Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Diabetic Foot Care

Approximately one fifth of diabetic Americans are hospitalized for foot-related problems at some point in their lives. Many symptoms of diabetes contribute to the risk of foot infection. Diabetics often experience thick calluses which can break and develop into ulcers. Another possible symptom of diabetes is poor circulation which - in turn - impairs the body’s ability to heal, repair and fend off infection. Diabetes can also lead to neuropathy, severe nerve damage that limits sensation in extremities. Because of nerve damage, a diabetic may not even feel the pain of an injury or infection, allowing wounds to go unnoticed and thus worsen. When a wound is left untreated for too long, it can become infected. Medical treatment can include antibiotics, hospitalization, and – in extreme circumstances - amputation. The feet are particularly vulnerable as they are often out of sight and difficult to inspect. For these many reasons, it is vitally importance that diabetics practice thoughtful, rigorous foot care.

The following are recommended tips for keeping your feet happy and healthy!

  • Always wear appropriate diabetic shoes or slippers and NEVER walk around barefoot. Choosing the right footwear is critical to foot health as the majority of diabetic foot injuries are the result of poor fitting shoes. Shoes for diabetics should not be too tight or narrow. They should be constructed from comfortable, breathable material and feature mesh vents to ventilate the shoes, decreasing moisture, which tends to bred bacteria. Pair a high quality pair of diabetic shoes with seamless socks or compression stockings.

  • Regularly check your feet for any sign of calluses, blisters, sores, or injuries. Make it a daily ritual, perhaps something you complete right after brushing your teeth and before bed. Use a hand mirror to inspect those hard-to-see places. If that doesn’t work, have a family member check your feet for you.

  • Wash your feet every day and after rigorous exercise or activity. Use soap and warm water – test the temperature with your elbow if you have difficulty discerning the temperature. Do NOT soak feet. Prolonged soaking can lead to dry, cracked skin.

  • After washing your feet, use an emery board carefully file down calluses. Do not over-file as that can lead to sores and bleeding – which is exactly what you are trying to avoid.

  • Use a light coat of lotion after you wash and file. Be careful not to slather on lotion or allow it to trap between the toes as this creates an excellent environment for bacteria to breed. Massage in the lotion until it is completely absorbed.

  • Trim your nails as needed. Most people find once a week or every other week works best. Shape the nail to the contour of your toes and be careful to not trim them too short. File the edges to prevent snagging nails that can tear.

  • Never ignore foot issues of any kind. If you discover a cut, treat it immediately. If you notice as of the following, contain your physician immediately: swelling, cracks around the heel, calluses that bleed, nail issues, open sores, changes in color of the skin, pain in your legs, or changes in skin temperature.

  • Visit your doctor for an annual foot check-up. Ask if they have any concerns or can recommend any products for improving your foot care regimen.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or be taken as medical advice. For more information related to your unique situation, please speak with your personal physician.
About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of high quality medical products including a wide selection of diabetic shoes, cold therapy systems and medical orthopedic braces, including arthritis knee braces. To find quality medical shoulder, knee, back braces and more, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ACL Tear Treatments - ACL Surgery

The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is one of four key knee ligaments. The ACL attaches the tibia to the femur, keeping the shin bone in place, and is critically important to knee movement and stability. An ACL strain or tear is one of the most common knee injuries and individuals who have suffered an ACL injury often complain that their knee “gives out” or buckles as the joint's overall stability has been compromised.

While there are many, many ways to tears one’s ACL, the most common is high impact sports where the knee is forced to make sharp movements. High probability sports include football, skiing, rugby, and soccer. 80% of ACL tears occur in a non-contact situation where the knee is simply pushed beyond its capabilities. The other 20% result when there is a direct impact from another player or players. Research has also shown that women involved in sports are far more likely to sustain ACL tears than men. This is likely due to weight distribution and how the female hips situate the knees.

How Can I Tell if I Have Injured My ACL?

ACL injury’s result is pain, swelling and knee instability. A physician or sports doctor can either conduct special tests or an MRI to decide the degree to which the ACL is injured and if other ligaments where torn as well. It is quite common for multiple ligaments to be injured simultaneously. An ACL injury can lead to significant long-term knee instability and for this reason, many seriously injured individuals opt for surgery. ACL Surgery is certainly not required, however. Torn ligaments, including the ACL, can heal on their own and some individuals prefer physical rehab rather than undergoing the knife.

Should I Have Surgery for My ACL Injury?

If you have a complete tear, it is very likely that surgery is your best option, but if you have a partial tear, you will need to evaluate your situation and decide whether or not surgery is right for you.

There are several things to consider when evaluating ACL surgery, including:

  • What is the extent of your injury? Is it a small tear or something more substantial? The more extensive the injury, the longer non-surgical rehabilitation will take.

  • How important is a healthy ACL to your lifestyle? Do you play high impact sports? Are there certain activities that are critical to your quality of life that you are not willing to give up, such as skiing or soccer?

  • After several weeks of recuperation, does your knee feel "normal" or do you experience knee instability? Does it cause you pain or significant anxiety? Does it impede your ability to do important activities?

What to Expect with ACL Reconstruction

The surgery for an ACL tear is called ACL reconstruction. It is a procedure done under general anesthesia, meaning the patient is "asleep" for the operation. The surgery replaces the damaged ACL with healthy tissue from elsewhere in your body (autograpgh) or a donor (allograft), usually using tissue from the knee cap or hamstring tendons . The procedure is executed with a tiny knee arthoscopy camera which the surgeon will use to observe and treat the affected area. The new tissue is usually attached with screws or similar devices. After the surgery is complete, the patient will need to wear a post-surgical knee brace to support and stabilize the knee during rehabilitation.

ACL reconstruction surgery is fairly common and usually quite successful (90+%). There are, however, risks associated with any major medical operation. For ACL reconstruction the risks include infection, stiffness, the continuance of instability or pain, and difficulty performing certain tasks.

After surgery, the patient will undergo a rigorous rehabilitation period. Rehabilitation focuses on returning range of motion and building of muscles to support the knee and prevent future injury. It is recommended that the patient continue to strengthen their leg muscles as it will provide the best long-term knee stability. Many patients also choose to wear an ACL brace when they engage in at-risk activities –especial sports. Finding the right medical knee brace can increase confidence and performance.

About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of high quality medical products including a wide selection of medical orthopedic braces and supports, including ACL braces, patella stabilizers, and hinged knee braces. To find quality medical shoulder, knee, back braces and more, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Coping with Your Child’s Scoliosis

Discovering that your child has been living with an unusual physical condition like scoliosis can be very traumatic for parents. Family members ask themselves, "How did we not know?" "When did this start?" "What could we have done?" While there is a normal feeling of guilt and angst that comes with learning your child has scoliosis, it is important to focus on helping your child physically and emotionally to get through this difficult time.

Understanding Scoliosis

The first thing you should do is learn about your child’s condition. There are a number of resources you can utilize to solidify your understanding of scoliosis. You can browse medical websites, talk to other parents or youths with scoliosis and most importantly, talk to your doctor to obtain credible information about scoliosis. It’s important to realize that scoliosis is not a disease or syndrome – it is a condition. It is a curvature of the spine that becomes evident in adolescents during their growth spurt.

The severity of the curve varies greatly by individual case. This severity is what determines the physical risks your child may have. It is crucial that a medical professional diagnose your child’s severity based on x-rays and monitor its progress. It is important that you as a parent to be involved with your child’s care and medical attention. Ask questions and educate yourself so that you can offer real support to your child.

Emotionally Supporting your Child

Scoliosis can be incredibly hard on your child. This condition occurs normally during puberty, an already confusing and trying time for a child. He or she will need positive support and encouragement as they try to understand this condition they’ve been burdened with. If you approach this condition with an optimistic and prepared attitude, your child will too. Your child may mask feelings of fear, anxiety or anger with unusual outbursts, isolation, moodiness or passiveness. You will need to be ready to offer a shoulder as your child learns to understand and accept their condition.

Proactively Seeking Treatment

The majority of scoliosis cases do not require surgery. Surgery is required when the curvature is very extreme and is putting other organs, like the lungs or heart, at risk. Most likely, if your child is still growing, your doctor may recommend wearing a brace. While wearing a brace will not cure or reverse the condition of your child’s scoliosis, it may prevent worsening of the curve. A brace should be worn as many hours a day as possible.

Most likely, your doctor will recommend a thoracolumbosacral orthosis, or TSLO brace. This is a tight fitting brace unnoticeable under clothes and goes under your arms and around the ribcage. In cases where your doctor believes a TSLO brace would not be enough, he may recommend a CTO brace or Milwaukee brace. This type of brace is a full-torso brace and has rests for the chin and neck.

Regardless of the treatment your child needs, the support and love you show your child are invaluable. This type of condition is difficult for both the patient and his/her loved ones, but it is important to keep the focus on the child as they struggle to fight scoliosis.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of orthopedic braces and supports. From top quality post-operative back braces to a wide selection of arthritis knee braces, MMAR Medical has bracing and support solutions for everyone.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tips for Avoiding Skiing and Snow Boarding Injuries

Snow sports have a reputation for being notoriously injury-prone recreational activities. Fast speeds, slippery surfaces and vulnerable ligaments make for a tricky combination! That said, according to statistics on, only about 4 in one thousand people on the slopes per day will sustain an injury that requires professional medical attention. Unfortunately, some of these injuries can be quite serious and persistent. The most common slope injuries include head injury, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, spinal injuries, as well as thumb and wrist injuries. Treatments vary from something as simple as RICE (rest, ice, compress and elevate), to more significant approaches such as surgery, lifelong medical ligament bracing and even hospitalization. For this reason, it is important to take steps to prevent injury so that you can fully enjoy your time on the slopes.

1. Use equipment professionally adjusted to your physique. If you own your equipment, have it checked regularly - at least once a season - by a professional. Never borrow gear from a friend as this increases the likelihood of an accident by an incredible 800%. If you rent, make sure you have a professional adjust the gear to fit you perfectly. When they ask your ability, never overstate as this will affect your bindings and ski length significantly. It is better to skew gear adjustments towards beginner than to a more advanced stage. Likewise, boots should fit snug against the ankle… too loose and your ankle can twist or worse.
2. Equip your children with safety gear. When it comes to snow sports, children are at particularly high risk of injury. After all, kids lack the muscle control and personal judgment that comes with experience. They can make reckless decisions or simply struggle with manual dexterity. Approximately 35% of all snow sport injuries involve children and for this reason, it is critical that children wear helmets when they are participating in skiing or snowboarding. While harder to find, children’s wrist guards are extremely helpful as well, particularly with snowboarding.
3. Wear safety gear and braces. Kids are not the only snow bunnies at risk of injury. Consider wearing a protective helmet and wrist guards at all times. If you have a lingering injury, such as a torn ligament, equip the compromised joint with a supportive hinged knee brace.
4. Professional instruction is worth the investment. Beginner skiers are also at higher risk of injury so it is worth investing is some professional instruction. A few classes will help beginners develop good (i.e. safe) habits and techniques. Be forewarned, though. Instruction can also lead to a bit of overconfidence. Be careful not to push yourself beyond your comfort and ability.
5. Always warm up before hitting the slopes. Before your first run, take a few minutes to gently stretch out your legs, especially your hamstrings, quads, and hips. Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds. Each stretch should feel pleasantly firm but not painful. After you stretch, suit up in your safety gear, including any medical braces for previous injuries, then start your day on the mountain with a few lighter runs to get your blood flowing.
6. Take regular breaks throughout the day. Snow sports are so much fun it is easy to lose track of time. Between the fun and the adrenalin, it is difficult to feel how tired by muscles might be. Many avid skiers and snowboarders will keep active all day, not fully registering just how tired their body is. A fatigued body is more susceptible to injury and that is why most adult injuries occur after lunchtime, when our bodies are exhausted. Regular breaks will allow you to rest, and recover.
7. Don’t ski alone. As with any outdoor activity, it is best not to go alone. You may fall and become incapacitated. Always have a partner and ensure that you keep within sight of each other just in case trouble arises.
8. Stay on marked trails. Do not stray off marked slopes or paths as you may encounter exposed rocks, vegetation, steep slopes, avalanche areas or even dangerous cliffs.
9. Be familiar with the weather conditions. Always research the weather conditions before hitting the slopes. Not only should you avoid extreme weather such as blizzards, but consider foregoing icy conditions, extremely deep powder snow, and wet snow as these environments enhance the likelihood for injury.
10. Know your limitations. It may be tempting – especially if you ski or board with more experienced friends - but do not attempt slopes or speeds beyond your ability.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of high quality medical orthopedic braces and supports, including ACL braces, patella stabilizers, hinged knee braces and OA knee braces. To find quality medical shoulder, knee, back braces and more, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winter Weather Joint & Brace FAQs

Can you wear a medical brace out in the snow?

Are your support braces water proof or water resistant?

Will I require more support when my joints are cold?

With winter weather upon us, it’s important to take some time to get the answers to your questions on how seasonal changes affect your health and how you use your braces during chillier months.

Does arthritis get worse in cold weather?

  • Despite conflicting reports and anecdotal evidence from arthritis sufferers, medical evidence does not conclusively support the idea that arthritis worsens in cold weather. That said, when atmospheric pressure drops during a cold front, the tissues in your joints may react by expanding with the decrease in pressure. This change may put additional pressure on the joints resulting in pain and the stiff feeling in joints.

  • Other medical studies suggest that commonly during the darker, colder winter season, moods and pain thresholds drop; therefore, people may ‘feel’ the pain more so than during ‘happier’ months.

  • Another key to why joint pain spikes during winter? People are less likely to exercise during the winter months, and physical movement is key to healthily managing arthritis.

Winter solution: Be sure to continue your exercise regimen during the cold months. Not only will exercise improve overall joint function but it is also a tremendous mood booster. Likewise, continue using your arthritic gloves or arthritis knee brace just as you would during warmer months. Be sure to bundle up and keep your body warm to avoid tissue expansion in the joints and additional arthritic pain.

I want to ski and snow board! What knee brace can I use for support?

  • If you’re thinking about skiing or snowboarding this season, make sure your orthopedic doctor has given you the go ahead to exercise.

  • A quality knee brace will provide support and aid in injury prevention without limiting mobility, look for a brace made out of neoprene - the same material used in wet suits - which is designed to handle intense moisture as well as protect the skin against the cold.

  • If you need more than just the light support of a neoprene brace, a hinged knee brace provides support for post-op knee patients who wish to continue vigorous physical activity.

Winter solution: You do not need to worry about water proofing neoprene to protect it from the snow. For other types of braces, wear water resistant pants on top of the brace to prevent water from weathering it or voiding warranties.

What is the difference between waterproof and water resistant products?

Waterproof: Waterproof indicates that water will not enter, leave or damage the item under any circumstances; the item is impervious to water.
Water resistant: Water resistant materials resist water though cannot completely prevent water from passing through the material. Typically, water resistant items can repel water up to a certain degree based on amount of time saturated with water but under certain circumstances, would eventually be permeated by the water.

Winter solutions: Look for medical support braces that are water resistant as your brace may be exposed to increased moisture from snowfall. You can always wear a water resistant pant or waterproof slip over the brace as an additional precaution.

Is there any way to add water resistant protection to a brace I already own?

Yes, there are a number of water resistant sprays that you can easily apply to your brace. Some of these sprays may affect warranties, so be sure to review your brace's warranty prior to apply any third party solvents.

I am worried about slipping on the ice and injuring myself further. What can I do?

  • Prior to the winter ice and snow, make sure your high traffic areas outside have hand rails you can use for support when walking.

  • Look for shoes that have substantial traction on the bottom to give additional support when walking on icy grounds.

  • Be sure to shovel snow and ice away so that you have an accessible and safe walking route.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces and supports. From top quality post-operative back braces to a wide selection of arthritis knee braces, MMAR Medical has bracing and support solutions for everyone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Exercise for Mature Adults

No matter your age, exercise is vital for maintaining a healthy heart and bone mass. Experts recommend that all adults exercise at least 2.5 hours a week, but 5 hours a week for maximum health benefits. If you’re suffering an injury, consult a professional before beginning an exercise program and always, only exercise to the extent that your condition or physical state allows. Remember not to overexert yourself at the beginning – it will only cause injuries and delay progress.

As you age, external and internal challenges may prevent you from engaging in certain exercises – discomfort, disability, fear of injury or fatigue may come into play. Overcome these anxieties by knowing that exercise and strength training need not be intense and will actually help increase your balance and bone strength which in turn protects you from injuries and boosts energy levels. It’s one of life’s rare win-win-wins.

For maximum health benefits, it is optimal to engage in moderate exercise throughout your life, not just when you age, but of course it is never too late to start. Doctors note that bone loss and loss of flexibility begin as early as your 30s; therefore, it’s never too early to think about how exercise will aid you as you age. This guide reviews the major components of an elderly exercise plan: cardiovascular exercise, strength training, balance and flexibility work, and rest.

  • Cardiovascular Exercise: With heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States, cardiovascular exercise undoubtedly holds extreme importance. Depending on your current endurance level, incorporate a goal of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day. You can start with 5 or 10 minute sessions and work your way up to 30 minutes; it’s more important that you get in the habit of working out your heart and exercise at a level appropriate for your condition rather than hit 30 minute work outs.

    • Brisk Walking: low impact, can be done anywhere! Ask a spouse, family member, friend or neighbor to join you in your endurance exercises – it creates accountability for you to continue with the program

    • Swimming: even more low impact than walking! Join a gym and try out a water aerobics class or simply grab some flippers and create your own swimming workout..

    • Stationary Bike: takes the weight off the knees! Stationary bikes give a great alternative for those with weak knees who also want back support. You don’t have to worry about balancing on a stationary bike; therefore, they are a safer idea for the elder exercising

    • Dancing: fun and a good heart work out! Many elders enjoy dancing and it’s an excellent form of exercise as well as a social outlet.

  • Strength Training: Often overlooked as an important part to an exercise program for older adults, strength training is beneficial to an adult exerciser. Sick of wearing your back braces? Strength training helps combat osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, obesity and back pain, among other ailments. With falls as the leading cause of injury related death in adults over 65, strength training helps develop the muscles to balance and avoid potentially fatal falls.

    • Squats: Use a stable chair for this exercise. Begin seated, with your hands on your hips. Push with your legs as you rise to stand from the chair. Repeat 10 – 12 times. You can modify this for additional balance stabilization or support by placing the chair in front of a counter, or other stable and strong surface, and using the counter to balance as you hoist yourself upright. This works the legs, hip flexors and balance.

    • Bicep Curls: In a seated or upright standing position, hold a weight in both extended hands with your palms facing up. Curl in your arms toward your chest. Squeeze as you curl your arms in and hold for 5 seconds. Slowly release and uncurl. Repeat 10 – 12 times. This works your arms.

    • Shoulder Shrugs: Stand upright and hold a light weight in each of your hands (try a can of soup to start). Shrug your shoulders to your ears, and then lower to normal. You can modify by adding more weight. Repeat 10 – 12 times. Shoulder shrugs work your back, shoulders and balance.

    • Toe Raises: Stand upright in front of a counter or chair (to use for balance). Slowly raise up on your toes, off your heels. Stand on the balls of your feet for 5 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10 – 12 times. It can be modified if you’re using an ankle brace or other support braces. This works ankles and balance

    • Wall Pushups: Face a wall, standing about an arm’s length away. Have your feet planted shoulder-width apart and firmly on the ground. Lean forward as you place your palms on the wall and bend your elbows, completing the push up. Pause in the push up position for a few seconds, and then extend your arms. Repeat 10-12 times. These work your arms, back and balance.

    • Modified V Ups: Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Slowly and carefully raise your knees and swing your arms around your shins to “hug” them in. Next, (provided your ability) drop both knees slowly to the right. Raise them back to the middle and switch, dropping them to the left. Work to 10-12 repetitions. This works your abdomen, back and hip flexors.

  • Balance and Flexibility: Working on balance and flexibility develops the muscles and strength to prevent dangerous falls in the elderly.

    • Flamingo Stands: Stand in front of a stable support, like a doorway or counter. Shift all your weight to your right foot and on your right foot alone. Alternate legs.

    • Heel-Toe Walk: Walk slowly and carefully, placing the heel of one foot on the ground directly in front of the toes of another foot. For increased modification, walk heel-toe backwards.

    • Knee Marching: Stand by a counter to use for support if you get wobbly during the knee marches. Raise one knee as high as you comfortably can and tap it with the alternating hand. Lower that knee and then alternate knees.

  • Rest and Recover: Listening to your body and taking time to rest is important at any age, but especially when exercising as an older adult. Don’t overexert yourself, but recognize that exercise is vital to keeping you healthy and strong as you age..

    • If you are feeling mild pain or inflammation in your joints, try a cold therapy system. Cold therapy helps alleviate swelling and mild pain, but avoid cold therapy if you have stiff joints or arthritis. For arthritis sufferers, use a moist heat pad to provide temporary pain relief.

    • For sore and aching muscles, rest and elevate your limbs. Remember that a mild amount of soreness is normal when first resuming an exercise regimen; however, also ensure you pay attention to your body’s warning signs.

    • If you have weak knees or back, talk to a doctor or physician about getting medical support braces or back braces to use when exercising.

It’s never too late to begin an exercise program, so jump in and get closer to a stronger, more balanced and healthier life!

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is one of North America's premiere medical orthopedic brace distributors, carrying a large selection of carpal tunnel braces and complimentary rehabilitative cold therapy units. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR also carries a back brace and unloader knee brace selection.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top Yoga Moves for Joint Pain

The yoga craze doesn’t seem to be losing steam because of its vast and long-term health effects: among other benefits, it creates lean muscle mass, facilitates healthy digestion and helps with balance and flexibility. According to a 20-year-long study performed by the Duke University Medical Center, practicing yoga can improve joint pain for persons suffering from osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you suffer from the most common joint disorder, osteoarthritis, then yoga can alleviate the pain and stiffness in your joints. For people with muscle and joint tenderness as a result of fibromyalgia, or even people with the constant pressure around their forearm to their palm from carpal tunnel syndrome and want to avoid carpal tunnel braces, try out this quick yoga guide for joint problems.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

  • Child’s pose is a basic relaxation pose that works well during a yoga practice if you start feeling tired, dizzy or need a break.

  • How to: Get down on the ground with your hands, knees and shins on the floor. Slowly glide your buttocks back to your heels as you sit gently onto your heels. You may feel an easy stretch in your knees and quadriceps. Stretch your head toward the ground, aiming to connect your forehead to the ground. Your arms may naturally lay backwards alongside your legs or you may outstretch them forward past your head. Hold this pose for a few seconds.

  • Joint friendly: Use a rolled-up blanket or a yoga block under your buttocks, so it separates your tailbone and your legs.

Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)

  • Crocodile pose is another relaxation pose geared to trigger rest in your body after rigorous activity.

  • How to: Lie stomach and face down on the floor with your hands rested at your sides. Stretch your legs and feet toward the back of the room as you cross your right arm to your left shoulder and your left arm to your left shoulder. Align your elbows into a stacked triangle position and rest your forehead in the triangle as you breath.

  • Joint friendly: Turn your feet out at right angles to your legs and concentrate on breathing. This pose helps release vulnerable and tense tendencies in the joints.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

  • Triangle Pose is performed on both sides of the body and has many variations to work multiple parts of your body.

  • How to: Stand with your feet about a leg’s length apart and your legs with a slight ben. Turn your right foot to the right 90 degrees and slightly angle your left foot to the right about 45 degrees. Lift your arms and spread them out parallel to the floor while standing stretching your upper body straight to the ceiling. With your palms facing down, extend sideways to the right as far as you can. Then, drop your right arm toward your shin (or a yoga block place inside your right ankle). Extend your left arm vertically while your back gently twists. Be careful not to hyperextend your legs or over twist in this pose. Hold for 5 breaths and return to the starting position. Alternate sides.

  • Joint Friendly: Make sure you don’t lock your knees and overextend the straight legs.

Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

  • Tree pose is a variation of the basic standing mountain pose and focuses on balance and alignment of the lower body while toning lower extremity muscle. It is performed on both sides of the body.

  • How to: Begin in mountain pose (standing with your feet together and your hands relaxed at your sides). Shift weight to your left leg as you bring your bent right knee to your inner left thigh. Your right toes should aim toward the floor with your right knee pointed to the right, opening up your hips. Extend your hands, in prayer position, up toward the sky. Hold for 20 seconds. Work to holding for 60 seconds. Alternate sides.

  • Joint Friendly: Keep your left foot, hips and head aligned vertically and avoid twisting your body. Keep your left knee facing forward, without twisting.

Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)

  • Head-to-Knee pose helps stretch and strengthen the hamstrings while loosening up your hips, legs, knees and back.

  • How to: Sit on the floor with your upper half upright and your legs spread out comfortably wide and straight. Place the bottom of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Slightly bend your left knee and realign your torso so that you are square. Bend forward over your extended left leg and relax your head onto the extended leg. Breath for as long is comfortable in this position and then switch sides.

  • Joint friendly: Place a towel below your buttocks to help with tight hips. You can also use a towel to lasso around your extended foot if you cannot reach your foot comfortably when beginning.

Yoga is praised worldwide for its health and healing benefits and is practiced by more than 15.8 million Americans alone. It is often used as a non-aggressive way to exercise and strengthen muscles for those suffering injuries or joint pain; however, take caution to ensure you listen to your body’s strain and warning signs and do not push into a pose too far. Pay special attention if you use carpal tunnel braces or other support braces before beginning an exercise program. Beyond beginning to incorporate yoga postures into your joint strengthening program, hot and cold therapy is recommended as a complement for minor discomfort.

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 medical grade braces and cold therapy products. To find a quality medical knee braces and supports, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

15 Most Common Football Injuries

Between youth football, high school football, college football, and professional football, millions of Americans take the field every year to sport their teams’ colors. Football is America’s game, but is also a physically demanding, high-impact, collision sport that can take a toll on the body. No matter what level you’re playing at, it’s important to make sure you take care of your body and address any injuries that arise as soon as they happen to prevent problems later on in life.

Here’s a list of the top 15 most common sports injuries in football:


1. Broken Bone

Any bone can be broken when playing football- from small bones like fingers and toes to large bones like legs and even spines. Broken bones should be splinted immediately by a trainer if possible and x-rays should be done to determine the location and type of break so that they can be properly set.


2. Pinched Brachial Plexus

Commonly referred to as a "Stinger" or "Burner." A stinger is an incredibly painful nerve injury that results when the nerves in the neck are stretched, causing nerves in the shoulder to pinch or bruise. The result is a sharp pain (like that of an electric shock or lightning strike) and arm numbness and weakness. Effects are usually temporary and subside quickly. If effects linger consult a doctor.

3. Concussion

Concussions are graded 1-3 based on severity and can vary greatly in terms of recovery time. If a player is suspected to have a concussion they need to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately. Certain tests may be run to determine if a player has a concussion and a doctor may order that a player wait days, weeks, or even months before returning to the field.


4. Shoulder Dislocation

An upward and backward wrenching of the shoulder can cause a shoulder dislocation. Once a shoulder is dislocated from the socket it should be popped back in right away to avoid unnecessary pain and additional injury to the area. Depending on the situation x-rays may be needed to determine if any damage has been done to the area.

5. AC Separation

Commonly referred to as a "Separated Shoulder". Many people believe a dislocated shoulder and separated shoulder are the same thing, but they are actually different injuries. A separated shoulder is often the result of a fall, and involves a tear of the ligaments between the clavicle (collar bone) and acromion bone (the highest point of the shoulder blade). The result is that the clavicle will actually stick up. Depending on the severity of the injury cold packs and a shoulder immobilization brace may lessen the pain and allow the shoulder to heal. In other cases surgery may be needed.

6. Back Sprain

Back sprains can come in all shapes and sizes but with ice and the right lumbar back brace back sprains can usually be corrected. It’s always a good idea though to consult a physician, sports therapist, or chiropractor to make sure that they injury isn’t severe, requiring more extensive treatment.

7. Herniated Disc

Commonly referred to as a "Slipped Disc" or "Ruptured Disc." Small spongy discs cushion the vertebrate in your back and act as shock absorbers while you engage in activities like running and tackling. When a disc is overly strained it can bulge or rupture, causing the disc to become herniated. To avoid serious back injuries later in life it’s important to consult a doctor to determine the best course of action.


8. Quadriceps Contusion

Contusions to quadriceps can result from impact to the front of the thigh from something like a helmet. Compression and ice are important in the recovery process with quadriceps contusions, and often early motion can also aid in preventing stiffness from developing.

9. Hamstring Sprain

Commonly referred to as a "Hamstring Pull". Hamstring pulls are actually a tear in the hamstring muscle fibers and can result from sudden acceleration or a blow to the body. Hamstring pulls can vary greatly in severity but often plague sufferers with repeat problems throughout an athletic career. Ice, compression therapy and rest are important to properly heal a hamstring pull.

10. Iliac Crest Contusion

Commonly referred to as a "Hip Pointer." An iliac crest contusion is a bruise or a fracture to the iliac crest region of the hip that is treated with ice and padding.

11. Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are the most common sport injury and result when damage is done to the soft tissue and ligaments surrounding the ankle because of excessive twisting. The "RICE" method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) are used to reduce swelling after an ankle sprain. Ankle braces and wraps can help speed up recovery as well.

12. Syndesmotic Sprain

Commonly referred to as a "High Ankle Sprain." A high ankle sprain is caused when the leg and foot twist outward and can be much more serious than a regular ankle sprain. In addition to using rest, ice, compression, and elevation to treat a high ankle sprain, a hinged ankle brace or cast may be necessary in more severe cases.

13. Turf Toe

Turf toe is an injury to the base of the big toe from running or jumping on hard surfaces. This makes basketball players and football players on artificial turf more likely to sustain this kind of injury.

14. ACL/MCL/PCL Tear

ACL, MCL and PCL injuries most frequently result when landing from a jump or changing directions suddenly. When the ACL, MCL or PCL tears often a “pop” will be heard and the knee will give out. These type of injuries are incredibly painful and require highly specialized hinged knee braces, extensive physical therapy, and surgery to recover. Amongst athletes these are some of the most feared injuries due to the long recovery times associated with them.

15. Meniscus Tear

The meniscus is two pieces of cartilage that cushion and support the knee joint. Meniscus tears often accompany ACL and MCL injuries and are very easy to reinjure if not given the proper time to heal fully. Ice, compression, elevation, and physical therapy are essential in healing properly after a meniscus tear. Surgery may even be required depending on the individual circumstance.

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of medical products including a wide selection of medical grade braces and cold therapy products. To find a quality medical knee braces and supports, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exercise Guide to Strengthening your Back

Around 80 percent of Americans will incur some back injury in their lifetime; however, there are many simple exercises you can do to strengthen your back and improve muscle flexibility, thus making injury less likely. Additionally, these back strengthening exercises help improve posture and reduce your chance of ever needing back braces for spinal support.

To start, it is important to recognize a few tactics regarding back health: keep stomach muscles strong, maintain a lean body mass, increase your upper extremities flexibility and, of course, take care when completing strenuous back motions or lifting heavy weight. In addition to these back health fundamentals, the following are a few activities designed to keep you strong while fighting off a need for back braces in the future:

  • Pelvic Extension: Lie on a flat surface with your back to the ground. Bend your knees and place your feet about hip-width apart. Use your back, stomach and buttocks to raise your hips so that they are off the ground and create a straight line from your knees to your shoulder. Hold this position for a few seconds. Build up to 12-15 repetitions.

  • Plank: Lie on a flat surface face-down with your palms flat on the floor. Bend your arms at your elbows and bend your toes to use for support as you raise your body to plank position. Keep your back straight and pull your stomach in as you lift off the ground using your flat forearms and toes. You want to ensure your pelvis is pulled up and your abdomen is tight to prevent sagging toward the ground or your buttocks from sticking too high. You want to have a straight line from your back to your ankles. Hold for a few seconds to 30 seconds, depending on your ability. Build up to 20 seconds. Repeat for 3 -5 reps. The plank is an extremely versatile and all-encompassing exercise because it works so many muscles at the same time.

  • Butt lifter: Get on all fours – your hands flat and shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Pull your stomach and pelvis in and keep this tight throughout the exercise. Without altering your straight back and tight abdomen, bring your right bended knee in to your chest and then extend it out straight so it is parallel with the floor. Repeat 5 – 15 times. Switch legs. Please Note: you can do a variation of this exercise by lifting your bent leg to the left and right sides.

  • Lifting lunge: Stand up straight and pull in your abs gently. Place your hands on your hip and step forward with your right leg. Sink down as you plant your right leg firmly and flatly on the ground, ensuring that your knee does not extend out further than your ankle. Your right knee should be at a 90-degree ankle when you are sunken down in the exercise. Immediately push back up, using your abdominal muscles to help pull your leg off the ground. When you have pushed off the ground and are back to a normal standing position, immediately use your abdominals to bring the knee toward your chest. Hug it and place it back on the ground. Switch legs and repeat. Build up to repetitions of 10 – 12.

  • Steamroller: Stand upright and contract your abs slightly so that there is no arch or sag in your back. Put both palms of your hands to the back of your head (almost as if you were lying down in bed) and lace your fingers together. Keeping your hands laced together, use your abs to raise your right knee to try and meet your left elbow while still standing completely upright. Switch and repeat. Work to getting your knees higher and closer to your elbows. Once you have mastered the exercise, you can do sets of 30 – 50 very quickly. Work to sets of 30 – 50 per side. The steamroller is geared primarily toward strengthening the abdomen and range of motion in the hips.

Practice these exercises at home and with caution even if you are not currently suffering from back pain. Strengthening your back muscles, abdominals and flexibility will help keep you out of spine and torso back braces. If you have experienced a significant injury or are currently using a spinal or back brace, consult your physician before performing any exercise program.

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 one of North America's premiere medical orthopedic brace distributors, carrying a large selection of carpal tunnel braces and complimentary rehabilitative cold therapy units. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR also carries a back brace and unloader knee brace selection.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top 10 Graduate Schools for Sports Medicine

As one of North America's largest orthopedic brace distributors with a huge selection of sports and post operative knee braces, here at MMAR Medical, we work with a variety of sports medicine professionals. Over the years, the MMAR team has had the pleasure of learning about our clients' different sports medicine backgrounds and education. We have been impressed by the myriad of sports medicine options there are, from innovative study programs to amazing residencies around the globe. This got us thinking about the best colleges for sports medicine studies in the US.

Whether you are a sports medicine professional looking to see where your alma mater falls on the top 10*, or a student looking to discern the right educational path for your sports medicine career, this is a great starting point. For a more extensive list of top 10 colleges, U.S. News and World Report perform an annual rankings list for the nation's best colleges as well as graduate schools.

Here is our official list of the Sport Medicine big hitters!

  1. The University of South California in Los Angeles, California – Ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report for Physical Therapy, USC holds many accolades in the PT world that oust other graduate school competitors in the field. For example, USC created the first PhD in Physical Therapy degree program. USC holds a revered research program in the field and offers clinical exposure in Physical Therapy for students and staff.

  2. The University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Pitt ranks high for its graduate program in Physical Therapy and is also recognized as a leader in residency programs for Orthopaedic Surgery

  3. Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri – Washington University tied with Pitt in the U.S. News & World Report for best Physical Therapy schools, but lacks in the prestige for its Orthopaedic Surgery programs. Washington University brags about its unique student learning experience provided in the Orthopaedic Surgery residency program which covers all facets of orthopaedics, allowing for its students to receive a comprehensive and top quality education.

  4. The University of Rochester in Rochester, New York – While the University of Rochester hasn’t been recognized for its Physical Therapy school, the Medical Center department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation consistently receives one of the top research grants to promote its specialization. It homes one of the few, established musculoskeletal research centers in the United States.

  5. The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa – The University of Iowa ranks #3 by the U.S. News & World Report because of its prestige in Physical Therapy programs. Another bragging point for this university is that the students demonstrate a 100% pass rate on the physical therapy licensure exam, which illuminates the schools’ history of academic excellence.

  6. The University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware – Delaware also holds top rankings for its Physical Therapy school for its quality clinical education, PhD training program for students and cutting edge research.

  7. Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania – One of the many positives to graduating with a degree from Arcadia University include having studied with an internationally recognized staff. Join the Arcadia Physical Therapy e-Newsletter for up-to-date information and relevant news.

  8. MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, Massachusetts – Founded by the Massachusetts General Hospital, this graduate school is uniquely designed to work closely with the public health sector.

  9. Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois – Northwestern created the innovative Northwestern University Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences division to better the health care and sports medicine field through its education. It is a graduate program truly geared to promote positive change for sports medicine professionals.

  10. The University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida – Miami rounds out our top 10 for best graduate schools for sports medicine due to its high ranking Physical Therapy school. A huge advantage to choosing Miami is the cost benefit; not only do Miami students benefit from one of the lowest tuitions, but Miami has block tuition – tuition costs will be the same for the entire academic experience.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is one of North America's premiere medical orthopedic brace distributors, carrying a large selection of medical braces and complimentary rehabilitative cold therapy units. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR specializes in orthopedic braces, including a wide slection of back braces and ACL tear braces for sports medicine professionals and the athletes they treat.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Orthotics for Children – A Review of “Arch Angels” Insoles for Kids

Children start developing arches around ages 3-4 when they lose their baby fat and begin developing muscles in their feet and legs as they learn to walk and run. This new muscle development is why young kids fatigue faster than older kids. Signs of foot fatigue include asking to be picked up, complaining, and tripping or stumbling.

During this transition time as kids begin to develop arches pediatric comfort insoles can be used to aid in the proper development of arches by positioning the foot correctly. If you are a parent that wears orthotics you probably know that there are hundreds of options to choose from, but when it comes to kids orthotics, options are limited. While more options are available today than ever before, Arch Angels insoles for children were the first comfort shoe insole for kids that was available directly to parents. With their sturdy kid-friendly construction and affordable price tag, Arch Angels remain one of the most popular brands of insoles for children on the market.

Benefits of Kids Orthotics

  • Maintains proper foot positioning as feet grow

  • Provides arch support for children

  • Reduces muscle strain to prevent fatigue

  • Stabilizes the heel to reduce foot and leg injuries

  • Helps kids keep their balance

Arch Angels Features

  • Flexible shock absorbing layer for greater comfort

  • Durable, non-toxic construction

  • Easily hand-washable

  • Fits in most shoes

The great part about Arch Angels kids orthotics is that they provide all of the benefits of custom orthotics without the cost. The Arch Angels foam molds to the child’s foot over time- creating a one-of-a-kind insole fitted specifically for your child’s needs. While it may seem costly to buy orthotics for your child while their feet are still growing so quickly, Arch Angels are affordable and typically last 6-12 months and grow with your child. Since each Arch Angels size corresponds to 2 shoe sizes, as your child grows you will see that the insole will get shorter and shorter. Once the insole shrinks to cover just past the end of the insole region it is time to purchase the next larger size.

Whether you choose the Arch Angels or another brand of children’s insoles , giving your children orthotics can go a long way in preventing foot problems later on in life as they become adults.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is one of North America's premiere medical and support brace distributors. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR specializes in orthopedic braces, splints and supports, as well as diabetic footwear and cold therapy units and systems.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review of the PRAFO 650

Patients suffering from dorsiplantar flexion conditions due to stroke or traumatic brain injury often turn to exercise, muscle strength training or focused stretches to reinstate normal motion. As a part of their rehabilitation AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis) braces are used in conjunction with these methods.

The PRAFO 650 (Pressure Relief Ankle Orthosis) is a dorsiplantar flexion brace that can be worn during the day or overnight and is composed of the following components:

Adjustable Leg and Foot Segments

Both the leg and foot segments are adjustable with a simple Philips-head screwdriver to accommodate many different physiologies. The degree to which these can be adjusted allows the PRAFO 650 to be modified and fitted far better than many other AFO braces, resulting in a completely customized feel for each patient. Adjustments can be made to increase or decrease ankle-foot relationship to the calf and the shin- allowing for either a posterior or anterior stop.

Ergonomic Footplate

The ergonomic footplate located under the brace is separate from the adjustable foot segment, allowing the PRAFO brace to increase the inflection arc by up to 10 degrees over time. This inflection arc change can result in a smoother leg swinging motion while walking and running.

Vibram Walking Base

This rigid shoe-like Polyethylene surface is securely fashioned to allow for safe ambulation and rehabilitation as is without requiring additional special footwear.

Aluminum Heel Connector Bar

Because the PRAFO 650 custom-contoured heel bar is made of aluminum it is much more durable than inexpensive braces that merely offer plastic components. This is especially important with heavier patients.

Malleable Anti-Rotation Bar

The aluminum anti-rotation bar is malleable enough to provide comfort while minimizing unwanted rotation of the hip or leg as the foot is held at a 90 degree angle, minimizing pressure on the medial or lateral malleoli.

Kodel Removable Liner

The Kodel liner is the first AFO dorsflexion brace liner of its kind to be completely removable without tools- allowing for an easy transition between use in the hospital and use at home ambulating and doing rehabilitation stretches.

Secure Velcro Straps

Four thick Velcro straps allow the PRAFO 650 to be comfortably secured against the foot and leg during use- prevent loosening during ambulation or rehabilitation.

With all of these adjustable features, the PRAFO 650 is more than just positive heel suspension- it allows for infinite measureable adjustments, making it the number one choice amongst doctors and patients alike for plantar flexion contractures and heel ulceration. Nurses also prefer this brace due to the ease of use and increased patient satisfaction that results. In a wide variety of applications it has increased range of motion, and improved overall stability to preserve or restore mobility in patients. The PRAFO 650 may be more expensive than some other AFO braces but the high quality materials inside and superior design are well worth the price difference.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to Use the Breg Polar Care Kodiak Cold Therapy Unit

For patients recovering from surgery, sports injury or dealing with chronic pain in their ankles, knees, backs, shoulders, or wrists, finding the right treatment is integral to relieving pain and getting back to regular daily activities. With so many items out there on the market it can be difficult to select the right product for your specific needs.

The Breg Polar Care Kodiak cold therapy unit is a portable motorized cold therapy system that provides penetrating and long-lasting pain relief. The Breg Kodiak is durable and compact, making it easy to use at home, at work, or anywhere else that you have access to a power outlet.

To use the Kodiak follow these simple steps:
1. Take the top off of the unit, revealing the water and ice chamber inside
2. Locate the "ice fill" and "water fill" lines and fill chamber with ice and then water appropriately- be sure not to overfill the unit or it can overflow when you place the lid back on
3. Place the top back on the unit and pull the handle up to secure the lid in place
4. Attach the Breg pad you will be using to the hose coming from the unit by pushing in both silver tabs and interlocking the quick-lock couplings
5. Wrap the pad around the body part you will be icing using the Velcro straps
6. Place the unit as close to the injury as possible icing so that the motor doesn’t have to work as hard
7. Plug the AC adaptor into the unit and then into the outlet
8. Turn the system on

The motor is very quiet so when it’s running you may not hear it, but when you feel the pad compress slightly you will know that the system is working properly. If you experience any condensation on the hose you can wrap the hose with a towel. If you need to ambulate you can unplug the AC adaptor from the wall and then separate the pad coupling from the hose coupling. Water will not leak out when the two are separated.

The Breg pads are actually “inteliflow” pads, which means that a restrictor valve at the end of each pad controls the speed of water circulating from the cold therapy unit through the pad to provide the safest water temperature for the body part that you are icing. For extremities (hand, wrist, and ankle) the water is circulated at a slower speed, allowing the body to warm the water some and prevent the area from getting too cold. For areas of the body closer to the core (hip, shoulder, back, and knee) the water is circulated at a faster speed, leaving the water cooler. What this means for you is that it takes the guess work out of using the unit and ensures your safety.

When evaluating pain relief products the two most important things you should look at are effectiveness and value. The Breg Kodiak cold therapy unit is probably the most effective cold therapy unit on the market right now- providing hours of deep penetrating pain relief for both post op patients and individuals with acute pain. Unlike ice packs, cold therapy units provide long-lasting pain relief and eliminate the hassle of waiting for them to freeze and changing them out several times an hour. With the Kodiak you also have the added benefit of an "ice strainer" embedded in the water/ice chamber. This simple, but highly effective, feature allows ice to remain inside when dumping out water in order to save as much ice as possible when refilling. The superior pain relief that the Kodiak provides can improve sleep, restore range of motion sooner, and reduce the need for pain reliever medication.

In terms of value, the Breg Kodiak is a great value because it is so durable that it will last for many years of usage. One of the features that helps extend the life of the Kodiak is the unique filtration system that can be easily washed out of it ever gets clogged. Many other continuous cold therapy units out there can’t be cleaned out properly to ensure that they will continue to work properly over the years. Additionally, the Breg Kodiak has the strongest and quietest motor of any portable motorized cold therapy unit available. This high quality motor is another reason that the system is so dependable and is preferred by so many patients and doctors.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is one of North America's premiere medical brace distributors. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR specializes in orthopedic braces, splints and supports, as well as diabetic footwear and cold therapy units.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Limit Injuries from Flat Feet with Shoe Inserts and Ankle Braces

Flat feet, a common condition that allows your entire foot to touch the floor when you stand, is usually painless, but complications may occur if you increase the amount of time spent walking or exercising. The condition, which normally occurs when your arches don’t develop during childhood, can cause your ankles to turn inward. As your ankles turn inward it throws off the alignment of your legs, resulting in ankle and knee problems.

Additional symptoms of this condition that affects over a quarter of Americans include:

  • Swelling along the inside of the ankle
  • Foot pain
  • Severe heel pain
  • Bunions
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Postural strain
  • Difficulty standing on your tip toes

Having flat feet usually puts more stain on the delicate ligaments and tendons that support the foot and ankle. This may cause the fragile bones to collapse, resulting in heels spurs, ankle sprains and hip and lower back pain. Providing the proper support is the key to preventing injuries and pain from flat feet.

The symptoms of flat feet can often be treated with shoe inserts designed to support the arch. Shoe inserts help raise the arch and realign the foot in order to reduce pain and distribute weight evenly. Distributing weight evenly can help minimize the strain placed on your knees and spine. The heel cushion included in the shoe insert helps reduce the shock your foot feels when walking moderate distances on flat feet.

If you are planning on walking, running or exercising for an extended period of time you should consider wearing a brace or ankle support. A lace-up ankle brace is the perfect choice for people with flat feet because you can control the tightness of the brace and easily remove it when it is not needed. Consider purchasing a top of the line brace, such as the Ankle Lok® brace, which has a short curved heat sealed arch that fits the contour of the foot. The arch of the Ankle Lok® brace is seamless so it does not irritate the bottom of the foot.

Developing flat feet later in life from a traumatic injury to your foot or ankle is also common. In this case an ankle brace isn't just recommended when exercising, it is necessary. Hinged ankle braces may be the best choice for those that have experienced a distressing injury to their foot or ankle because they offer more stability than soft ankle supports. The hinged ankle braces are very comfortable and fit easily into most shoes. Many hinged braces, such as the Ossur Rebound Ankle Brace, come with an optional stability strap that provides extra support while requiring less plantar flexion.

When making the decision to treat your flat feet with shoe inserts, ankle braces or nothing at all, it is always better to err on the safe side. Looking at the cost of surgery and rehabilitation it becomes evident that injuries are cheaper to prevent than treat. Purchasing the proper brace is an affordable way to protect your delicate feet and ankles.

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

Thursday, July 7, 2011

7 Tips for Avoiding Injury while Exercising

1. Find the Right Exercise

One of the key aspects to consider before starting any exercise regimen is to find what type of activity fits your needs, capabilities, and goals. Take into consideration any previous injury or weak spot in your body. If you have a history of back problems, for instance, golf may not be for you. Speak with your doctor and listen to his/her recommendations for the proper activities for you. For minor injuries you don’t you want to protect, consider an orthopedic brace.

Also remember to start slow and gradually add intensity or speed. It’s very easy to overdo it or get burned out when starting a new workout program. To avoid this, start slow and stay enthusiastic about your workout.

2. Warm-Up and Cool-Down

No matter how light your workout it, it’s essential that you have a strong 15-20 minute warm-up and a 10-15 minute cool down.

Before every exercise, take a few moments to stretch out your muscles and perform some low-intensity activities, like walking. For the best results and a safe workout, it is essential you loosen and stretch your muscles before you begin. This also allows you time to mentally prepare for your workout and empower yourself.

When you finish your workout, it is important to stretch your muscles again. Repeat the stretching exercises from before as well as a slow and steady walk. This will prevent soreness in the following days. If you fear your workout will leave you sore, cold therapy systems and whirlpool therapy can loosen your muscles and help you be comfortable in the days after your workout.

4. Eat Well

While it’s never good to exercise right after a large meal, it’s also not a good idea to eat on a completely empty stomach. Eat consistently throughout the day taking in carbohydrates and protein which will give you energy and strength.

5. Hydrate

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is key to staying hydrated during your exercise. It is recommended that you drink at least 16 ounces of water within 2 hours of starting your workout. This will keep you from losing excess fluids and keeping your workout pleasant and healthy.

During your exercise, you should drink water every 15-20 minutes. It’s also best to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as these leave you more vulnerable for dehydration.

6. Listen to Your Body

When you have strong pain or discomfort while exercising, modify what you’re doing. Feeling pain is your body’s way of saying something’s not right. Pushing through extreme pain will lead to a chronic or severe injury. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and modify your habits to remedy the situation.

7. Dress Appropriately

Everything from your hat to your clothes to your shoes is important when exercising. Protecting you face and body from the sun and weather conditions is one important factor, as well as wearing clothes that allow mobility and comfort. For most exercises, proper footwear is also very important. You will want a pair of sturdy yet comfortable shoes that will not hinder your workout. Find a pair of shoes that fit your needs. For example, if you have diabetes, you should buy at least one pair of active diabetic shoes.

8. Rest & Relax

Your exercise routine should be enjoyable and strengthening. After a difficult workout day, take the next day a little easier. Be sure to pace yourself for a regimen that will stick, and remember have fun!

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of braces, supports, contracture management products, and therapy products. For more information please visit, please visit

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reducing Arthritis Pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five adults in the United States report having doctor diagnosed arthritis. If you or someone close to you suffers from arthritis, you understand the way it hinders daily activities and quality of life. According to the Mayo clinic, treatments of arthritis vary, but the overarching goal is to reduce the symptoms to patients.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a result of normal joint activity over time, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. The signs and symptoms vary by patient and by type, but generally all cases involve joint pain. The most common symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased range of motion.

While some uncontrollable factors (age, family history, gender, etc) lead to or worsen arthritis, there are a number of activities you can do on your own that relieve the symptoms that come along with arthritis. For very severe cases of arthritis, you may wish to consider complimenting these daily habits with prescription medication or surgery.

Weight Loss

Excess weight adds a great deal of pressure to your blood flow and joints. This is why individuals that are obese are more likely to suffer from arthritis. By reducing weight, you reduce this stress. Also, with less weight, you will find yourself more mobile and possibly reduce future joint industry.


Exercise is one of the best things you can do to reduce arthritis symptoms. With regular exercise, the muscles around your joints will grow stronger, your bones will stay healthy, and your weight will be under control. You should be careful when deciding exercises though, as they may cause a great deal of pain. You should ask your doctor if you are unsure about certain types of exercises.

Good exercise choices for arthritis sufferers include range of motion, strengthening and aerobic exercises. Water activities, such as swimming and water aerobics, are very helpful because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress on the joints that self support demands. Yoga and tai chi can also be very helpful as these stretching-type exercises improve flexibility as well as range of motion.

Heat & Cold

Hot and cold treatments have proven to be very successful for reducing stiffness and managing arthritis pain. Cold therapy, such as cold packs or cold therapy systems can numb the joint pain, particularly helpful during a bad flare-up. Heat therapy relaxes the muscles. You can use dry heat like electric blankets or wet heat like moist heat pads.

Assistive Devices

You may also find assistive devices like canes, walkers, elevated toilet seats and orthopedic braces helpful. These supports make daily activities a little easier on your joints.

Any degree of arthritis can cause pain and discomfort in one’s life. Luckily, there are things you can do to make the everyday tasks a little bit easier.

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 orthopedic braces, a wide bath safety products selection and other quality products, please visit

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Benefits of Moist Heat Therapy for Arthritis and Muscle Soreness

The benefits of heat therapy are undeniable. Heat therapy can relieve stiffness and improve circulation by opening blood vessels- relieving pain from arthritis, tennis elbow, sinus headaches, TMJ, aching feet, shoulder and back pain, and many more conditions!

But how does moist heat compare to dry heat therapy? There are many advantages to using moist heat therapy over traditional dry heat:

  1. Does Not Dry Out Skin

  2. Dry heat therapy tends to dry out skin. Think about what happens to your skin when it gets too hot inside your house- your skin gets dry and can crack if you do not apply moisturizing lotion. The same is true of heat therapy. Applying direct heat to your skin will leave your skin drier over time. Moist heat therapy, on the other hand, leaves your skin warmed without drying it out.

  3. Deeper Muscle Penetration

  4. Because water transfers heat better than air moist heat therapy delivers more heat directly to your skin because it loses less heat in the transfer process. The result of this greater heat transfer efficiency is that more of the heat makes its way deep into muscles, joints, ligaments and soft tissue.

  5. Faster Relief of Pain

  6. Due to the deeper muscle penetration, moist heat therapy relieves pain faster. People who use moist heat therapy report that they start feeling more relaxed faster each time they do the therapy and get better faster overall.

  7. Longer-Term Pain Relief

  8. While people using moist heat therapy tend to report that their pain symptoms are relived faster, they also report that on average the pain relief lasts longer- reducing the need to use heat therapy as often. People with chronic conditions like arthritis who use heat therapy regularly, on average, tend to require moist heat therapy less often than when using dry heat therapy.

Unfortunately, anyone who has ever gone to a chiropractor, masseuse, or sports trainer for a professional moist heat therapy treatment can tell you that the drawback of these treatments is that you have to schedule an appointment ahead of time and then pay costly visit fees. Many in-home moist heat therapy systems have their drawbacks as well. They can be very expensive and time consuming to use (requiring lengthy microwaving or the addition of heated water).

Thermophore moist heat therapy , packs however, do not have any of the drawbacks traditionally associated with in-home moist heat therapy units. Thermophore moist heating pads plug in to a power outlet just like a regular heating pad and have a safety switch that prevents burning if you fall asleep while using them. Also, Thermophore packs do not require that any water be added before or during use- instead, they pull moisture from the surrounding air to utilize for their moist heat therapy. Thermophore also makes their moist heat pads in a variety of sizes and styles to effectively relieve pain from large areas like backs and shoulders to small areas like sinuses and jaws. They even have cuffs for use on elbows, wrists, and ankles! If you are in need of moist heat therapy check out Thermophore automatic moist heat packs today!

Caution: Do not use moist heat therapy if you have an existing skin condition, open wound, bruising, diabetes, or any heart-related disorder!

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 cervical collars, a wide elbow brace selection and other quality braces, please visit

Monday, June 20, 2011

Importance of Low-Impact Workouts

Many people with medical conditions such as joint pain, muscle injury, or chronic diseases find exercising very straining and uncomfortable. It’s important to remember that proper exercise can alleviate many of the problems and pains that come with these medical conditions. While high-impact exercises like running, jumping, or jogging may not be an option, low-impact exercises are a great way to get in shape and stay healthy for people of all ages and medical conditions.

What are Low-Impact Exercises?

Low impact exercises are those exercises that don’t significantly strain the legs, knees, or feet. At least one foot being on the ground at any time is implied with low-impact exercises. While high-Impact exercises increase the heart rate, build endurance, and get blood flowing, it also puts a lot of pressure and stress on the body.

Low-impact exercises are particularly helpful for those that are recovering from an injury, just beginning to workout, suffering from joint pains or chronic diseases, women that are pregnant, or overweight individuals. If you already have a medical issue as mentioned above, high impact exercises may cause injury or negative effects to your body.

Common Low-Impact Exercises

There are a number of low-impact exercises you may find helpful. Some of these workouts include walking, hiking, and step aerobics. Some exercises are no impact like biking, swimming, or rowing. You can do low-impact exercises at home, in the gym, or outdoors. Exercise machines like the elliptical, bike, or Stairmaster can give you a great, low-impact workout and track the work you’ve done as well as your heart rate. If you prefer a class, there are various group or individual classes you can sign up for like step aerobics, that will give you a good workout in an encouraging and instructional environment. Just because exercises are low or no-impact doesn’t mean they won’t get your heart racing and your muscles toned.

Maximizing Low-Impact Exercises

If you are accustomed to doing high-impact exercises, are becoming stronger, or just not getting the results you desire, there are a number of ways to intensify your low-impact workout.

You can always add ankle weights, wrist weights, or a backpack to increase your heart rate. For activities like hiking, biking, or walking, you can try going up-hill or going at a faster speed. You can also trying using parts of the body you are not already using. For example, when walking, swing your arms or hold them over your head.

Preparing for & Ending Your Exercise

It is crucial that you stretch and hydrate prior to low-impact exercising. Just like any other workout, low-impact exercises can result in injury. If you have a focalized medical issue, you should protect this part of your body. For example if you have knee problems, you should wear an orthopedic knee brace when exercising. Or if you are diabetic, it may be useful to get specialized diabetic athletic footwear. If you are not sure your body can handle the exercise, you should consult your doctor beforehand.

Once you complete your exercise, it’s important that you stretch properly again and note any unusual pain you have. It’s normal for your body to be sore the subsequent days of a challenging exercise. You can always use hot and cold therapy such as heating pads when recovering from workout.

Remember, no matter your age of physical condition, it is always important that you keep your body healthy through exercise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Training for a Marathon with Diabetes

Exercise and diabetes should go hand in hand because physical activity can greatly improve blood sugar control. When you increase the level of exercise to 26.2 miles this balance may become more delicate.

Every diabetic is different and what works well for one person may not be the best option for someone else, but one thing is certain, running a marathon with diabetes takes planning. By carefully preparing for your marathon training regime and race you can help eliminate the odds that complications will arise.

The following tips will help you train for and complete a safe first marathon:

1. Define your marathon objective

  • How soon do you want to run a marathon? Ideally you have been running for a year or more before attempting a marathon, but if you give yourself adequate time to train other time frames are possible.
  • Which marathon do you want to run? Consider key factors such as climate, elevation and time of race to make sure you pick the perfect marathon for you.
  • What is your goal time? Most marathon runners don’t try to target any specific finish time for their first marathon. If you do establish a goal time, keep it broad and understand that completing the marathon is a big accomplishment in itself.
  • Percentage walk vs. run? Decide if you want to walk the whole marathon, walk and run the marathon, run the whole marathon or employ a strategy such as taking a one minute walking break at each mile mark.

2. Get everything you need to start properly training

  • Athletic shoes that give you the proper support you need. Purchasing specific diabetic footwear may help alleviate the foot pain and discomfort commonly experienced by those with diabetes. Athletic shoes made for diabetics provide optimal support for the arch, heel and ankle and allow for extra room so that orthotic inserts can be worn in them.
  • Running clothes that are quick drying and chafe free. Look for moisture control fabrics that fit comfortably and can be easily layered if needed.
  • If you have previously injured yourself or are experiencing any pain and soreness, invest in a brace or support to promote healing and provide relief.
  • Watch with a stopwatch function to track your time and training intervals.
  • Water carrier belt to make sure you stay hydrated all race.
  • Fanny pack with insulin, testing meter, test strips, pokers, sugar tablets, snacks and energy gels.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses to protect against the sun.
  • Various energy drinks, bars, and gels to keep energy and blood sugar stable.

3. Consume a proper diet for marathon training and running

  • An hour before you run eat a light meal that is high in carbohydrates with a low glycemic index such as banana or oatmeal.
  • Eat on any runs that last longer than an hour to make sure you consume roughly 100-200 calories an hour.
  • Eat something high in carbohydrates within 15 minutes of finishing your run and within two hours after running eat a meal with 25% protein and 75% carbohydrate.
  • Don’t forget to drink more water than usual!

4. Adjust your insulin regime if needed

  • It depends on each person and what their current insulin regime is, but some adjustment may be needed as you increase mileage. If you currently are on a twice daily 30-70 biphasic insulin mix you will need to change your regime to have the flexibility for different levels of energy expenditure and food intake.
  • Speak to your physician about the correct insulin regime for you and remember to adjust for high energy snacks taken after exercise. A suggested dose of 2 unites of insulin per 15 grams of carbohydrates eaten in a good starting point.
  • Test, test, test. Check your blood sugar level as often as every 20 minutes.

5. Stretch and nurture your body

  • Flexibility is a part of strength so take some time each day to stretch in order to become more flexible and avoid injuries. Make sure to stretch gently and on warmed-up muscles. A great way to stretch and increase flexibility is by enrolling in a yoga class at your local studio.
  • Hot & Cold Therapy is a great way to nurture your body and tend to your sore muscles. Hot and cold therapy systems, active wraps and moist heat pads are all crucial to the healing process post long run and will help treat pain, inflammation and swelling.

Following these tips can help you carefully complete your first marathon. Have fun!

About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of comfort footwear offering a wide selection of shoes for diabetics as well as custom made orthotics. Please visit for more information.