Thursday, May 30, 2013

Product Spotlight: CEP Calf Compression Sleeves

Over the past few years, compression gear has become popular among athletes, particularly runners who are training for long distances including marathons. One of the more effective pieces of compression gear is calf compression sleeves, and they have been gaining popularity for their performance and recovery enhancing effects. Many users also cite the benefit of calf compression over long compression socks during the summer months, as it gives your ankles and calves a bit more breathing room. Some of the benefits of wearing calf compression sleeves include:

  • Reducing soreness during and after training
  • Increasing blood flow, resulting in improved recovery time
  • Improving running time
  • Decreasing vibration and muscle strain making for an easier run
  • Reducing injuries

The CEP Calf Compression Sleeves are one of the newest entrants to the market, and feature the latest compression technology. Other brands include SKINS, Zensah, and RecoFiT, but CEP (Compete, Endure, Perform) is regarded as the best fitting and best performing of these brands, probably due in large part to their medically influenced technology. All of CEP’s products are backed by research performed by reputable scientific journals, such as The Journal of Strength and Conditioning, and the calf sleeves are no different.

So how specifically do these calf compression sleeves differ from the competition? CEP calf sleeves are made of higher quality compression material and hold their tightness for a longer amount of time. It’s important to order your correct size, which will require a measurement of your calf circumference. After all, compression sleeves can’t work properly if they aren’t compressing your muscles.

One of the main benefits of CEP compression gear is that it tends to fit a bit more snug than other similar products, but it’s never constricting. This results in a feeling of stabilizing your muscles, actually making you feel stronger and allowing your muscles to endure tougher workouts. Another benefit is in comfort. CEP’s are made from one solid piece of material, so there are no irritating seams that will rub against your legs and distract you from training.

Finally, minimalist runners who use Vibrams will love these compression sleeves. Since wearing long compression socks is not an option with Vibrams, it gives the benefit of leg compression. But it also shortens the longer recovery time associated with using Vibram running shoes by reducing vibration and improving blood flow to the calves.

CEP Compression Calf Sleeves are available in our store at a great price and in your choice of six colors. Shop today for free shipping on your order of $75 or more.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Running After an Injury: How to Get Back In Running Mode

Returning from an injury is an uphill battle. Not only does the injury itself hold you back, but you will have decreased muscle mass in the injured area, and will most likely be in less-than-great shape, increasing your chances of sustaining a new injury. Here are a few things to keep in mind so you can get back to full strength after an injury.

 Stick to your Physical Therapy Routine 

When you’re recovering after a serious injury, you should always listen to your physical therapist and stick to the routine he or she outlines for you. These exercises are designed to help you recover quickly and effectively, and also prevent future injuries. Your physical therapist will also be able to tell you when you’re healthy enough to start running again.

Take It Slow 

Once you have to go-ahead to get back to training, it’s important to take it slow. When you are fresh off an injury, the chances are high that you can re-injure yourself, or even cause an entirely new injury. Warming up, stretching, and performing any other pre-workout exercises that your physical therapist recommends is essential.

Once you start running, begin with a light jog, or even a brisk walk. It’s also a good idea to supplement your running with cross-training on a bike or by swimming. It’s crucial to listen to your body very carefully during these early stages so that you don’t injure yourself again.

Don’t Get Discouraged....And Don’t Push It 

Many times athletes will become discouraged after an injury because they compare their previous performance to their post-injury performance. This is mistake. There’s simply no way for you to perform at the same level that you were performing before your injury, at least not without weeks (or sometimes months) of post-injury training. This might also cause you to want to push through intense workouts even though your body is telling you not to. Again, listen to your body and recognize “good pain” versus “bad pain.”. Another good way to keep from getting discouraged is to set short term goals that you can reach every week or even every day. Having goals to look forward to and achieve will also keep you on track in the long-term.

Get Proper Rest and Recovery 

You might find that you need more time to recover from workouts than before your injury. If you’re feeling particularly sore from a run, don’t be afraid to take a day or two off to let your body recover completely. A healthy diet that includes the proper amount of protein and carbs for effective recovery will also help you stick to a training regimen.

Over the ensuing weeks and months, you will eventually get back up to where you once were, and hopefully even surpass your pre-injured self.

MMAR Medical carries a wide selection of running braces and supports from respected orthopedic brands. They also offer educational articles on everything from wrist and hand injuries to sport specific injuries including football, baseball, and golf.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Suspicions Are True: ACL Tear Rates Are Higher on Artificial Turf

Any athlete that plays a sport outdoors has opinions on artificial turf versus real grass. Depending on the sport you play, turf can affect the way you play, the game plan and the equipment you use. Because of the artificial surface, compensating for imperfections in the playing surface becomes unnecessary and the game can be played with a bit more speed and accuracy. This can also take away some of the home field advantages in amateur level games, where grass fields aren't necessarily kept in top shape and the home team might know better where small hills, divots, and dirt patches are.

The problem arises in artificial turf's inability to allow the same "give" as grass. A quick turn could prove catastrophic for a player's feet, ankles, and knees because turf doesn't allow for as much foot movement once your cleat is planted. Recent studies have shown that in both NCAA football and NFL, the rate of ACL injuries in higher on artificial turf than on grass fields. In a study conducted by the American Journal of Sports Medicine on NFL injury rates, researchers found that the injury rate of ACL sprains was 67% higher on artificial turf than on real turf. A similar study conducted on college football injury rates found that the ACL injury rate on artificial turf was nearly 1.5 times that of the injury rate on natural grass.

As I noted earlier in this blog, a game played on artificial turf can be a very different game than one played on real grass. Attributing the injuries to the turf itself may not be accurate. The increased speed of the game, varying weather conditions and footwear technology can all be contributing factors to the difference in ACL injuries on turf versus grass.

The inability to predict exactly what is causing these injuries leads us to finding ways to prevent them. Here are a few ways you can prevent injuries:

  • Wear cleats with short spikes
  • Practice regularly on turf to get used to the surface
  • Perform a proper warm up and stretch before all athletic activities
  • Strengthen knees and supported muscles with power, agility, and speed drills
  • Wear a preventative knee brace

Injuries are inherent to all sports, whether or not they're played on a natural surface. Taking measures to avoid putting too much stress on vulnerable joints, such as the knees, is crucial to keeping yourself healthy and in the game.

MMAR Medical Group offers a wide range of braces and physical rehab products for sport and other injuries. Browse our store to find the best prices on braces that will help you recover from an injury or prevent one before it happens.

Sources:

Hershman EB, Anderson R, Bergfeld JA, Bradley JP, Coughlin MJ, Johnson RJ, Spindler KP, Wojtys E, Powell JW. An Analysis of Specific Lower Extremity Injury Rates on Grass and FieldTurf Playing Surfaces in National Football League Games: 2000-2009 Seasons. Am J Sports Med 2012;40(10):2200-2205.

Dragoo JL, Braun HJ, Durham JL, Chen MR, Harris AHS. Incidence and Risk Factors for Injuries to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in National Collegiate Athletic association football: Data From the 2004-2005 Through 2008-2009 National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System. Am J Sports Med 2012;40(5):990-995.