• 3 Tips for Properly Using a Hip Brace


    Hip braces are used to stabilize the hips and keep them in proper alignment. They are most often used postoperatively but also can be used by people who require a better alignment to relieve pain while undergoing physical therapy. They can also be used in infants and small children to correct congenital structural problems, ensuring that these don't follow the child into later life. They resemble a harness, or sling and are usually put on and removed while lying in a bed.

    They’re made in a variety of materials depending upon their use. Your doctor or physical therapist will instruct you how to wear one and take it on and off, but once you get home there are several things to be aware of as you transition back into your normal routine.

    Mobility is Going to Be Restricted

    Things that you used to take for granted may now become difficult to do. Wearing the brace, especially if it is a larger one, is going to make your hip area wider than it was before. This could make going to the toilet difficult; you may ask your provider about getting a drop arm commode. This will allow you to sit more comfortably and provide arm support when you are getting back up.

    Also, be sure to avoid sitting in chairs or couches that are low to the ground as they may require too much hip flexion, making you break your restrictions that the doctor will place you on.

    Washing the Brace

    Some braces are completely machine washable while others will have pads that can be removed for washing with the hard materials of the brace being wiped clean.

    If you can only remove the brace at bedtime, you’ll need to do the washing then, remembering to allow for time to dry. This is when it's very helpful to have someone that can help you. Also, having your brace unavailable during the night could create problems if you've to get back up. For this reason, it's a good idea to ask for at least one extra set of pads. That way you’ll always be able to have a clean, dry pair available.

    Clothing and Your Hip Brace

    Hip braces are usually worn under clothing. Clothes will need to be a larger size than you would normally wear, with loose-fitting workout clothes being the easiest to manage. You may want to consider a thin undergarment such as spandex to prevent the brace from rubbing directly against the skin. This helps avoid skin irritation and keeps the brace clean. Keep in mind that underwear is also going to need to go over the brace, otherwise you’ll have to take off the entire brace every time you go to the bathroom.

    Inspect the skin under the brace daily, especially in small children. If you notice any abrasions, redness or blistering, consult your doctor or therapist to determine the best course of action.

    Using these tips will help you or a loved one transition into life with a temporary hip brace, keeping the inconveniences to a minimum.

  • Dealing With A Broken Bone in An Area Where You're Double Jointed


    Double-jointedness, or joint hyper-mobility, is a medical condition that affects around 3% of the U.S. population. While hyper-mobility may not be something that doctors currently understand, it results from a mixture of genetic makeup and physical training. People who suffer from hyper-mobility have an increased likeliness of enduring broken bones and painful injuries.

    Hyper-mobility causes the collagen in ligaments and joints to be much more flexible than they should be. Hyper-mobility causes a patient to have double the range of movement that human bodies are designed to have. This joint mobility weakens the body, which creates joint pain and causes dislocations, stress fractures, and broken bones due to their brittleness.

    The key to treating broken bones in people that're double jointed is to stay fit and strong ahead of time. Strong muscles around ligaments and broken bones help them to stay within their range of mobility better and therefore heal faster. If a bone does break, the treatment can be quite simple. Casts and special molds called orthotics can be created to keep the bone still and correct the fracture. The bone will heal itself in about six weeks with a proper cast and treating the affected area with caution.

    Additional splints, mobility aids, and supports may be used when a cast comes off. Braces are commonly used to support bones and ligaments and to keep them from becoming further damaged.

    If a broken bone occurs somewhere in the body that is also double jointed, it's most important to keep that area within a small range of motion so it is able to properly heal. Straining this area further could cause more damage and result in a longer recovery time. If a double jointed wrist, for example, is broken, keep it in a cast for six weeks and when it comes out, keep it wrapped tightly to maintain a small range of motion for the ligaments to completely heal.

  • What's Considered a Nagging Injury?


    A nagging injury is one that repeatedly continues to happen and it just will not seem to go away. Exercising with constant pain seems counter-intuitive. You want to live a healthy lifestyle, but you don't want to injure yourself. Here are some things you need to know about nagging injuries.

    Normal aches and pains typically relieve themselves, but sometimes they stick around for weeks or even months. If this happens, even mildly, it shouldn't be ignored. Pain can change your bio-mechanical movement, which leads to stress on ligaments, joints, tendons, and muscles.

    Typically, nagging pains happen as a result of the repetitive stress or overuse of a part of your body. This creates swellings and inflammation, resulting in pain. While over the counter medications can temporarily relieve the pain,they are not able to treat the underlying issue. Working through a nagging pain can lead to a more serious issue, such as chronic inflammation. This can cause weakness and the gradual breakdown of tissue, which will create more pain and swelling. This begins the chronic nagging injury.

    This type of chronic pain can eventually result in the inability to exercise, which'll affect your health. It's vital to avoid chronic pain and stop further damage by allowing any injuries to heal properly. When nagging injuries occur, the body can alter a movement to avoid pain. Changing the normal bio-mechanics of human movement to avoid pain places more stress on other joints, leading to more injuries.

    Nagging pain often occurs with shoulder in the rotator cuff, in the Achilles tendon, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and the neck. To treat these injuries, apply heat before exercising and ice and rest after exercising. The heat will increase blood flow and reduce stiffness in the body, and ice will reduce swelling.

    While most people may believe that they'll eventually need to stop exercising due to their nagging pain, a physiotherapist can evaluate each injury and prepare a treatment and recovery plan that's specified to your needs. It is not common to stop exercise altogether, while it may be advised to find an alternate exercise. For example, while running may be hard on the joints, swimming is more gentle, and can be a healthy replacement. Also, reducing the intensity of your chosen activity is important during treatment and recovery. Your injury's cause will be evaluated, which will then lead your physiotherapist to be able to discuss your exercise practices and advise any necessary changes. Eventually once you are beginning to heal, you can gradually work your way back up to your normal exercise routine, as long as the pain does not return.

    It's important to return to exercise gradually, because over-training is the root of most nagging pains. If you jump right back into your normal exercise routine too quickly, you can easily re-injure yourself.

    Also, you should have your nagging injury analyzed, before it turns into a chronic injury. This could ultimately keep you from exercising altogether and stop the enjoyment of healthy living.

  • Can Running in the Cooler Weather Be Good For Your Joints?


    Like many, you may be wondering whether running in the cooler weather can be good for your joints. Well, I'll tell you here more about whether cold weather causes joint pain, and the answers may surprise you. As you know, it's good to run daily, but with weather issues, the answer may be different than what you want to hear.

    There's some indication that running in cooler weather can make you sore, but there are ways to prevent this. One way to prevent this is to eat healthy. When the weather is cool, you can and should still run, but you should also eat lots of foods that are rich in omega-3s, vitamin K, vitamin C, and supplements.

    Some of the supplements that you may want to take include glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin for pain, which helps with your overall achiness and helps to keep your joints feeling okay. But to tell you the truth, the best remedy for cool weather pain is actually this one: keep moving.

    One main reason that most people feel bad in cooler weather is because they stay inside. They don't move. If you're a runner, I'm sure you really WANT to run during cooler weather, so if you're doing the above things with your diet and supplements, you should be ready to go out for a long run in cool weather.

    If you're running in cooler weather, you're actually lubricating your joints and keeping them healthy, because, as you may know, being a couch potato is one of the worst things you can do for your body, joints included. So, in the long run, running in cooler weather can actually be good for your joints, if done with care.

    If you're worried about running in the cooler weather, then maybe try bringing your exercise routine indoors. You can do a treadmill or a running-in-place activity to get started, and then possibly move your workout outdoors where you'll be moving in tune to the weather.

    The bottom line is: if you're prepared to run, if you're getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals and healthy food in your diet, and if you're warming up your body by staying indoors at first and then moving outside later, you're prepared to run in the cooler weather, and this can actually be good for you. Be sure that you follow all these instructions to create a healthier you.

  • The Effects Certain Injuries Can Have On Your Stamina


    For a runner, especially one who runs any distance longer than a half-marathon, the long run is arguably the most important workout of the week. It's this run that creates stamina and the ability to endure. While it's true that running is as much mental as it's physical, few things will halt progress as quickly as a physical injury. It only takes a few weeks to lose stamina, and many of these injuries will require you to abstain from running completely during the recovery period.

    Here are 3 of the most prevalent stamina-sucking injuries, as well as their common causes and length of recovery.

    #1 Achilles Tendinitis
    The Achilles is the large tendon connecting your heel to the two major muscles of the lower leg. Achilles tendinitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed and painful and is usually caused by a sudden increase in your training load or weak or tight calf muscle. The length of recovery is around 2-6 months.

    #2 Pulled Muscle
    This one sounds like “No big deal” and that's what makes it so dangerous. A pulled muscle is different than a strained muscle. A strain is mildly uncomfortable, even a little painful but with caution you can continue running and the feeling will eventually subside. A pull is much more severe and there's no mistaking it. It's not the type of pain that can be trained through. A true pull is really a torn muscle and is accompanied by swelling and bruising and a whole lot of hurt. Trust me, you won't want to try and run on it. Common pulls for runners involve the hamstrings, a group of three muscles making up the back of the thigh. The length of recovery for a pulled muscle can be 6 months or greater.

    #3 Stress fractures
    The tibia, or shinbone, is the most common area for a runner to develop a stress fracture. Stress fractures are caused by a mild trauma repeated many times, rather than a single large impact, like other types of fractures.

    The danger with stress fractures is that they're often misdiagnosed as something less severe, such as shin splints (which can be trained through). The runner then attempts to continue training, and the injury worsens. The length of recovery for a stress fracture depends on its severity, but usually requires an orthopedic boot to be worn for a minimum of several weeks, then continued rest until being released to run again.

    These are three of the more commonly seen running injuries that require significant recovery time and have a negative impact on training. Remember that running related injuries almost always take a long time to heal simply because the legs are used every day and so it's difficult to give them complete rest. If you suspect you've a running related injury, go see a podiatrist or sports medicine therapist who's also a runner, or is at least sympathetic toward runners. Then be sure to follow their advice.

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