Thursday, June 17, 2010

Do My Children Need Orthotics?

It is important to pay attention to the development of your children’s feet as the first few years of walking will impact how their feet develop for the rest of their lives. Long term flat footedness that is left untreated can lead to back pain, leg pain and several other conditions.

Flat feet usually occur when the longitudinal arch fails to develop entirely, resulting in a collapsed arch which leaves the entire sole of the foot coming into contact with the ground. For some people this only occurs in one foot (unilaterally) but for others, it occurs in both (bilaterally).

In infants, flat feet are common and to be expected – this is due in part to “baby fat,” which masks the developing arch and need not cause worry in parents. The development of the arch occurs over the course of a child’s infancy and early years. To aid your child’s arch structure development allow them to walk barefoot on varying terrain and exercise often.

Doctors typically prescribe orthotic aids to children with flat footedness starting from a very young age. Conditions of flat footedness and other problems are noticeable from the age a child begins to walk so specially designed shoes and insoles can be implemented early on to prevent worsening of the problem.

Usually around 4 or 6 years of age the arch should be fully developed. Symptoms and identifying factors of flat footedness become very apparent around this time and parents will bring in their children for evaluation if they notice distinct problems with mobility or if the child complains of pains.

Symptoms of Flat Footedness (Pes Planus):
  1. If a child begins to walk oddly or clumsily, for example on the outer edges of the feet

  2. If a child limps

  3. If he or she feels foot pain or fatigue during walks

Children who complain about calf muscle pains or any other pains around the foot area or knee may be developing or have flat feet.
For younger children, or those with less severe conditions, simply allowing them the opportunity to develop arches – with foot gymnastic exercises, barefoot walking or walking on moldable terrain like sand can help develop their arches.

As with any medical condition, seeing a specialist such as a podiatrist will allow for a better diagnosis of your child’s situation. For many children with less severe arch impediments, support braces and orthotic insoles can help alleviate the problem. In other, more severe, circumstances custom-fit ankle or foot braces can be crafted for your child to wear. Sometimes they only need use an orthotic brace for a period of time before the problem is fixed.

In some cases of persistent pain and flat footedness physical therapy and/or surgery may be the only options available. Consulting a doctor will provide you with the information you need to keep your children’s feet healthy!

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale medical supplier specializing in diabetic footwear, orthotic inserts and various support braces. Please visit for more information.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Identifying Carpal Tunnel

Symptoms and Causes of a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an increasingly common problem, affecting between 4 and 10 million Americans, many of whom self diagnose their symptoms as something else. Since the symptoms of carpal tunnel are typically non-severe many of those suffering from CTS assume that their pain or suffering is temporary and due to some external condition.

In truth, many small signs may be indicative of Carpal Tunnel. Of course, it is important to get checked out by a physician in order to make sure that the symptoms are indeed causative of CTS and not another condition. As with most health issues, the sooner one identifies the root of the problem, the sooner it can be taken care of. With many patients, CTS can be remedied with the use of wrist supports and exercises, while more severe cases will require surgery.

Most symptoms of CTS begin as infrequent occurrences and progress gradually over a few weeks or months. In the beginning, pain may be subtle so many patients may not even notice until the symptom worsens over time.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel:

  1. Numb Hands/ Numb Fingers: numbness usually affects the first four fingers (thumb - ring finger) and the palm; patients may lose the ability to sense heat or cold

  2. Hand and/or Wrist Pain: one of the first symptoms, generally occurs on the palm side

  3. Tingling Fingers: typically between the thumb and middle finger of the affected hand, sometimes also the ring finger; the fifth finger usually lacks these sensations

  4. Weakness: may be unable to grasp items and have a tendency to drop things; loss of motor skills in hands

  5. Swelling Sensation: patients may feel that their hands are swollen even if no swelling is visible

  6. Arm Pain: hand or wrist pain may extend to the forearm/upper arm

  7. Poor circulation: hands are cold while forearms/upper arms are warm; hands fall asleep often

Additional symptoms of CTS (which may also be linked to other health issues) include high blood pressure and sleeplessness. Of course, both of these may be pre-existing conditions and not indicative of a development in carpal tunnel syndrome.

Many people who suffer from CTS do so because of environmental factors – such as workspace issues and repetition of a specific motion, but for some the condition may be hereditary. For either situation, the issue is the same – the carpal tunnel has been compromised. In congenital cases, this typically means that the carpal tunnel is smaller than that of most people. In the case of external reasons, there are a few commonly identified practices that can lead to the onset of CTS. In either case, it is important to go to a doctor so he or she can assess the severity of your condition and help decide if wrist supports or a hand splint may aid your recovery or if surgery may be the answer.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel:

  1. Sprains/Fracture

  2. Over activity of the pituitary gland

  3. Hypothyroidism

  4. Rheumatoid arthritis

  5. Work stress

  6. Fluid retention in pregnancy/menopause

  7. Repeated use of high-force vibrating hand tools

Many other causes of CTS are known, so be sure to consult a physician to make a correct diagnosis of your condition.

Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports and a full line of diabetic shoes. For quality wrist and back braces, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Technorati Code


Back Stretches for Relieving Back Pain

If you suffer chronic back pain, stretching is an excellent pain management strategy. Not only does stretching feel good, it also increases your range of motion, enhances flexibility and reduces the likelihood of further injury.

There are several stretches that target the back specifically. Garard Malanga, the Director of Pain Management at New Jersey’s Overlook Hospital, suggests starting with gentle neck stretches. If you loosen up the neck muscles, you will also reduce the tension in your upper back. Always stretch slowly, to the point of tension rather than pain. Hold the stretch for approximately 10 to 20 seconds, and do not bounce. If you feel to urge to bounce, you are probably stretching too far. And don’t forget to breathe deeply when you stretch!

The following five stretches will help alleviate pain and feel great.

Stretch #1
  1. Sit in a chair with feet flat on the ground

  2. Curl /arch your back and neck slowly forward until you chest meets your thighs

  3. Reach to the ground (touching it if you can)

  4. Hold for 10 seconds

  5. Return to neutral seated position and repeat 10 times

Stretch #2
  1. Kneel on all fours

  2. Arch your back towards the ceiling like a cat

  3. Hold for 5 seconds

  4. Return to the neutral position

  5. Now push your stomach towards the floor (mirror to the cat stretch)

  6. Hold for 5 seconds

  7. Return to neutral position and repeat this stretch 10 times

Stretch #3
  1. Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor

  2. Grab the back on your thighs and pull them towards your chest until a comfortable stretch is felt

  3. Hold for 15 seconds

  4. Repeat 10 times

Stretch #4
  1. Continue lying on your back, knees bent, feet resting flat on the ground

  2. Rotate your hips to the left until you feel the stretch, keeping your entire back flat to the floor

  3. Hold for 10 seconds, then rotate slowly, smoothly to the other side

  4. Repeat 10 times

Stretch #5
  1. Last stretch – continue lying on your back, feet flat on the floor

  2. Push down, through the feet, and slowly, smoothly lift your gluts towards the ceiling

  3. Hold for ten seconds

  4. Repeat 10 times

Couple a solid stretching routine, with a quality back brace, and you should feel tremendous relief from your chronic back pain.

Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. To find a quality back brace, including a high quality lumbar brace, please visit

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why does my back hurt?

As we’ve previously mentioned, many Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives – 8 in 10 of us roughly. For some, back pain is chronic and severe enough to lead them to seek medical help and for a percentage of people that back pain is symptomatic of a larger health issue.

Fortunately for us, most back pain is temporary and easily alleviated. Back pain sometimes comes about because we have been sitting hunched in front of a computer for many hours, for others because of strenuous physical labor. For the easy fixes, exercise, a back pain brace or another simple fix can quickly lessen your pain.

Some common causes of back pain can be easily identified so as to make them avoidable – or, at least, fixable.

  1. Strained muscles: the most common cause of back pain is an injury to a muscle (strain) or a ligament (sprain). Muscle strains cause up to 85% of back pain experienced. How do you pull a muscle? By overloading it. When you overstretch a muscle, you essentially tear it which causes inflammation, muscles spasms and pain. Lifting heavy weights, pulling on your back instead of using your legs and abs, unexpected twisting or falling down are some of the ways in which back muscles can be pulled.

  2. Muscle overuse: overusing your muscles means that one group of muscles is being held in tension for too long – this occurs when you remain in one position for too long (such as sitting down) or only work out one muscle group to the detriment of others. The body was made to move and our multiple muscle groups have distinct duties – when one muscle or group of muscles is forced to work harder and/or longer than others, they tire and cause us pain. Lumbar support can often alleviate lower back pain due to poor posture or prolonged seating, while other back brace and supports can help mid-torso pains.

  3. Nerve pressure: pressure on the nerve roots in the spinal canal can be caused by a herniated disc in the lower back. Herniated discs occur when repeated vibration or motion are applied to the back. Sometimes herniated discs occur simply because of old age due to normal wear and tear as vertebrae and spinal discs become less flexible. In most cases, symptoms of a herniated disc can be managed with nonsurgical treatment and will go away over time.

  4. Stress: it is well documented that stress wreaks physical havoc on the body – from gastrointestinal disturbances to headaches. Add back pain to that list too. Tension caused by stress and internal turmoil can manifest itself along your spine and cause pain. Acupuncture, exercise, meditation and yoga have all been shown to help as has physical therapy which can be undertaken for as little as two months with results.

Of course, back pain that is extreme in discomfort, prolonged, or accompanied by other symptoms (fever, vomiting etc) ought to be checked out by a doctor to ensure that more serious conditions are not an issue.

Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. For quality back braces, including a wide lumbar and cervical braces, please visit MMAR Medical online.