Thursday, April 28, 2016

5 Tips to Avoid Running Injuries

Anyone who has ever suffered a running injury can tell you that a pulled hamstring, twisted ankle or shin split can be extremely debilitating. Running injuries cost time and money to manage and some can result in chronic pain. Take these five helpful tips with you the next time you hit the track.

1. Stretch, but not too much
This is a huge mistake for many first-time runners. Overstretching before going running can lead to early exertion on your joints and muscles, which then can be exacerbated even more during your actual run. Try to save deep lunges, butterfly holds and hamstring pulls for your post-run routine. Before your run, these moves can actually do more harm than good. Instead, do some light stretching, such as wall stretches for your calf muscles or knee-to-chest stretches. Then, warm up with a light 3-5 minute gentle walk, followed by a 5 minute run-walk and gradually ease into your run.

2. Run on a level surface 
It’s a well-known fact that if you are running in the street, you should always run on the side of the road facing traffic. While many runners do this, they may not realise their constant unbalance. This unbalanced movement over and over can cause hip pain and increase your chances of injury. Consider running on more even surfaces like bike trails, sidewalks, local tracks, stadiums or even treadmills.

3. Purchase running shoes that fit properly
An ill-fitting shoe can be painful and increase your chances of a foot or ankle injury due to poor support. Decrease your risk of injury and find a shoe that fits you well. Many top manufacturers make shoes based on skill-level and running techniques, such as racing, training, track and cross-country. If you fit into one of these categories, consider a shoe made for it. Go to a specialty store for advice, do your research online and try on multiple pairs. And as a general rule of thumb, you should replace your running shoes every 600-900 kilometers.

4. Begin strength training
Having a strong body overall is important to staying limber and healthy while running. Strength training will not only improve the power in your legs and upper body, but more importantly, it tones your core. Your core is where you find all your energy and stability. Without a solid and balanced core, you are more likely to injure yourself. But don’t worry! You don’t need to lift heavy weights and build extreme muscle mass. Just keep your limbs and core strong and active. Consider performing some strengthening exercises before your rest days or during easy days. This will help your body to perform its best.

5. Don’t push it
Don’t run if you are pain. It’s great to have goals and want to work your hardest towards them, but your health is what’s most important. Ease into your workouts, increase intensity slowly and be patient. You can still push your limits, but you need to take a gradual approach. You will accomplish your goals with focus, determination and patience.

Of course, injuries are sometimes unavoidable. If you injure yourself during your next run, remember to use the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Take the time to rest and recover after an injury and don’t try to skip over the process. You will heal in time, but without proper resting time, the recovery process will only be prolonged. Apply a cool therapy to the injury for as long as possible without causing ice burns. A popular product for this is the CoolXChange Compressionand Cooling Gel Bandage, this will protect any damaged tissue. Once done, add compression to the injury to reduce inflammation, products such as the Thermoskin Ankle Support will assist in speeding up the recovery process and provide pain relief. Finally, elevate the injured area to limit the swelling.

Take these necessary steps the next you go running to avoid injury and to ensure you continue towards living a healthy and happy life! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Dreaded Tear: How to Recover From an ACL Injury

The dreaded knee injury – the ACL tear – is caused by the hyperextension of the knee. This typically happens in sports when a person is jumping, quickly changing direction or making a sudden stop. High-risk sports include Australian football, rugby, soccer, tennis, volleyball, skiing and even golf. Unfortunately, a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can leave you sidelined for months. Following these simple steps could aid in your ACL recovery.

Seek Medical Treatment
The knee is the largest joint in the body, and pain and swelling in the knee is never normal, especially if it occurs immediately after an injury. It is important to seek medical care to assess the damage. Initial ACL treatment begins with R.I.C.E. – rest, ice, compression, elevation – but it should not replace an examination by a health-care professional. Once you have been diagnosed with an ACL tear, you and your doctor will plan your recovery, which normally involves surgery.

Prepare for Surgery
Due to the nature and the severity of the injury, surgery is often the recommended option for patients with ACL injuries. The purpose of surgery is to return patients to their original level of activity. For patients who are sedentary and do not participate in sports or for those who perform light manual work, non-operative treatments of ACL injuries may be reasonable alternatives.

When surgery is considered, the ligament is not repaired but instead is reconstructed usually with minimally invasive surgery using an arthroscope. A variety of techniques may be used, and the orthopedic surgeon and patient usually discuss the options available before a decision as to what type of surgery is performed.

Surgery usually does not occur immediately after the injury. Typically it’s scheduled three to four weeks (or more) after the injury, allowing time to plan the operation and for the initial swelling and bleeding from the injury to decrease.

Before surgery, the patient goes through “prehabilitation” to get the knee in operative shape and avoid future stiffness. When the knee is injured, the quadriceps tend to weaken almost immediately, and it is important to minimize any loss in strength and range of motion in the knee. Prehab usually involves ice, an immobilizer and crutches. Patients may be given gentle exercises to perform.

Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation

Physical therapists are an important part of the treatment team and are typically involved in the planning phase before surgery and after surgery. Recovery is measured in months, and often rehabilitation and physical therapy are required after the ACL reconstruction. 

Rehabilitation may take six to nine months to return to full activity:
  • The goal of the first two to three weeks of physical therapy is to increase range of motion of the knee in a controlled fashion. Patients and their physical therapist will work toward full extension (straightening) of the knee and 90 degrees flexion (bending).

  • In Weeks three to six, the goal is to return full range of motion to the knee, and strengthening exercises may be introduced at this time. Using resistance bands can help maximize the support and flexibility needed to keep the ACL as strong as possible.
  • The final months of recovery, patients work on increasing strength and agility while maintaining range of motion. Exercises with bicycles and stair-climbers are often suggested. Patients can also use foam rollers to relax tight muscles before stretching to increase flexibility.
The patient is often kept in a protective knee brace through much of the rehabilitation process to protect the grafted ACL from any undue stress. The brace use may be continued even after the ACL has healed, especially during sporting activities to decrease the risk of re-injury. We recommend the Thermoskin Cooper Knee Alignment Sleeve, a knee support created by renowned sports physiotherapist, Randall Cooper, to help assist with recovery after ACL injuries.

As you work to full recovery, consider iHealthSphere for braces, and exercise and rehab equipment. Our versatile, effective equipment includes the health industry’s most trusted brands, and will aid in your recovery and enhance your athletic performance. 

The Lasting Relief of the Thermoskin Plantar FXT Calf Compression Socks

Living with plantar fasciitis and other medically diagnosed foot conditions can be difficult. The pain is agonizing and can make performing every day activities such as walking or exercising much more difficult. The Thermoskin Plantar FXT Calf Compression Sock is fantastic for relieving shooting pains in the arch or the heel. By combining advanced material technology and superior foot and ankle support, these calf compression socks stand out as a lasting solution among foot pain sufferers and athletes alike.

The Thermoskin Walk-On Calf Sock is designed with targeted compression zones in the feet and calves. Starting at the plantar fascia attachment, a firm upward compression just below the heel unloads stress right at the point of pain. The targeted compression patch overlaying the Achilles tendon helps to keep the muscle relaxed and the firm compression around the foot arch adds an additional support. There is a comfortable foot pad beneath the ball of the foot for added comfort between steps. All of this leads to the graduated compression along the back, top, and sides of the calves to promote a healthy blood flow. The heel, arch, achilles, ankle and the calf are all targets of this technology. And for a little extra relief, the toe and heel have a moisture wicking and odor eliminating material woven in, so these socks are never uncomfortable to wear!

These socks are great for managing many types of pain, including:
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Shin splints
  • Heel spurs
  • Varicose veins
  • Swollen, tired or aching legs
  • Aches from standing or sitting all day
  • Pain from travelling

However, many of our customers use these socks to get relief from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue, Plantar Fascia, in your foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. Typically inflamed from too much pinpointed stress, plantar fasciitis can be caused by high arches, flat feet, unsupportive shoes, extensive running or walking, and even weight gain and ageing. This leg and foot pain range from dull, stiff aches to sharp, pulsating twitches. However, the good news is the pain is completely self-manageable and these socks could be the best option for you.

The Thermoskin Plantar FXT Calf Sock is an incredible option for treating plantar fasciitis and other painful foot conditions. The material is breathable, comfortable and highly effective. iHealthSphere is proud to offer such an amazing product that has had incredible results with our customers. Please contact us for any questions you have about this or other products and begin your journey to finding lasting pain relief today!

Browse our full range of Thermoskin Walk-On products.