Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What the Growing Orthopedic Industry Means for Patients and Practitioners

Over-the-counter, or OTC, orthopedic devices have long been recognized as an irreplaceable segment of the modern medical device market. With 2011 reports estimating that more than two percent of all osteoarthritis patients chose orthopedic surgery, devices like braces continue growing in popularity.1 For patients, therapists, physicians and other caregivers, increased awareness of the benefits of OTC orthopedics and rising product availability could translate to improved treatment practices and better long-term outcomes.

Where Are Trends Headed?

In October 2016, economic observers predicted that the OTC orthopedic braces market would grow by 4.8 percent annually until attaining a total value of $1.33 billion in 2021.2 Globally, regions like North America and Europe were key players in the field in 2016, but demand in Asia and elsewhere is also expected to grow.

Why Are OTC Orthopedics in Demand?

What’s driving the expansion? There are a few key factors:

Increased Patient Knowledge

Some assessments pin braces’ burgeoning popularity on an expanding middle class that's more familiar with the advantages of the technology. Compared to alternatives like invasive procedures and pharmaceutical regimens, braces could seem like attractive options due to their low cost and ease of use.

Aging Populations

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, less than 15 percent of the national population was 65 or older in 2014.3 By 2040, that number is projected to exceed 21 percent. These groups are at higher risk of falls, broken bones, sprains and other health troubles that might be less challenging with orthopedic braces.

It’s also worth noting that Medicare Part B covers many leg, neck and back braces as long as they’re medically necessary.4 As a result, they may be more viable treatment options for those who can’t afford other forms of health coverage.

Mounting Necessity

The number of road accident and sporting injury victims is growing. Experts believe that these incidents contribute to a higher demand for orthopedic supports that can be used to strengthen muscles and joints during the rehabilitation period.5 With ligament injuries being some of the most common injuries across all sports, braces play a major role in helping participants heal effectively.

Superior Manufacturing and Distribution

Technologies and business models are also improving. Along with lowering product prices, new developments in materials science and novel fabrication methods are leading to increased comfort and reducing the size of formerly bulky devices. In 2014, market analysts also identified a rise in the number of braces manufacturers that outsourced precision fabrication services.6 Coupled with supplier consolidation, these factors contribute significantly towards the above-market growth exhibited by many orthopedic sectors.

What Does the Expansion of the Braces Market Mean for You?

Caregivers Can Heighten Service Quality

For doctors and physical therapists, a more robust braces market is a good thing. Manufacturers that want to capitalize are likely to offer more competitive pricing and new design innovations that let physicians provide their clients with a broader range of accessible treatment options. Practitioners with problematic patients may also have an easier time persuading these individuals to adhere to their treatment regimens if they involve the use of braces and orthopedics that seem minimally life-altering.

More Options for Patients and Users

Patients stand to benefit from greater access to orthopedic products and knowledge. Although most people are already familiar with devices like leg and arm orthopedics, there are a huge variety of similar options for other parts of the body. For instance, the University of Maryland Medical Center acknowledges more than 30 types of braces for spine disorders alone.[7]

As manufacturers develop new technologies and optimize orthopedic designs, they’ll also market them to caregivers and publish information about their use in trade journals. Your primary physician may soon benefit from more comprehensive knowledge about different kinds of braces and be able to recommend a better option for your recovery. If you’re on Medicare or a private health insurance plan, your particular orthopedics are more likely to be covered if your doctor is able to justify your need, so their growing expertise definitely works to your advantage.

A Bright Future for OTC Orthopedics

The proliferation of OTC braces holds great promise for all. By letting more people take charge of maintaining their health, orthopedic devices stand to offer significant care improvements and help their users live more enjoyable lives. To see where this exciting industry is going next and to find the orthopedic brace that works for you, 
visit MMAR Medical today.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Psychology Behind Group Workouts

During our lives, most of us take part in many activities in a group setting. We attend school and classes as a group. We join bowling leagues or soccer teams. Many of us are members of various organizations. Those who attend church services are part of a congregation. There are several other groups that one might join during their lifetime and most people enjoy this interaction with others. 

When joining an exercise program, a client usually has a choice to take part in group classes or one-on-one private classes. Trying to choose which option would be the best fit is often a difficult decision. However, with the high cost of working with a private trainer, the majority feel that exercising with a group will give them an adequate workout. A number of studies have shown that in the end, taking part in a group exercise class has the most beneficial results.

The Beginnings of Group Exercise

Zumba workouts have risen in popularity over the last decade.
Group exercise classes became popular in the 1970s and 1980s. It was during this time that Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda introduced the aerobic workout to the public. Various types of workouts became popular, including Jazzercise, bicycling and Spinning. In the 1990s, group classes included Body Pump and Tae Bo classes. Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes became a favorite of many. Boot camps and CrossFit classes followed these. Today, with the variety of classes available, most people will find a class that is perfect for them. 

Why is Group Exercise a Good Choice?

What makes group exercise classes the best choice for most people? There are several factors. One immediate benefit is that the cost is usually much less than one-on-one training. Those who cannot afford private classes can still take part in the group classes and reap the benefits of doing so.

Most people have been told that exercise is necessary to remain healthy but do not know where to start. Joining an exercise group gives a person a choice of classes and levels. Becoming a member of a class helps one overcome their reluctance to taking that first step.

Benefits of Group Exercise Classes

Taking part in an exercise class provides those in the class an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Moreover, a group class challenges one to work harder than if they were exercising at home alone. Everyone is working towards the same goal, and the trainer will push everyone to do his or her best. Studies have shown that when working out in a group, people tend to push themselves harder than when they are exercising alone. This may result in them burning more calories as well as increasing their endurance and strength beyond their perceived limitations. Those in a class motivate each other to stay on track to reach their goals and to keep one another accountable.

Besides the physiological benefits of group exercise, there are psychological benefits as well. Exercising is one of several activities that stimulate the release of endorphins. These chemicals interact with receptors in the brain that block pain and produce a euphoric, happy feeling. Often, doctors recommend group exercise for their patients diagnosed with anxiety or depression. Exercise, which most people enjoy, is also a great stress-buster.

Working out in a group can be physically and psychologically beneficial.
Studies have shown that whether it is a game of soccer, a run with a friend or an exercise class, most people perform better when paired up with others. It may be due to the inspiration or competition found in a group, but no one wants to let a team member down. In many cases, they perform even better on the task than they believed they could.

Everyone is aware of the value of exercise, and taking classes as part of a group may be the way to go. This manner of exercising has many physiological as well as psychological benefits. For most exercise classes, the only equipment one needs to bring to class is themselves. Today, exercising is more important than ever, and there is no good excuse not to try it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Could Better Footwear, Insoles Be the Solution to Football’s Lisfranc Injury Problem?

With college football officially underway and the NFL regular season starting soon after, player safety will be at the forefront of the discussion. While the devastating consequences of concussions will surely hog the spotlight, lower body injuries can be just as debilitating and are statistically much more prevalent, accounting for 50.4% of all player injuries, according to the NCAA. Lisfranc fractures make up a small proportion of these lower body injuries, but Lisfranc’s impact on college and professional football is immense.

What is a Lisfranc Injury?

A Lisfranc fracture is a dislocation of the joint connecting the midfoot and the forefoot caused by trauma or sudden twisting. The cause of a Lisfranc injury can be categorized in one of two groups—direct or indirect. The severing of the Lisfranc joint through trauma delivered by an outside force is considered a direct injury. For example, this could occur when a lineman accidently stomps on another player’s midfoot. Indirect Lisfranc fractures, however, are caused by the sudden twisting or rotation of a foot. This typically happens when a player’s foot gets planted forcibly and unnaturally while changing direction on turf. After sustaining the fracture, pain in the midfoot is immense and the vast majority of athletes are unable to finish the game, let alone the season. Depending on the severity, a Lisfranc fracture can even require surgery to realign the dislocated bones and could be a career killer.       

Lisfranc Injury on the Field

Offensive linemen are typically the most likely to sustain a Lisfranc injury, but college and NFL players in many other positions have suffered from the fracture as well. Jake Locker, Ben Roethlisberger, Dion Lewis, Brandon Marshall and Le’Veon Bell are just a few examples of skill position players that have struggled with the injury in recent years. Locker, a former first-round draft pick, was ultimately unable to return to form after his injury and retired early at the age of 26.

One of the most successful signal callers in the game, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, is returning after being sidelined for an entire season by an indirect Lisfranc fracture he suffered while cutting up field against Nebraska. Just a year removed from a different season-ending injury to his knee, Hill fought through the pain of the Lisfranc fracture and played the majority of the game before finally bowing out. Following the game, he had screws surgically implanted in his midfoot to reconnect the joints and began an arduous 11-month rehabilitation process.

Are Cleats to Blame? 

Many athletic trainers and podiatrists are pointing their fingers at lightweight, minimalist cleats as the menace behind the increase in Lisfranc injury on the football field. The major athletic shoe brands (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, etc.) have moved toward technology that emphasizes flexibility and arch support has greatly suffered as a result. This flexibility can allegedly lead to the indirect Lisfranc fractures sustained when changing direction.

In order to begin rectifying this issue, Nike partnered with Taysom Hill in the offseason to create a custom cleat with increased arch support to avoid reinjury. With Hill returning to action this fall, Nike will be able to monitor his recovery and expand the use of the custom cleats if proven successful. In addition to new cleats with rigid arch support, Hill was given custom insoles. 

While most believe that cleats play a factor in the increased prevalence of Lisfranc, others claim it’s simply a result of players progressively getting bigger, faster and stronger. It’s the new norm for lineman to tower over competition at 6’3” and weigh upwards of 300 lbs, and players like this weren’t in the league 20 years ago. The average weight of an offensive tackle has increased by over 40 pounds since 1980. Another possible factor behind the increase in Lisfranc is the improved ability of trainers to successfully diagnose the injury. In the past, the injury was often misdiagnosed because the hurt Lisfranc joint will sometimes naturally return to its original position before it’s inspected by training staff. Increased awareness has led to midfoot injuries being inspected more closely.

The Importance of Orthotics & Footwear

Ultimately, the increasing prevalence of Lisfranc fractures highlights the importance of the correct use of orthopedic insoles and athletic footwear. Most modern cleats do not provide the essential arch support necessary to prevent foot and ankle injuries. Players should add orthotics that complement their foot styles. In addition, their shoes should be tailored for the specific position they play, the playing surface (turf or grass) and the outside temperature.

Even if you’re an amateur, consult a podiatrist concerning your personal arch support needs before you play on the gridiron this fall. Insoles like the Prothotic motion control sport insole do wonders in ensuring your feet and ankles remain healthy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Offseason: Avoiding Injuries and Staying Healthy

For some athletes, the beginning of offseason is a welcomed relaxation period to destress and unwind. And for many, offseason training begins right away. Although it is extremely important to maintain a healthy exercise regimen during this period, it is also wise to do everything you can to avoid an injury. An offseason injury can severely affect your ability to perform once your normal workouts start back up again. Many athletes get injured when they push themselves too hard, use improper techniques, do too much of the same exercise or neglect rest and recovery time. Be smart during the offseason with our tips below.

Don’t forget to work your core in the offseason. This includes your glutes, lower back and deep abdominals too. Your core is the foundation of your movement and if these areas are out of sync, the rest of your body will be as well. The core acts as the central energy transfer in your entire body, so not keeping it strong and in shape during the offseason can lead to injury and exhaustion when you return.

Focus on low-impact core exercises during the offseason to minimize joint damage.

Another helpful tip is to focus on exercises that are not a part of your usual in-season routine. If you lift heavy weights, focus on conditioning and cardio during the offseason with less emphasis on weights. If your in-season consists of mainly cardio, consider doing more strength training and lighten up on the running. This will help you train the parts of your body you don’t normally work during the season to stabilize and strengthen those areas. Also, consider moving away from the machines and using free weights and body resistance. Machines are great for exercising, but they only allow for resistance along a set path of motion. Exercises like squats, lunges and presses will lead to a greater transfer of strength.

Remember that your diet is as important as your exercise during the offseason, if not more so. Don’t continue to eat as though you are in-season and burning thousands of calories a day. It may take a while for your body to adjust to a new normal, but not doing so will lead to fat gain and over-consumption. Avoid using energy bars and sports drinks as meal replacements. These are filled with calories that are great for in-season workouts, but will be counterproductive while you’re off. With an increased amount of time on your hands, you have a perfect opportunity to practice preparing non-packaged, non-processed foods. Get into this habit early on and incorporate it into your future routine too. Mix up your diet with healthy alternatives. Try simple swaps like quinoa for brown rice, fish for chicken breast and kale for spinach.

Advance meal planning can help keep you from making unhealthy choices on the fly.

The most common injuries during this period are “overuse injuries” such as muscle strains and tendonitis. These can result from not resting and recovering after visits to the gym or from going to the gym too often. Rest is one of the best preventative techniques to avoid offseason injuries. Ask yourself if you’ve had enough recovery time between the end of your season and the beginning of your offseason workouts. This is the perfect time to allow any pains or issues you dealt with during the season to heal, so take advantage of it. As a rule of thumb, you should rest for about two weeks. Consider a brace or compression sock as well to aid in support and recovery. If your offseason is the start of a long period without weightlifting, start low and work your way up when you return to your normal routine. The combination of forgotten lifting techniques and recent body changes in the offseason may put too much strain on your body and lead to an injury. Go slow and work your way up to where you once were.

Finally, and most importantly, watch your form! You should always be cautious and use proper lifting techniques. While in offseason, athletes have a tendency to forget or become less concerned with their lifting and running form. A careless technique will almost always result in injury. Be smart, be aware and be active. Take these tips and head into your offseason with safety and confidence!