Monthly Archives: November 2016

Protective Braces: Preventing Knee Injuries in Offensive Linemen

While we’ve seen the sport of football skyrocket in popularity over the last decade, we’ve also seen injuries skyrocket as well. Now more than ever we are aware of the high numbers of players being taken off the roster due to injuries that sometimes cost them the rest of the season.

Just two weeks into the 2015 season, 15% of football players had already experienced an injury. This report included 12 concussions, two neck injuries, and 40 knee injuries. According to the same report, the 2013-2014 season saw more than 1,300 injuries, suggesting that the 2015 season injuries were simply on par with the previous years.

Knee injuries are one of the most common areas for injury in football. Because of the force and high amount of contact in the sport, player’s knees are constantly exposed to high levels of pressure and torque that are a common cause of knee injuries. Movements that can cause these knee injuries include stopping/starting, directional changes, pivoting, and blunt force to the knee. Unfortunately, players are required to perform these movements day in and day out, so avoiding knee injury can be difficult.

Offensive linemen are right at the heart of contact and tackles, and they experience a large number of the knee injuries that occur. According to studies, offensive linemen have a greater risk for knee injury than perimeter linemen, which include defensive ends and offensive tackles. For those who play in this position, or who plan to take on this position, the protection of your knees is of the utmost importance if you want to stay healthy throughout the season.

football-player

Protective Braces

To help limit the amount of injury done to an offensive linemen’s knees, there are some options for protection, including a protective knee brace. While a knee brace will not stop injury indefinitely, it may help to increase outer protection of the knee and offer increased stabilization of the joint. The following are a few of the knee braces available, which may help offensive linemen protect and prevent injury to their knees:

Mueller Shokk Knee Brace Pads

For players looking for something simplistic but effective, a knee brace pad for football can offer some extra protection around the knee joint without limiting movement. The knee pads work to cushion and absorb shock, so offensive linemen can have some added protection during knee-to-knee contact and tackles.

This knee brace pad offers basic support, so players who are just starting out and who want to get comfortable with a brace may consider this design. The brace has a neoprene blend, and provides constant compression and warmth to the area to aid in injury prevention.

football-team

Mueller Football Hinge 2100 Knee Brace

As mentioned, some of the injuries that occur in offensive linemen happen during hard tackles and contact. Many of the tackles that occur will come from the side angle of a player, which can be extremely harmful to the kneecap.

For those players that suffer constant lateral blows from tackles and contact, this hinged knee brace may be suited to them. The design is meant to protect the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and helps to protect from hyperextension injuries.

This brace is extremely convenient for players, providing a design that can be worn on either leg while still providing maximum mobility. Hinges in the design roll with the knee and track its movement to protect the joint and soften the blow of contact. Offensive linemen who want to prevent knee hyperextension should certainly consider a brace of this caliber.

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Breg Custom Fusion w/ AirTech Knee Brace

Offensive linemen who are looking for overall protection for their ACL, MCL, PCL, and collateral ligaments should consider a brace like the Breg Custom Fusion. A brace like this offers stability throughout the knee joint, while still being sleek and lightweight enough that it will not inhibit movement and performance.

The brace is lined with frame padding to help the brace conform to the leg and inhibit migration, which is important to protecting the knee in any situation including twists, hits, pivots, etc. For football players looking for the highest amount of activity while maintaining full protection of the area, this kind of brace is beneficial.

Conclusion

Offensive linemen have very important jobs on the field, but it’s hard to perform at their best when they’re playing with insecurities or instabilities in their knees. To help prevent knee injuries at this position, it is suggested that players consider some of the braces above to increase stability and safety.

Best Braces for Soccer Players

Soccer is quickly becoming the fastest growing team sport in America. The sport is great for athletes of all ages, as it promotes leadership, communication, exercise, balance and coordination. For soccer players, enjoying this sports means taking care of their bodies and taking all of the right precautions both on and off the field.

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The most common injuries in soccer take place in the lower extremities, which can be detrimental to a player’s future career. The knees and ankle joints are the most used body parts, and they’re commonly subjected to overuse, contact, and blunt force while playing the game. If a player wants to continue to enjoy the game of soccer at their best, it’s important to consider injury prevention and effective treatments to enjoy a long career as a soccer player.

To help soccer players protect themselves, there are a wide range of knee and ankle braces available to help aid in the protection of the ligaments and to help prevent further injury from occurring. For those who are planning to partake in soccer at any level, it’s a good idea to invest in a brace that will keep the area stable and protected, while still allowing for a full range of motion. The following list is comprised of some of the best braces for soccer players:

Bauerfeind Malleotrain Ankle Brace

For everyday ankle pain, swelling, or discomfort, soccer players can use a simple brace like this Bauerfeind Malleotrain Ankle Brace. The brace is meant to offer support and compression with a knitted ankle design and anatomically contoured silicone behind the ankle bones.

Players who lack circulation in the area will enjoy an ankle brace like this that offers compression and heat to keep the muscles and joints warm and performing at their best.

Medtherapies Plantar Fascia Strap

With the consistent and long-term running that is required in soccer, some players may incur injuries to their plantar fascia, which is the ligament running from the heel of the foot to the toes. When overworked, swollen, or irritated, this ligament is sometimes prone to plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, making regular movements like walking and running very painful for players.

kids-playing-soccer

This Plantar Fascia Strap brace provides elastic tension and pressure to the painful area, and can help reduce painful inflammation. Players can fit the brace comfortably into their shoes to receive the benefits of the pressure and compression, thereby helping to relieve irritation while performing.

DonJoy Protective Knee Guard

Contact in soccer may occur less frequently and less aggressively than a sport such as football; however, there are times when contact and collisions occur on the field, and they can be the end of a player’s season. Soccer players are frequently jumping for balls, changing direction, pivoting, and putting pressure onto their knees, and this constant wear and tear can be the cause of serious injury.

To protect the knees, a knee brace like the DonJoy Protective Knee Guard is a great option for protecting the body from lateral blows and high contact to the medial collateral ligament (MCL). It’s also a great design for any kind of high impact that occurs and aids against injury by deflecting outside forces from the area.

Although incredibly sturdy, the knee brace is made to fit comfortably on either knee and helps to improve knee joint function. Players who tend to be more physical in the game of soccer should consider a brace with this type of design to protect from sideways contact and injury from sideways movements.

Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Brace

For generally weaker or less stable knees, soccer players may want to consider a brace like the Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Brace for added support. This kind of brace has a simplistic style and is meant for players who tend to overuse the ligament, making it perfect for soccer players.

The brace works to apply dynamic forces to the surrounding areas of the knee, reducing symptoms of overuse. The idea is that the pressure put on the knee can be dispersed away from the knee to strengthen and protect it from weakening. This is especially great for soccer players with Runner’s Knee, instabilities, Jumper’s Knee, and Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease.

soccer-players-on-ground

For soccer players, protecting the lower extremities is essential to playing at their best and enjoying a long career on the field. If a soccer player is worried about incurring injury in the game, they might consider investing in a quality brace to offer that added support and injury prevention.

3 Yoga Poses for Runners

Running is a very popular pastime for many people, and why wouldn’t it be? Running is a relatively cheap sport, you can do it at your own pace, and you can do it in groups or on your own! Running is one of the very few sports that athletes can be very selective about in regards to how they do it.

Running is very beneficial to our health. Not only can it make you happier, but it can also help us maintain a healthy weight, improve our joints and muscles, and get us outside! However, running can sometimes cause sore muscles, tightness, cramping and injury. Practicing a diligent warmup and cool down routine is very beneficial to anyone who runs, regardless of how frequently.

Another great habit to start practicing alongside your running is yoga, which can help to relax the muscles, stretch out tight areas, and help our bodies come back down.

If you’re new to yoga, here are 3 yoga poses that are perfect for runners:

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  1. Standing Wide-Legged Forward Fold

When we think about running, we tend to think about our feet, but there is so much more to it than that! For this yoga pose, runners will feel the stretch in their hips and hamstrings.

Individuals should stand with their legs a little bit further than shoulder-width apart. Turn your heels slightly outward, so that your feet point slightly inward. Breathing in, reach your arms out to the sides to form a capital letter “T” and inhale. Exhale as you slowly begin to fold forward, bringing your hands to the floor. (You can also use a yoga block if you’d like). Make sure that your spine is straight, and your head is hanging downward.

After 4-5 breaths, use your ab muscles to slowly roll your body up again to an upright position. Bring your feet together, and repeat as necessary. Remember that your knees should never be fully-locked; keep them slightly bent throughout.

woman-stretching-legs-on-back

  1. Figure 4 Pose

This yoga pose is fairly popular, as it hits a lot of spots and is fairly easy to do. This pose will help to open up and stretch the outer hips, as well as the inner thighs.

Begin by lying on your mat, with your abs working to press your back into the mat. Bring both knees up to your chest so that they form a 90-degree angle. (Use a mirror if you need guidance). Lift your right leg and place your ankle on top of your left thigh. Lace your fingers together and wrap them around the left thigh, and gently pull toward your chest.

The shape of your legs should look like the number 4 if you’re doing it correctly. Stay in this position for 4-5 breaths, and flex the foot to feel more of a stretch if necessary. Those with knee problems can ease the ankle of the “4 shape” for comfort.

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  1. Seated Forward Fold

This stretch can be difficult for some individuals, so be sure to pay attention to how your body feels and ease up to avoid over stretching. This yoga pose will help to elongate the spine and stretch the hamstrings and back.

Sit on your mat with your legs out straight in front of you. Tighten your stomach muscles to give yourself some added support. Sit up tall and inhale, while raising your arms up to the ceiling. As you breathe out, slowly start to lean forward and use your arms to reach for your toes.

If you can, allow your arms to rest on your thighs, ankles, or shins, depending on your level of flexibility. Every time you breathe in, try to stretch a little bit further to elongate the spine even more. While running, the constant pounding of feet to pavement may shorten the spine, which is why this yoga pose can be very beneficial. Stay here as long as you’re comfortable, to get the best stretch possible, and feel free to wiggle your legs and flex your feet to get that extra stretch in.

For runners, the movements that you do before and after a run are just as important as doing the actual activity. If you are new to yoga, there are lots of yoga accessories available that can help you gradually become more comfortable and more flexible in each position.

If you’re looking for more ways to assist the different body parts that you use while running, consider braces optimal for running to protect and prevent injuries from occurring. Even if you don’t need a supportive brace, these yoga stretches will help keep active and healthy.

 

4 Braces for Volleyball Season

Volleyball has become an increasingly popular sport over the last decade. The sport requires a lot of leadership, team communication, and physical fitness to play at your very best. As the sport has inherited more and more players, the level of competition has also increased, and as a result injuries have increased as well. It has been reported that some of the most common areas for volleyball injuries include the shoulders, fingers, and ankles, as these areas are used the most frequently in this sport.

For volleyball players, it’s important to protect those parts of your body that are subjected to overuse, blunt force, and other possible causes of injury. To ensure that you stay healthy throughout the volleyball season, there are a variety of body braces that will be able to help prevent and protect areas of the body, including knees, shoulders, wrists, and fingers.

women-playing-volleyball

Consider investing in protective bracing so that you can enjoy a successful season in volleyball. Here are 4 of the best braces for volleyball season:

  1. DonJoy Sully Shoulder Brace

Volleyball is a very arm-heavy sport. Players are constantly bumping, setting, serving, and spiking, which leads to a lot of overuse in the shoulder joints. To help protect players from injuries such as strains, shoulder separation, shoulder instabilities, and more, a brace such as the DonJoy Sully Shoulder Brace will help to control the shoulder’s range of motion.

The brace itself is designed to stabilize, assist, or restrict movement of the shoulder in post-injury or post-op situations. The neoprene material grips the skin to track its movement without limiting movement or performance. Athletes with previous shoulder pain may also consider this type of brace to prevent further injury.

woman-jumping-to-hit-volleyball

  1. Bort MalleoStabil Ankle Brace

Athletes who have incurred injury or pain to the upper portion of the ankle will want to consider a brace such as the Bort MalleoStabil Ankle Brace. This brace is designed to stabilize the upper ankle joint, as well as reduce ligament injury pain, upper ankle joint sprains, supination or pronation, and fibular ligament rupture.

For volleyball players, the ankle takes a lot of heat because of the necessary movements such as change of direction, pivoting, jumping, and landing. For hitters, ankle injuries can occur upon landing, while positions such as the libero must perform changes in direction quickly. Movements like this have the ability to wear down the ankle over time or cause rolls, sprains, etc. when there is knee-to-knee contact or unsafe landings.

An ankle brace like this will stabilize the ankle joint, while also helping to reduce swelling, control pronation, and increase physical activity.

volleyball-serve

  1. FLA 3D Adjustable Thumb Brace

It comes as no surprise that volleyball players are constantly using their hands and fingers to perform spikes, serves, sets, and more. For a player who injures their hand or fingers, this can mean a very long time on the injured list before the area fully heals.

To help prevent possible injury, volleyball players should consider a thumb brace like the FLA 3D Adjustable Thumb Brace. This brace helps to support and immobilize the thumb, while still allowing for a full range of hand movements. Players who have incurred a thumb injury can use this brace to immobilize the CMC and MCP joints without losing their ability to perform at their best.

shaking-hands-on-vollyball-court

  1. United Ortho FKB ACL Knee Brace

Knee injuries are some of the most common ailments across all types of sports. For volleyball players, a knee brace is a great option to consider if they want to protect their knee from blunt force, knee-on-knee contact, sprains, and more.

A brace like the United Ortho FKB ACL Knee Brace is designed to help with a variety of ailments, including moderate to severe knee instabilities in the ACL, MCL, and LCL. Players who wear the brace may notice that their joint function improves, and that it allows for maximum performance while still offering full protection.

Volleyball positions such as the libero, who tends to dive and dig into the court, often may want to consider a quality knee brace to help them prevent injury or protect previous injuries from re-occurring.

With volleyball season underway, athletes will want to make sure they do what they can to keep their bodies healthy, strong, and protected from injury. These 4 braces are some of the best options for volleyball players; however, it’s important that individuals speak to their sports doctors or family doctors before investing in a brace. Many of the designs are meant for specific ailments and needs, and choosing the wrong kind will be more harmful than helpful.

 

Speeding Up Recovery: Compex Muscle Stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) or Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is defined as being the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses. The term has been gaining momentum in the last couple of years as more and more individuals have utilized its services for a wide variety of needs, injuries, and rehabilitation requirements.

How Does It Work?

It has been explained that the device is essentially a small electrical box, with wires that connect to the body with pads. The pads are placed in close proximity to the targeted muscles, and the device creates impulses that are delivered through the skin’s electrodes to the targeted muscle.

The impulses are meant to replicate action potential, which causes the muscles to contract. Some of the main uses for the device are for pain relief as well as muscle re-education. More and more athletes have started using muscle stimulation as a strength training tool, as well as for pain reduction in specific areas of injury.

Fully or partially immobilized patients may use it for rehabilitation and strengthening exercises, as the machine is said to help re-train the muscles to react and adopt their original functioning after long bouts of sedentary movement. This kind of tool may also be used for evaluating neural and/or muscular function, and can also be used in post-recovery in sports.

There are a wide variety of quality muscle stimulation options to help with the treatment of pain, muscle spasm reduction, and muscle rehabilitation. For a more in-depth look at muscle stimulation products, the following looks at recovery speed with a Compex Muscle Stimulation.

man-flexing-back-muscles

How Does It Help Speed Recovery?

Electrical muscle stimulation essentially works to increase blood flow, a process that is important to the recovery of a targeted area. When an individual works out or an athlete performs, their muscles tissue will start to swell, and, as a result, it starts to cut off the blood flow to tiny blood vessels.

Decreased blood flow can restrict both acute recovery and short-term recovery. To keep the flow of blood strong, some individuals will get massages, or use cold ice baths or rollers. The other option is EMS, which can relax the muscles, open up the flow of blood, and allow nutrients to flow in while metabolic waste products flow out.

While not all athletes use the route of EMS, many have now adopted the process for a wide variety of needs and ailments to get back to their peak performance more quickly. While studies have been few, it’s been found that electrical muscle stimulation recovery tools are of equal success in comparison to other routes of recovery, such as running and massages.

leg-muscle-electric-stimulation

Compex Muscle Stimulation

Compex is a Swiss company specializing in pain treatment, physiotherapy, and sports training. They are most known for their electrostimulation technology, which is now widely used by athletes, doctors, and patients to help muscle recovery, injury prevention, pain treatment, and physical preparation.

For individuals who are looking for speedy recovery, Compex offers a line of stimulators that are best known for this requirement. Their Compex Sport line has four different options, from Compex SP 2.0 to Compex SP 8.0, each representing a specific level of activity or endurance.

Individuals simply have to place them on the targeted area and allow the tool to automatically adjust its stimulator parameters to the body’s physiology. The complex design adapts to each of the muscles to provide the most effective electrostimulation possible. Individuals can control the amount of stimulation and combine voluntary contractions with involuntary contractions for the best workout possible.

Some of the highlights of these Compex products include training recovery, muscle soreness reduction, reviving and/or relaxing massage, and competition recovery. The tools also have the ability to improve pain management and reduce muscle tension, and may also be of benefit to issues such as tendonitis, neck/back pain, cramps, and heavy legs.

electrode-muscle-stimulation

Conclusion

For most athletes, a speedy recovery will not be possible with one tool or exercise. For most, recovery will require a combination of practices that work together to rehabilitate the injured area and allow it to return back to its peak performance levels. For those who are considering a variety of rehabilitation options, you might also consider cold baths, massage, rollers, strength training, and quality bracing and supports.

What will work for one individual may not for another, so it’s important that each person speak to a qualified professional or doctor about their options. A professional will be able to recognize the cause and requirements of the injury, and what will be of best benefit to you when looking for a speedy recovery.

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