Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Training Tips & Protective Equipment for Hockey Players

The sport of hockey is vastly popular and played around the world with widespread participation in North America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia. Male and female players of all ages and skill levels enjoy the competitive nature of the sport that requires equal parts power and finesse to truly excel. The modern team sport’s origins can be traced back to the 1800’s in Canada where British soldiers passed time playing the game on skates on frozen lakes and ponds. Over the next 200 years the game has evolved to a place where indoor ice rinks and roller hockey rinks are common in cities across the United States.

Organized hockey leagues require a large amount of equipment to protect participants from the frozen rubber puck and other players while playing the game. Basic equipment needed includes a helmet, shoulder pads, neck guard, hockey gloves, padded hockey pants, skates and of course a stick. It is recommended that players invest in hockey specific equipment from a well-known hockey manufacturer due to the risk of injury players expose themselves to every time they step on the ice. While MMAR Medical recognizes the need for specific hockey gear, we also suggest you explore popular hockey rehabilitation equipment to help players recover and perform their best.

Protective padding
 Hockey players travelling at high speeds on wheels or a blade are susceptible to collisions and wipeouts. To cushion the fall and decrease the impact on a player’s knees we suggest investing in Mueller Knee pads. The extra strength knee pads slide up the player’s legs and an elastic material provides a comfortable and snug fit. The lightweight, non-bulky padding allows the player to move freely and not be encumbered by larger pads. These hockey knee pads are recommended for street or roller hockey players looking for more knee protection. Many ice hockey leagues require USA Hockey approved full leg protection available at hockey specific retailers.

Skate Insoles
The importance of leg strength to the sport of hockey cannot be overstated. Forwards, defenders and even goalies rely on their leg’s conditioning and power to skate faster and longer than opponents during training and in competition. For players to maximize their play their feet must be comfortable. Much of that has to do with properly fitted and broken in skates. If your skates are not as comfortable as you’d like consider Prothotic Performance Sport Insoles to cushion the often hard skate soles. Choose from a range of men’s and women’s insole sizes to provide exceptional arch and metatarsal rise support and guard against harmful over-pronation. An advanced polyurethane base layer cushions the entire foot and will never flatten or lose comfort over time. The anti-friction fabric will keep the hockey skate insole in one place and even wicks moisture away from the foot, reducing heat and the risk of uncomfortable blisters.

 Hockey Joint Braces 
There is no replacement for a strong and healthy joint but bracing an injured or recovering joint can give you confidence to play the sport you love at a high level. If you suffer joint weakness or pain we recommend adding a hockey knee, wrist or ankle brace to your equipment list. MMAR Medical stocks a wide selection of low profile braces designed to fit underneath your equipment. Most hockey skates provide excellent ankle support when laced properly however if you still require extra ankle support, browse our hockey ankle braces that will give additional muscle and joint stabilization.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Best Exercises for Preventing Ski Injuries

If you're a skier, preventing ski injuries shouldn't begin on the slopes. Though there are plenty of ways to stay safe when you're on the mountain, there are also a number of exercises that will prepare you for the upcoming ski season and help ensure that you remain healthy throughout the winter and into spring. Of course these exercises are also great during the season, but hitting the mountain before strengthening the muscles you use most could lead to injuries that could have otherwise been avoided. Check out our exercises for preventing ski injuries so you'll be ready for whatever terrain you come across.

Core Strengthening

Strengthening your core is a good idea for any sport, but the workouts will depend on the sport you're training for. Holding proper form is important while skiing, so doing workouts that will improve your endurance in these positions is helpful.

Planks are a great exercise for your abs, back, and stabilizer muscles. Simply get in a push up position, except with your elbows on the ground instead of your hands. Hold that position for a specific amount of time, which will equal one set. You may only be able to do 15 or 20 seconds when you first start off, but over a few weeks you should shoot for holding a plank for a minute or more.

Leg Strengthening

Skiing is tough on your legs, particularly your quads. Leaning forward and being on your toes for long periods of time will require strong quads, and lunges will help you build up strength in your legs that will translate well on the mountain.

Start with your feet side by side and your hands on your hips. Lunge forward with one foot, bending your front knee and making sure not to let your back knee touch the floor. Ideally, you want your back shin to be parallel to the floor, but if you can't get that low, you can work towards it over time. As you gain more strength, you start doing lunges while holding dumbbells, or with a barbell on your shoulders.

If you have had knee or ankle issues in the past or just want extra peace of mind when you're training, MMAR offers a range of performance braces for snow sports, such as the DonJoy Reaction brace, that will help keep your safe.

Cardio & Flexibility

Proper cardio is necessary for just about any sport, including skiing. If you have access to a gym, using the elliptical mimics the motion you would make in cross country skiing, but if you don’t have access to this equipment, just getting your heart rate up in general is important, whether you're running, biking, jumping rope, or any other cardio exercise.

Finally, be sure to stretch before and after your workouts. These workouts are great for avoiding injuries when you're skiing, but if you're not taking the proper precautions while exercising, you can get injured before you even get to hit the slopes.

MMAR Medical supplies medical equipment for a wide range of sports including skiing and snowboarding braces. Visit our store for our complete selection of sports braces.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Top 5 Twitter Accounts to Follow For Physical Therapy Students

Physical therapy is one of the fastest growing professions. With over 25,000 students enrolled in physical therapy programs throughout the United States, it's also becoming a competitive field. Like any medical field, there is constantly changing information and as a student it can be tough to learn established knowledge while keeping up with new research. If you're a PT student, check out these Twitter accounts for PT research and news, career advice, and job listings.

PT Think Tank

PT Think Tank is the Twitter account for PTThinkTank.com, a blog that began by covering many facets of physical therapy, and now hosts weekly Twitter talks for students enrolled in Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. The Twitter chats include professional physical therapists, students, and professors and they often have a featured guest that contributes to the conversation. The talks are hosted by @LaurenrSPT every Wednesday.

Allied Travel Careers

As a student, you will be looking for jobs and internships over the course of your PT education, and assuming you're young and flexible, traveling physical therapy jobs are a great way to spend the first few years of your professional career. @PTtraveljobs is the Twitter account of AlliedTravelCareers.com and they tweet out traveling physical therapy opportunities that are great for recent grads looking for exciting careers.

Physical Therapy Web

Physical Therapy Web posts educational PT articles from their website and other physical therapy sites around the web. They have a lot of articles based on sports physical therapy, so if you're a student specializing in sports PT, this is a great resource to follow for the latest news and research on sports therapy.

American Physical Therapy Association’s Student Assembly

The student resources Twitter page for the American Physical Therapy Association features tweets by PT students on issues they care about including study and educational resources, networking events around the country, and advice for students on how to network and stay connected within the PT community.

Physical Therapy Journal

Finally, the official, peer-reviewed journal of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Physical Therapy Journal, tweets from @PTJournal. This is a great account to follow if you're looking to stay updated on the latest PT research. You have to be an APTA member to read the full research articles, but abstracts are available and they also tweet other content such as videos of lectures and Podcasts.

MMAR Medical blogs about medical topics, including physical therapy, sports health, and more. They also supply a wide range of therapy products in their store at wholesale pricing.