. How many yards did Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles rush in the 2012 NFL season – just a year after he tore his ACL?

3. Which Patriots player, in the same year he tore his ACL, finished the 2010 season with 86 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns in his total 15 games played?

NBA

1. How many months did it take Kendrick Perkins to return to basketball after rehabbing his ACL tear?

2. Which Indiana Pacers player played all 82 games the year after he tore his ACL?

3. Baron Davis was the number ____ pick in the 1999 NBA draft after he tore his ACL in that same year.

Soccer

1. After he was out for 12 months due to a torn ACL, which soccer player holds several records for Juventus, including the club’s top scorer and the club's most appearances?

2. In 2000, this soccer player missed the last two months of the season but still came out with plenty of awards, including top assist maker in the League, FWA footballer of the year and Arsenal's player of the season.

3. The following season after Michael Owen tore his ACL in the 2006 World Cup, he broke Gary Lineker's record for most ________________________ for England.

Answers


NFL

1. Adrian Peterson

2. 1,509 yards

3. Wes Welker

NBA

1. 6 months

2. Al Harrington

3. Third pick

Soccer

1. Alessandro Del Piero

2. Most Goals in Competitive Internationals

3. Third pick

ACL injuries are painful and disruptive, but they don’t always have to mean ending your career. Use these nine athletes as inspiration for your recovery period and you’ll be back on the field or the court in no time. For more information on ACL injuries and more visit our website MMAR Medical.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Yoga Benefits Athletes & the Everyman

While the discipline is several thousand years old, yoga has only been known in the western world since about 1890, when it was first introduced by Hindu teacher Swami Vivekananda.

Yoga gained great popularity in the 1960s, primarily as a spiritual practice, and then again in the 1980s as a more physical discipline. Though it struggled to gain broad support at first, nowadays, there’s a whole new group discovering yoga’s many benefits.

World-Class Athletes Awaken to Age-Old Training Routines
An interesting conversation took place at dinner awhile back between two friends, both world-class athletes: Mark Henderson, gold-medal Olympian and three-time World Champion swimmer and Rich Roll, two-time Ultraman World Champion and one of the world's twenty-five fittest men. Their chatter turned to yoga, where both shared their history; Roll had been practicing yoga for more than 14 years while Henderson was a fairly recent convert. Almost simultaneously, both lamented the fact that they had not tried yoga when they were at the height of their competition years.

In their conversation, they agreed the benefits and results of yoga for athletes included:
  • Immediate increase in strength
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Better sleep
  • Both agreed that yoga can greatly benefit any person's life, both physically and mentally, even asserting that athletes not engaging in a yoga practice were at a disadvantage.
A Regimen to Benefit Anyone

Just as there are different styles of yoga, there are also different levels within each, such as Hatha Yoga. Some classes are gentle and soothing while others are geared more toward power and endurance. Depending on your particular needs, you should choose a yoga exercise program that best suits you personally. Some of the benefits you can expect to obtain through regular practice include those praised by Henderson and Roll like:
  • Increased strength – something from which athletes and non-athletes will benefit, this includes building lean muscle mass, developing underused core muscles and improving overall strength.
  • Improved flexibility – important to any serious athlete but also to the less avid golfer or tennis player. As flexibility typically wanes with age, yoga will help the practitioner retain flexibility that, in turn, will decrease the chance of sustaining future injuries.
  • Stress relief – while some may want to punch a bag to relieve stress, typically this produces aggression and fatigue. Yoga, on the other hand, relieves stress through its calming, relaxing effects. Yoga practice works your body and mind simultaneously. Single-focused concentration is important to any dedicated athlete, but no less important than in one's work or home environment.
  • Mental acuity – while some yoga adherents may look at the activity primarily for its physical benefits, there is a time at the end of most every yoga class workout where one lies still and quietly, slipping into a period of meditation. For many, this is the most important part of the session as it allows one to block out the endless noise and chatter usually going through the mind and to control random mental impulses. Looking at the results between top-class winning athletes and those who can be termed "also-rans," you'll see most of the difference lies not in the physical training but in the mental preparation.
Yoga can give you the winning edge, both on and off the playing field.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Best Exercises to do Post ACL Surgery

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery is dreaded by every athlete around the world and marked as a career killer. Although it can take constant dedication and work to regain your strength and flexibility, it is possible. To do this, your doctor may suggest that you work with a physical therapist throughout your recovery period. Their goal is to prevent you from trying to take on too much exercise too soon, all while trying to avoid any further muscle loss. It is important to have a workout routine that will enhance your recovery after ACL surgery and help you maintain knee mobility and strength.

Here at MMAR Medical, we took it upon ourselves to make a list of a few exercises for ACL rehab.

Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises

  1. Straight leg raises. A straight leg raise is imperative in regaining full extension. To perform a straight leg raise, lay flat on your back and bend the uninjured leg at the knee while keeping the injured leg straight. Lift the straight leg up off the floor. Hold this position and then lower your leg back to the ground. Remember to do this exercise slowly during your first few weeks of recovery.
  2. Hamstring Curls. Without the muscles in the back of the thigh, the knee muscles would lack support. You can do a hamstring curl in a standing or laying position. In order to do a standing hamstring curl, you should stand with your feet apart and slowly bend your knee to lift your foot off the floor towards the back of your thigh. This is a great balance exercise that also provides a fantastic stretch.
  3. Hip flexion and extension. This is one of the best exercises after ACL surgery. It is a fantastic way to increase your mobility, especially if you need a rest from bending your knee. A hip flexion is when you keep your leg straight as you move it forward to the front and the extension is when you keep your leg straight as you move your leg to the back. This will also help your balance and your flexibility.

Low Impact Exercises

  1. Light jogging and treadmills. If you’re ready for a more intense exercise, light jogging will help you warm up and get your blood circulating. Over time, you will see your endurance and your mobility increasing.
  2. Cycling. Biking will increase your heart rate and give your knee a work out. Whether you use a stationary bike or a fully mobile bike, make sure that you remain safe. The last thing you want to do is reinjure your knee.
  3. Swimming. Unlike running or cycling, swimming will take a lot of pressure off of your knee. Swimming has been widely considered as a great therapeutic exercise for almost any injury. With the added resistance of the water, swimming will slowly help build the strength of your knee.

Before you perform any of these activities, make sure to consult your doctor or physical therapist first. Throughout your many weeks of ACL surgery recovery, you will continue to build strength and see progress. It’s important to remember that everyone progresses at a different pace. Know your limitations and celebrate any improvements. For more information on ACL reconstruction, ACL sprains, and knee surgery recovery, check out our injuries page.