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.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Choosing the Right Knee Brace

Knee braces have been used for decades to expedite the healing process as well as to prevent future injury. If you have recently injured your knee or have been noticing pains, aches or the like, a knee brace can reduce pain, increase mobility, and provide additional support. Selecting the appropriate knee brace for your individual problem can be a bit confusing. There are many different types of knee braces, all for different issues. It’s important to do your research, understand your condition, and consult your doctor before deciding on a knee brace.

Factors to Consider

If you’re looking to buy a medical knee brace, it’s good to a keep few important aspects in mind.

What part of the knee are you trying to protect?

From MCL and ACL tear braces to patella stabilizers, different braces aid different parts of the knee. A dislocated knee cap, for example, requires entirely different brace system than a torn ligament or arthritic joints. Likewise, there are several tendons and ligaments in the knee that are prone to tearing, all of which require a specific type of support during rehabilitation. It is critical to pinpoint the underlying issue or issues behind your knee pain and select a medical knee brace accordingly. Once a doctor diagnoses what part or parts of the knee is the underlying source of the problem, you can begin finding the proper brace.

What is the extent of your activity?

The nature of your daily activities should play a big role in the brace your decide for yourself. A high impact basketball player requires a completely different brace than an individual who suffers from day-to-day osteoarthritis.

Prophylactic versus Functional Knee Braces

There are two main categories of knee braces: Prophylactic and functional. Prophylactic knee braces are those used by individuals, mostly athletes, strictly for injury prevention. These users have not necessarily incurred injuries in the past, but hope to avoid them by keeping the knee properly supported. These braces are particularly popular with professional football players. They are usually made of elastic and are simpler in nature. These braces allow regular mobility and knee movement as well as breathable, comfortable material. These may include a pull-on sleeve made from neoprene that holds the knee tightly and insulates warmth that increases blood supply to the knee.

Functional knee braces are braces used by those that have indeed incurred a ligament injury and are in a recuperative phase. In this case, functional knee braces should be worn in a conjoined physical therapy program that includes knee strengthening and muscle development.

Functional knee braces are frequently hinged. Hinged knee braces are more "heavy duty" than standard prophylactic braces and offer more support and stability. These braces are used for lateral (outside of knee joint), medial (inner side of knee joint), or ACL injury (anterior cruciate ligament).

Arthritis braces are also popularly known as unloader knee braces. Unloader or OA braces are another type of functional brace that serve to relieve the stress and pain of the knee caused by arthritis. This brace is typically made from plastic or foam and contains metal parts that limit the range of motion to the wearer. These movement limitations ensure that the knee is kept in place. In addition to controlling movement, unloader braces add pressure to the affected area shifting the pressure and stress from the painful part of the knee to a healthier, less painful one. Changes from using an unloader brace are generally displayed by angular changes, bone spur formation decreased cartilage, and joint space narrowing.

So whether you just incurred a knee injury, have been suffering from arthritic knee problems for some time, or just wish to prevent knee injury in the future, a knee brace may be just what you’re looking for. But remember, always consult a medical professional that understands your knee pain before buying a brace for yourself.

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

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.