Monday, February 28, 2011

Knee Injury Series Part 1: Knee Physiology

If you are a healthy, active individual, there is a high probability that at some point in your life you will have a knee injury. If you play sports that require quick pivots such as basketball, soccer, football, gymnastics, dance, tennis and skiing, you are particularly at risk. While ankle injuries are slightly more prevalent, a knee injury is much more likely to be debilitating. 50% of sports knee injuries will require medical attention and more than 400,000 individuals have full-on knee replacement surgery each year. Ask any sports medicine professional, and they will tell you that knee injuries are the most common reason a player is sidelined for an entire season.


In light of how prevalent knee injuries are and how drastically a knee injury can affect ones mobility and lifestyle, the MMAR Medical blog will be posting a multi-part series addressing knee injuries. In this post, we want to address the overall physiology of the knee. An understanding of the knee and how it works is essential for effective treatment.


The knee is a remarkable hinge joint between the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), fibula (long slender bone next to the tibia) and the patella (knee cap). It has considerable stability thanks to a network of ligaments, cartilage and muscles, but an injury can destabilize the patella, forcing an athlete to wear a patella stabilizer during training. The Q-angle, or the joint area between the tibia and femur, is a portion of the knee that is prone to overuse injury and osteoarthritis.


Critical knee-related muscles include the quadriceps and hamstrings. The quadriceps (quads) are the longest, leanest muscle group in the human body. They connect to the top part of the patella / kneecap and when the quads contract, they pull laterally, extending the leg. Your quads are made up of four muscle groups, the vastus medialis, the vastus lateralis, the vastus intermedius and the rectus femoris. When individuals experience a knee injury in this area, they often lose significant strength in the vastus medialis, located at the lower inside potion of the quad. This muscle is critical to patellar stability, so an effective rehabilitation regimen should pay specific attention to strengthening that area in order to restore knee tracking alignment. Conversely, the hamstring muscle group provides medial knee stability and controls the knee flexion (i.e. bending your leg at the knee.)


When it comes to knee injuries, tendons are particularly at risk. The knee relies on four key tendons for stability, specifically the MCL, LCL, ACL & PCL. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is part of the medial stabilizers and is located deep within the knee below the knee. It connects to the lateral meniscus, so it is not uncommon to have other injuries, such as a meniscus, ACL or cartilage tear when you injure the MCL. For this reason, many MCL tears are effectively treated with an ACL brace. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects to the femur to the lateral meniscus. Like the MCL, an ACL injury is frequently accompanied by other ligament or cartilage injuries. The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) runs along the side of the knee, connecting the femur to the tibula. This ligament is not attached to the lateral meniscus, making it less likely to be injured. Lastly, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) also connect the femur to the tibia, holding the knee into place and preventing the tibia from moving posterior to the femur.



About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a premier supplier of high quality medical products including a wide selection of orthopedic braces and supports. MMAR Medical specializes in high quality knee braces, including unloader knee braces, hinged knee braces and ACL braces.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tips for Joint Health

We often take our joint health for granted until those first pangs of pain. The pain is usually subtle in the beginning. So subtle we simply ignore or work around it. If left untreated, however, joint pain typically increases and can become debilitating over time.


Joint pain can be triggered by many things, including aging, excess weight strain, physical overexertion, joint overuse, chronic inflammation, arthritis and earlier joint and ligament traumas such as sports injuries or automobile accidents. If you are experiencing joint pain, or you have a high likelihood of experiencing pain in the future, it is important to proactively take care of your joints. Here are a few helpful tips for promoting optimum joint health for now and many years to come.


  • Keep your weight in check. The more you weigh the more strain you place on your joints. Maintaining a healthy weight will lower the burden on your joints and decrease your odds for developing osteoarthritis in the future.

  • Maintain muscle mass. Our muscles act as natural shock absorbers for our joints. As we age, we lose muscle. As muscle diminishes, the joints take on more strain. For this reason, be sure to include weight training in your exercise regimen. Higher muscle mass also burns more calories, making it easier to keep your weight in check.

  • Lubricate your joints. Studies have shown that oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish are excellent for your joints as they decrease inflammation.

  • Care for past sports injuries. If you have sustained a significant sports injury, especially in your knees, the likelihood of you developing joint pain is high. Be sure to work on that areas muscle strength and flexibility. Use a hinged knee brace or unloader knee brace to support ligaments that may have sustained irreparable damage.

  • Mix it up. Do not rely on a single workout, but rather incorporate a number of different activities that work the body and joints in different ways. Some great low impact options include swimming, elliptical machines, yoga, pilates, biking, walking and hiking… just don’t forget the weight training.

  • Keep moving. If you must stay still for long periods of time, be sure to move around every so often. For example, if you work at a desk, get up every hour and walk a bit. Be sure to stretch legs out fully. Keeping knees and hips at 90 degrees for long periods of time can hurt your body.

  • Take the time to relax. Relaxation is literally good for you. A stressed out body is more likely to sustain injuries.

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, unloader knee braces, patella stabilizers, and hinged knee braces. To find quality medical shoulder, knee, back braces and more, please visit MMAR Medical online.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Is Your Blood Pressure in Check?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects millions of people every year—including young children and teenagers. Hypertension is also the most common type of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of strokes and a major risk factor for heart attacks. In the US alone, approximately 75 million people have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.


What is it?

Simply put, blood pressure refers to the physical force/pressure placed on artery walls as blood is pumped throughout the body. Similar to that of an inflated tire, blood fills arteries to a specific capacity and if this threshold is exceeded damage to the arteries may occur.


How is it measured?

A blood pressure reading consists of two distinct numbers. The first and higher of the two being systolic pressure. Systolic pressure refers to the pressure in the arterial walls when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number in a blood pressure reading is the diastolic pressure. Diastolic pressure refers to the pressure within the arterial walls when the heart rests between beats. In general, an individual’s blood pressure will rise steadily as they age from about 90/60 at birth to 120/80 as a healthy adult. However, it's natural for blood pressure to rise and fall when engaging in vigorous activity.


What is considered high?

If your blood pressure readings are frequently 140/90 or higher then you’re considered to have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure remains at this level or continues to rise your physician will most likely put you on a blood pressure treatment. On the other hand, if your blood pressure readings are 200/120 or higher than you may need immediate medical care and you should consult with your primary care physician as soon as possible.


How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

Unfortunately, many people who suffer from high blood pressure don’t actually know they have the condition. Hypertension is commonly referred to as the "silent killer," because it rarely causes noticeable symptoms even in extreme cases. Your best option for keeping an eye on your blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. You can have your blood pressure checked at a medical clinic, your neighborhood pharmacy or you can opt to purchase your own personal blood pressure monitor. Home blood pressure monitors come in a number of different sizes and include various features such as easy squeeze inflation bulbs, voice prompting and onboard memory. Digital blood pressure monitors are also fairly inexpensive and may end up saving your life. For more information relating to your specific situation or high blood pressure in general, please speak with your personal physician.


This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition. If you experience high blood pressure, seek out the care of a medical professional immediately.


About MMAR Medical: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of medical devices and comfort footwear, including shoes for diabetics. Whether you are looking for hinged knee braces, back braces or elbow / wrist supports, MMAR Medical has the highest quality products and professional expertise to find you what you need.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tips for Training with a Knee Brace

Exercise is an important part of daily life and having a knee brace should help, rather than hinder, your exercise or training regimen. Whether you are wearing a patella stabilizer, a soft support brace or a hinged knee brace here are a few tips to help you exercise effectively with braces:

  1. Wear your brace with care and check daily for imperfections. If your brace isn’t working properly do not wear it. Wearing a warped brace is not only uncomfortable, but it could also cause further injury. Try not to exercise until you get a functional replacement brace.

  2. Make sure the brace is in the right place. When you are putting on your brace use both hands to position the brace into place. Make sure it is secure and that all the straps are correctly positioned. Make sure the hinges are where the knee bends otherwise it will be very uncomfortable. Not only that but if your brace isn’t worn correctly it can do more harm to your knee.

  3. Wear your brace every day. Make sure you put on your knee brace early in the morning before the leg naturally swells up from activity. Even small exercises can strain your knee without the proper brace like walking up a stair or sitting. So be sure to wear your brace everyday during any and all activity.

  4. If you are going to work out be sure to warm up. It is extremely important to stretch and warm up before you work out. Not stretching will increase your risk of further injury to the knee. With proper stretching you will have a safe workout and reduce further injury.

  5. Know your limits. If you are doing an exercise and you feel strain on your knee do not continue with that exercise. Fight the temptation to push through the pain because doing so will only aggravate your current injuries.

Stick to these simple rules and you will have no trouble staying active with your knee brace.


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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eat this... Not that! Diabetic Safe Food Options

Contrary to popular belief, diabetes does not mean the end of enjoying food. There are plenty of delicious foods that are diabetes friendly. The key is to monitor your diet and replace foods high in sugar and carbohydrates with healthy alternatives. Below is an example of good options and bad options for diabetics.


Breakfast:


Eat this: Reduced fat yogurt with low-fat granola and non-fat or low fat milk.

Not this: doughnuts with apple Juice

It is important to start the day off right to make sure your blood sugar is right on track. Avoid sugary cereals, white bread, bacon and processed juices.

Lunch:


Eat this: Ham sandwich with lettuce, tomato and low fat mayo on whole wheat bread with water or unsweetened ice tea with lemon to drink

Not this: Hamburger with fries and a soda to drink


If you are going to have red meat, ham is one of the best meats that a diabetic can have. It is rich in protein and contains little fat. Additionally, whole wheat bread is a excellent source of fiber. Soda is one of the most sugar-filled items on the market with cans having dozens of grams of sugar per glass so it is an item to try to avoid.

Afternoon Snack:


Eat This: granola bar or beef jerky (both should be sugar free - they sneak it in, so be sure to check!)

Not this: bag of chips


Chips have a high glycemic score and are not ideal for controlling blood sugar. Instead granola bars are a great source of fiber. Be sure to read the label though to make sure granola bars have at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 150 calories per bar. Likewise, sugar-free beef jerky is high in protein and low in calories.

Dinner:


Eat This: Skinless chicken breast seasoned to taste, green bean casserole (made with non or low fat mushroom soup) and water or unsweetened ice tea with lemon.

Not This: Pork chops, butter rolls and alcohol


Chicken breast is an excellent source of protein. Avoid butter because it is high in fat which leads to cardiovascular diseases for diabetics.

Regulating your food intake is very important in your diabetic diet. Be sure to couple a healthy diet with regular exercise, as exercising can help improve your body’s use of insulin and decrease your body fat (which results in improved insulin sensitivity). Even walking a few times a week in diabetic shoes can help put you on the right track.


About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of orthopedic medical braces including a wide selection of hinged knee and ACL braces. MMMAR Medical is also proud to feature a wide selection of diabetic footwear as well as socks for diabetics.