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  • A Diagnoses of Sydney Jones' Achilles Tear

    On March 11, 2017, University of Washington CB Sydney Jones suffered an Achilles tear during defensive back drills practice on Pro Day at the school. Ironically, the injury occurred as Jones participated int eh final drill of the day. Jones was projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick. The injury will likely affect his eligibility at this time, but he is dedicated to focusing on a full recovery and moving forward from what he refers to as "a minor bump in the road".

    An Achillles tear occurs when the Achilles tendon - the largest tendon in the body - is stretched to the point of pulling, or tearing, loose from the calf area, or when an injury causes a tear in the tendon mass itself. There are a number of ways this type of injury can occur:

    • Physical activity level is increased suddenly and/or too quickly
    • Physical activity is overdone
    • Wearing shoes, such as high heels or wedges, that put an undue strain on the tendon or stretch it in an abnormal manner
    • An individual has fallen arches, also known as flat feet. This condition causes the arch of the foot to collapse with the impact of each step when walking, which stretches the Achilles tendon and can cause damage/injury.

    Jones' injury was most likely caused by excessive activity or a quick shift or increase in physical activity.

    The time frame for a full recovery from an Achilles tear varies based on the severity of the injury. A medical examination will determine the extent of the injury as well as the necessary treatment plan. A mild to moderate Achilles tear will generally heal on it's own under a doctor's care and with the proper regimen of home care. However, a more severe injury may require surgery to remove excess tissue and repair the tendon itself, and/or a cast for a period of time (usually 6 to 10 weeks).

    Less serious Achilles injuries require the following attention in order to heal fully and properly:

    • ICE - The injured area should be treated with an ice pack every 3-4 hours for 20-30 minutes at a time in order to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Repeat for 2-3 days until pain is gone.
    • REST THE INJURY - Avoid putting any weight on the leg or foot. It may be necessary to use crutches.
    • ELEVATE THE LEG - When sitting or lying down, prop the injured leg on a pillow.
    • COMPRESSION - Wrap the ankle and lower leg with an elastic bandage to keep swelling to a minimum.
    • MEDICATION - An anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal pain medication with help with pain and swelling. Read the label and follow all directions carefully for safest and most effective results.
    • STRENGTHENING EXERCISES - As recommended by your doctor, practice stretching exercises or see a physical therapist or other specialist as directed.

    An Achilles tear like the one Sidney Jones suffered is a common one among athletes. It will likely require some amount of specialized medical care, given that he will continue on with his physically active lifestyle. With time and proper care, there is every reason to believe that he will make a full recovery and continue on with his promising football career.

  • R2F MONTHLY SPOTLIGHT: GenuTrain Knee Brace By Bauerfeind

    The GenuTrain Knee Brace By Bauerfeind features a viscoelastic Omega pad that surrounds the patella to improve tracking and provide tendon relief. The Hoffa pads – two friction points on the lower section of the pad – apply targeted pressure to the infrapatellar fat pad (Hoffa's fat pad) to provide relief and reduce pain in the retropatellar area. With its two lateral wings, the Omega pad also massages the joint of the knee and alleviates pain in the menisci. The Omega pad and three-dimensional compression knit work together to massage the soft tissue during movement to reduce pain, speed up the absorption of edemas and effusions, and activate the joint stabilizing muscles. GenuTrain stimulates the proprioceptors and has a positive effect on the sensorimotor system muscle control and balance. The breathable knitted fabric in the GenuTrain is anatomically shaped and fits perfectly without slipping or bunching. Compression-reduced edges divert pressure at the ends of the support and an extra soft area at the back of the knee ensures maximum wearing comfort. Integrated donning aids on the upper edge of the support make it exceptionally easy to put on.

    Active Knee Support

    Whether you're a serious athlete, an active person who does not want pain or injury to interfere with the things you love to do or a worker recovering from an injury, GenuTrain knee braces are for you. They help you regain mobility, ease pain, stimulate healing, and ensure that any swelling subsides quickly.

    Be Comfortable & Active

    Bauerfeind's soft knit fabric makes the support stretchy and comfortable. Because it’s breathable, it keeps sweat away from your skin, unlike Neoprene and other inferior materials. Our braces are machine washable in the gentle cycle which helps maintain its elasticity and original fit. Don’t bend and cave to knee pain; overcome it, with a GenuTrain knee brace and support by Bauerfeind.

    Features

    • Stabilizes the knee joint
    • Relieves the kneecap and reduces pain
    • Promotes the absorption of edema and effusions
    • Integrated donning aids
    • Anatomically designed for ultimate wearing comfort

    Components

    • Spiral stays - Located on the sides of the brace, the stays ensure the support fits snugly and retains its shape.
    • Cushioning - Extra-soft in the hollow of the knee for maximum comfort and flexibility.
    • Knit fabric - Breathable knit is comfortable to wear and keeps moisture away from the body. The brace is machine washable in the gentle cycle, which helps maintain its elasticity and original fit.
    • Viscoelastic Omega pad - Surrounds and cushions the kneecap to relieve pain in the knee and connective tissue.
    • Meniscus wings - Relieve pain
    • Soft “Hoffa” pads below kneecap - Exerts light support to relieve pressure on common pain spots.

    Treatment of

    • Sprains
    • Strains
    • Tendinitis
    • Tendomyopahy
    • Swelling
    • Pain
    • Jumpers Knee
    • Runners Knee
    • Feelings of Instability
    • Lateral Meniscus Tear
    • Osgood-Schlatters
    • Ligament Insertion Degeneration
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Arthritis
    • Post-Traumatic Irritation
    • Post-Operative Irritation
    • Recurrent Joint Effusion
    • Feeling of Instability
  • Why Do Athletes Have a Higher Pain Tolerance?

    Athletes often find themselves in the limelight for one of three reasons: success, failure, or injury. To avoid negative time in the spotlight, most athletes adopt a “play through the pain” mentality in order to give the impression that their bodies are not suffering during physically and mentally challenging activities.

    The Evidence

    Scientists have tried to research why athletes appear to experience pain differently. However, the research available is often inconsistent or lacking in solid evidence.

    Despite these validity concerns, a recent meta-analysis from the University of Heidelberg has concluded that athletes do in fact have a higher tolerance to pain than people who engage in normal levels of activity.

    The research team took a look at 15 studies from all over the world that focused on how athletes experience and respond to pain. They looked for consistencies as well as irregularities in all of the given studies before making their conclusion.

    The Research

    Scientifically speaking, athletes feel the same amount of pain that the rest of us do. It is their reaction and tolerance to that pain that is different. For example, a non-athlete who twists an ankle during an activity will be more likely to completely stop the activity immediately and seek treatment.

    An athlete will realize that they have twisted an ankle but she or he is more likely to take a brief moment to assess the injury, set the injury, and return to their activity. This issue of Pain® discusses the idea of stimuli and pain reactions in athletes in greater detail.

    An athlete’s type of sport does have an effect on their pain tolerance.  Athletes who engage in endurance based sports all have a similar reaction to pain, while athletes in game sports have less consistent reactions.

    One explanation for this offered by the researches is that endurance athletes tend to have similar physical and mental characteristics, while the profiles for game athletes are more diverse.

    This finding makes determining definitively whether athletes truly do possess stronger mind-over-matter abilities a challenge, but it does warrant further investigation.
    Implications for Pain Management

    The implications of pain research in athletes are helpful for pain management professionals and clients, regardless of whether the client is an athlete. Current pain management tends to focus on raising the point at which a client feels pain. Taking information gleaned from athletic pain response research leads professionals toward treatment that instead focuses on retraining the pain response and in effect raising the pain tolerance level of the patient.

    In practice, this means that someone suffering from chronic pain could learn psychological strategies for dealing with certain levels of pain, leaving room for more creative pain management techniques.

    Recent Findings

    A psychological study on male and female athletes shows promising data on the exact strategies athletes use to deal with pain on what seems a superhuman level. Both male and female athletes use a variety of cognitive and behavioral strategies to deal with pain.

    This study found that despite intense training intervals, athletes preferred to use motivational (self-control, goal setting, etc.) techniques when dealing with acute pain as opposed to distraction and rehabilitation.

    The research discussed above suggests that athlete pain tolerance is not solely dependent on a physical training regimen, psychological training will also have positive impacts on pain control, recovery time, and post-injury performance.

    While physical training helps strengthen muscles and prevent some injuries from occurring in the first place, the evidence is pretty clear that learning a different set of reactions to pain is a valid and commonly used pain management strategy used by athletes around the world. In this case, mind-over-matter enthusiasts may be on to something.

    Sources:
    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1517-86922003000400003
    https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/do-athletes-have-a-higher-pain-tolerance
    http://www.health24.com/medical/sports-injuries/news/athletes-have-high-pain-tolerance-20120721

  • Proper Steps for Wrapping an Injured Wrist and Hand

    Your wrists and hands are susceptible to injury and are quite vulnerable to pain. A wrist injury can range from a minor sprain to a medical condition such as carpal tunnel or arthritis. The best way to treat one of these injuries is to wrap the wrist and hand to prevent them from further damage and to get pressure on the wound in order to reduce swelling. Compression also acts as a pain reliever and aids in the healing process.

    Here are 4 proper steps to take to wrap your hand and wrist properly:

    Step 1: Start From The Hand - Your first wrap should be around the hand. Start just below the knuckles, and begin wrapping around your palm so that the wrap goes completely around the hand and meets back at the starting point. Ensure that you've created a tight first wrap that provides compression without restricting blood flow. If you start the wrap sloppy, the rest will likely be messed up and inefficient.

    Step 2: Securing the Wrist - Each overlaying wrap should cover the previous one by about 50%. After you've completed a couple secure wraps around the palm, do a wrap below the thumb that covers the wrist. Make sure you do a couple secure wraps around the wrist before coming back up to the hand for an extra layer.

    Step 3: Stabilizing - You should now have a secure wrap around the hand and wrist and can begin stabilizing the compression. Complete several wraps below the wrist as you go a few inches down your arm. This will prevent the wrist from being able to move. This is an important step because our forearm muscles can still move the wrist if it hasn't been stabilized.

    Step 4: Secure the Wrap - Some wraps will come with a clip or velcro ends that makes it simple to secure the wrap. If these aren't available, you can also tuck the end of the wrap into itself to hold it tightly in place. Movement can cause your compression wrap to become loose, so it's essential that you only use this as a temporary solution until you find something more secure.

    The amount of time it takes to heal will vary depending on the severity of the injury. A typical sprain takes two to three days to heal up, and if it takes any longer, be sure to call your doctor. Putting ice on an injury is another way you can prevent swelling to help speed up the process.

  • 3 Ways To Rehab From A Surgically Repaired Shoulder

    One of the most complex areas of the human skeletal system - and one of the most used - is the shoulder area. Since this jointed system is able to move in so many different directions, this creates a number of opportunities for injury. As all components of the shoulder area work in conjunction with one another, many injuries will require surgery in order to heal properly and maintain the shoulder's full range of functionality.

    Following shoulder surgery of any kind, specific instructions will be given by your physician for the recovery and rehabilitation process. It is imperative to follow all steps in order to heal safely and completely, and regain full use of your shoulder, arm, and hand. Here are three of the most common ways doctors recommend for rehabilitation following the surgical repair of the shoulder:

    IMMOBILIZE THE SHOULDER/ARM FOR THE SPECIFIED AMOUNT OF TIME
    We use our arms almost continuously in one way or another. Complete downtime will get extremely frustrating following surgery as your shoulder heals; however, this is the most essential step in recovery and rehabilitation. This is the first and most important step in the healing process. Your tissue, muscles, sinew, etc, will be healing and regenerating during this time, and any type of undue stress or pressure could easily do an extensive amount of damage, leading to an even longer and more painful recovery period. In some cases further surgery may even be required.

    Although immobilization of the shoulder during recovery can be annoying, the alternatives are much less desirable. Make sure to keep your arm in the sling or other device provided precisely as directed following your surgery to avoid further damage or prolonged recovery time.

    USE PAIN MEDICATIONS AS DIRECTED AND WITH EXTREME CAUTION
    Everyone is aware these days of the dangers associated with the use of opiates, or pain medications. Prolonged use or misuse of these types of medication can lead to dependence and even addiction. Immediately following surgery and for a day or so afterwards, strong pain medication will be necessary. As soon as possible, though, your doctor should begin reducing the amount of narcotic pain medication you are taking and replace it with something less powerful.

    Regardless of what medication you are given to help with your post-surgery recovery, following dosage directions is of the utmost importance. If you feel that the medication is ineffective at controlling your pain, do not take it upon yourself to take more than that is prescribed. Contact your doctor and discuss the situation with him if you are experiencing pain; it may be an indication of a problem that needs to be addressed. You could be masking it by taking too much pain medication, and serious health issues may result.

    DON'T DISREGARD PHYSICAL THERAPY
    You don't want to rush your recovery and rehab time, but you also want to be sure that you begin physical therapy as soon as possible. Your doctor will direct you to the proper type of physical therapy at the correct time, and even though you may not feel ready, your physician knows what's best as will your therapist.

    Following surgery on such an active area of the body regaining mobility as soon as safely possible is extremely important. These exercises will begin with light workouts for the fingers, palms, and wrists, and progress to strengthening exercises for the entire hand, arm, and shoulder area, leading up to full use of your appendages after a number of weeks.

    Every human body is different, thus, rehabilitation time and methods following shoulder surgery can vary. The steps mentioned herein are some of the most common and most effective. Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter in order to have a successful post-surgery rehab experience

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