Sunday, August 12, 2012

Compression Support for Elbow and Forearm Pain in Weightlifting

Tennis Elbow | Golfers Elbow | Epicondylitis | Treatment of Elbow Pain There is nothing worse than an injury that climbs into your head. An elbow injury, forearm or distal bicep injury caused by repetitive use under heavy loading can soon progress to further injuries as our bodies adjust to minimise the pain. As we compensate for the injury we place strain on other parts of our body either by adjusting the angle of the movement to an unnatural position, jerking a bicep curl or overloading the opposite limb.
Some choices exist including the use of rest, icing and compression although severe cases may require surgery. Too much rest and the muscles and tendons shorten, returning to your training is difficult and re-injury a real threat. Using traditional compression, in particular in power lifting, often involves the use of hard strapping (placed on during sets and removed between sets). This results in interim relief with more pronounced post workout pain due to arm pump and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Treatment of Elbow Pain | Treat Tennis Elbow | Golfers Elbow Treatment Active650 Compression Supports provide support to the joint, muscles and tendons to enable you to continue to train without pain, maintain the correct body position and get that injury out of your head. Used while training as well as after workouts to enhance recovery; Active650 Compression Supports have a 300% expansion ratio (compared with 50% with conventional neoprene), therefore compression is maintained during your workout without the restrictive effect of conventional methods.
Active650 Compression Supports increase blood flow, specifically venous return, reducing arm pump and reducing muscle fatigue, enabling you to train at our best.
Every Muscle, Every Body
Bradley Buck
NABBA and IFBB competitor
Supported by Active650

Monday, June 4, 2012

How can Active650 help with recovery following bruising?

Reduce Swelling and Bruising with Compression Support Treatment Bruising, dead leg or contusion, it’s all the same thing. When a nice fleshy lump of muscle (normally the thigh, calf or upper arm) gets bumped damage is caused beneath the skin. If the impact is severe enough the damage can affect the small blood vessels in the layers below the skin. These damaged blood vessels leak into the surrounding tissue causing a dark area, which we would all recognise as a bruise. If enough blood leaks out the surrounding tissue can start to swell, this is before the body’s inflammatory reaction kicks in to make the swelling worse. Obviously, the more force involved in the impact the more subcutaneous damage and pain, and the worse everything is.

Active650 supports can help in two ways:

Reduce Swelling and Bruising from impact wounds Firstly, the compression support, if applied in the acute, inflammatory phase of the injury (initial 72 hours) can help reduce swelling. Whilst the inflammatory response is the body’s natural response to injury, swelling is a product of this response and can often be a major cause of pain, discomfort and even further tissue damage. Best practice for managing an injury such as bruising is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
The “ICE” component of this mnemonic is all about reducing or restricting the amount of swelling. As leaders of compression garment technology Active650 supports can justifiably claim to be effective in providing the “C” of RICE. Not only is the level of compression support second to none, the supports are comfortable and will not move around over the sensitive area.
Therefore the wearer can leave the Active650 on for as long as he or she wants.

Reduce Swelling and Bruising of sports injuries Secondly, the leakage of blood into the interstitial tissue, the associated fluid and metabolites that cause the visual bruising and swelling need to be cleared away by the body. This is done by both the lymphatic system and the blood’s circulatory system. As we know that compression increases venous return we can also postulate that this increased venous return will help to speed up the clearance of the by-products that have collected at the site of damage, thus aiding recovery of the injury.
Active650 supports can help prevent damage in the acute phase immediately following the injury and also to speed up the recovery to enable the athlete to get back playing harder earlier.

Ben Scott, BSc (hons)
Anatomical Sciences

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

POLICE - Protect, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation

Traditionally the initial treatment of a sports injury involved following the ‘RICE’ principle (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). This then evolved into ‘PRICE’, with the addition of ‘Protection’ to ensure maximum welfare in the immediate aftermath of the injury. Reviews of the available research have questioned the relevance of ‘Rest’ in injury management, highlighting the treatment benefits of the earliest possible mobilisation of the injured area1.
Calf Pain - Compression Treatment of Calf Pain and Strain By providing uniform compression an Active650 compression support can help in the acute injury phase. The general recommendations are that compression and ice should be alternated in the immediate hours following injury in order to minimise bleeding at the injury site2. The benefit of an Active650 sports compression support at this stage is not only its superior compression but also its comfort. Once in place it will not move and the high level of elasticity means that there is no tourniquet effect and no digging in or pinching of sensitive and painful areas of injury.
Patella Tendonitis - Stop Knee Pain - Treat Knee Pain Current best practice retains the “ICE” component of injury management but evolves the mnemonic to aid the recovery from the injury by replacing “Rest” with “Optimal Loading” to form POLICE3. What this means is that rather than sitting on the sofa waiting for Mother Nature to heal us, recovery can be sped up by getting the injury area moving. This movement and mobilisation helps the recovery at the cellular level as it repairs1 and also helps to prevent muscle wastage and shortening.
As with anything in life though, there is a balance to be struck. If you mobilise the area too soon or put too much load on it, re-injury can cause further, more serious, damage. Hence the inclusion of the word “optimal”. In this sense “optimal loading” is a bit of a holy grail for rehabilitation as it is impossible to tell what an injury’s limit is until the limit has been passed – which is obviously a very bad thing! The key is to mobilise and load the injury in a controlled manner, within the limits of pain.

Knee Pain - Running with Knee Pain Previously, supports, braces, crutches and suchlike have all been prescribed and associated with immobilising the injury area. However, with the change of focus towards getting the injury site moving they can now all be viewed as aids to help mobilise the injury area and speed up the recovery process. So if supports are now being recommended to help rehabilitate the injury earlier, what better way to provide this support than with the technology that an Active650 offers?
Whilst conventional neoprene and velcro supports are uncomfortable and restrictive an Active650 compression support provides support, compression and comfort without restricting movement, thus aiding rehabilitation by facilitating optimal loading.
For top quality support whilst allowing a full range of mobilisation: Active650. Every Muscle, Every Body!
Ben Scott, BSc (hons)
Anatomical Sciences

1) Khan K.M. and Scott A. (2009) Mechanotherapy: how physical therapists’ prescription of exercise promotes tissue repair. British Journal of Sports Medicine 43(4); 247-251
2) Jarvinen T.A., Jarvinen T.J., Kaariainen M. et al. (2007) Muscle injuries: optimising recovery. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology 21(2); 317-331
3) Bleakley C.M., Glasgow P. and MacAuley D.C. (2012) PRICE needs updating, should we call the POLICE? British Journal of Sports Medicine 46; 220-221

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cradle and Cuddle: A Perspective on Instinctive Reaction to Pain

Calf Pain - Calf Pain Causes Whether it’s a bump, a strain, a muscle tear or even a broken bone, what’s the first thing you do when you injure yourself? You immediately grab hold of the muscle or area that is in pain.

The management of the injury over the next hours, days and weeks may well differ and be considerably more involved but everyone’s initial reaction to pain is to clutch it, to hold it, to cradle it.

Why is this? Why do we all have this rudimentary, yet universal, reaction?
I got thinking about this the first time I pulled on a pair of Active650 Calf supports. As I got back from one of my weekly long runs (24 miles) I was amazed at how the Active650 Calf supports had made me feel.

Calf Tear - Calf Pain while Running I had been having calf trouble earlier in the season and I had managed to build the mileage back up but I was still lacking confidence. The original minor calf tear, which kept me out of action for 3 weeks, had returned twice without warning and, whilst I had been pain free for several weeks, I had lost a lot of confidence in my calf. I found myself running, almost waiting for the twang of pain and, as a result, I was struggling to push myself during any of my runs.
So what was the difference with wearing the Active650 Calf supports?
My first thoughts as I ran was that someone was running behind me holding my calves with two hands, just cradling the muscles. It felt like someone was actually holding onto my legs looking after me. I have run many times with the Active650 supports on since that first trip out and I have to say that, now I’m used to wearing them, I don’t notice that they are on; much like a watch, you only know it’s there if you think about it. I, however, still think back to that first run with them on and that incredible feeling of support.

So what is the science behind what’s going on?
The Active650 supports are far more elastic than other compression garments or sports supports. This means that they fit perfectly and provide a consistent level of support. In turn, this results in a reduction in the amount of oscillation and vibration of the soft tissues.

Calf Pain Treatment - Calf Strain Compression Treatment To understand what the oscillation and vibration is, and the effect it has on the tissues, we need to look at a bit of basic science; the law of conservation of energy to be precise. This law states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed which, when applied to running, means that energy must be transferred. Consider what happens when a runner’s foot hits the ground: it creates what is known as a ground reaction force. If that sounds a bit technical, imagine lying on your back on a table and getting a friend to hit you on the bottom of one of your feet with a plank of wood.

The reaction force is the energy that is transferred from the moving piece of timber into your body via your poor, throbbing foot. When we run this is what we put our feet through every step, with the ground replacing the plank.

So where does the energy go?
The energy has to dissipate. A bit like the crumple zone of a car takes the energy of a crash and dissipates it in a way that causes the least damage to the occupants, the body takes the energy from the foot crashing into the ground and dissipates it in a way that causes the least damage to the body. The energy is transferred up through the foot, ankle, lower leg, knee, thigh, pelvic structures and into the core; known as the kinetic chain.
The more solid that something is, the worse it is at dissipating energy (remember those swinging click-clack ball bearings, Newton’s cradles). Therefore the bones involved in the kinetic chain tend to pass the energy onwards, up the chain.

The softer and springier something is the better it is at dissipating energy (think back to the crumple zones and the bumpers on Volvos before they became all sleek and streamlined). Therefore the muscles and tendons of the kinetic chain are very good at dissipating energy and do this by oscillating and vibrating.

The more structures that are used in the dissipation of energy the better. Therefore it is better to limit the energy dissipated lower down and direct it upwards towards the core. This is where the bones prove useful, transferring the energy up the kinetic chain as the soft tissues dissipate it. Poor alignment can affect the kinetic chain's ability to transfer energy, resulting in particular areas being stressed as they have to dissipate more energy than they should.
There are not too many soft, springy structures in the foot and ankle so the first big area of muscle and tendon is the calf. This makes it an area that is consistently exposed to the oscillations and vibrations of energy dissipation. If too much energy is dissipated through the calf, as opposed to being dissipated more evenly throughout the whole kinetic chain, it can lead to damage and injury. If there is an existing or previous site of injury in the calf then the process of energy dissipation through oscillation and vibration can aggravate it and cause further damage, re-injury and pain.

Compression Support Treatment of Calf Injury The Active650 range of supports can help prevent damage, re-injury and pain by supporting the muscle and facilitating the transfer of energy through the supported area up the kinetic chain. To relate back to our crumple zones and crashing cars, imagine a crash where the occupants weren’t wearing their seat belts. They would get thrown around inside the car and their movement would contribute to dissipating the energy of the collision. If seat belts were worn the energy would pass through the strapped in occupants to be dissipated more safely where it would be less likely to cause damage. Wearing an Active650 is a similar thing; with the energy passing through the supported tissue to be dissipated more safely where it is less likely to cause damage.

So next time you feel pain, don’t walk around holding it………Active650! Every Muscle, Every Body!
Ben Scott, BSc (hons)
Anatomical Sciences

Monday, April 2, 2012

Runner's Knee - Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

Runners Knee - Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Runner's Knee is a generic term used to describe a number of medical conditions that cause pain around the front of the knee (patellofemoral pain). There is no single cause of Runner's Knee. However, there are a number of contributing factors that have been identified. These include intrinsic issues such as poor joint alignment, patella tracking problems and muscle imbalances; and extrinsic factors such as over training and unsuitable sports equipment (eg. running shoes). All of these factors, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, result in additional stresses on the supporting tissue of the knee joint.

The underlying mechanisms of pain may be varied but the symptoms are described as pain (normally, but not always, a dull ache) around the front of the knee, often on the inside of or underneath the kneecap. This pain is worse during or after squatting, running (especially on hills), prolonged sitting with the knees bent, and descending stairs. There may also be increased pain with activity following inactivity.

It is difficult to conduct medical research with this condition due to the nature of the causes. The available research generally focuses on surgical management but there is general agreement on non-surgical management principles1.

Compression Treatment for Knee Pain - Runners Knee Common symptom management strategies include the Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE) protocol in the acute phases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and stabilisation of the patella. Patellar bracing that supports the kneecap can allow the sufferer to commence rehabilitation exercises sooner and ultimately lead to an earlier return to sport. Studies have shown that supporting the patella can lead to a decrease in symptoms in a large percentage of patellofemoral pain sufferers (50%2 and 92%3 to give 2 examples).

So we know that putting a support on the affected knee can reduce pain and aid stability. Some of these studies are very dated and the results show the effectiveness of knee supports even without the stretch, fit and comfort of the Active650 range of knee supports. The advances in fabric technology that Active650 have brought to the knee support market means that the effective just got super-effective.

Knee Support - Compression treatment of Knee Pain The Active650 range of knee supportsprovide the most efficient way to stabilise the supporting structures of the knee joint. The superior compression prevents the vibration and oscillation of the muscles and tendons, thus minimising the stresses on these tissues without ever pressing the kneecap too firmly. With an Active650 not only do you get the previously demonstrated benefits, you get a support so comfortable the only way you know you’re wearing it is because of the lack of pain. Put an Active650 on it and you’ll be able to push your game harder earlier!

Ben Scott, BSc (hons)
Anatomical Sciences

1) Collado H. and Fredericson M. (2010) Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Clinical Sports Medicine 29;379-398
2) Powers C.M., Shellock F.G., Beeriing T.V., Garrido D.E., Goldbach R.M. and Molnar T. (1999) Effect of bracing on patellar kinematics in patients with patellofemoral joint pain. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 31(12) 1714-20
3) Palumbo P.M. (1981) Dynamic patellar brace: Patello-femoral disorders: A preliminary report. American Journal of Sports Medicine 9; 45-49

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shin Splints - MTSS and CECS

"Shin splints" is often used as a general term to describe pain in the front of the lower leg. It is one of the most common injuries of the lower leg, reported by people who participate in sport and exercise1. The pain in the shin area can be the result of any one of a number of things but two common causes are as follows:

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS)

Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome - Treatment for Shin Splints[More on Medial Tibial Stress Syndrom - Wikipedia] This condition can range from mild irritation of the external layer of the bone (the periosteum) to a shin bone (tibia) stress. Forces acting on the tibia, as the athlete's foot lands on the floor during activity, cause stress to both the bone and the surrounding soft tissue in the lower leg. Over time, especially if the activity is increased, this stress can lead to pain around the shin.

Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS)

[More on Compartment Syndrome - Warning: medically graphic content - Wikipedia]
A “compartment” is a muscle, or group of muscles that are held together in a not very stretchy bag (fascia). As the athlete exercises the muscles require extra oxygen, which is delivered in the blood. Extra oxygen means extra blood, therefore more blood is pumped into the compartments. In some cases, if the activity is great enough, the veins cannot remove the blood fast enough and the pressure in the compartment rises. As the fascia does not stretch much this results in everything in the compartment being squashed, including nerves (causing pain) and blood vessels (causing the collapse of some of the smaller veins, thus making the whole thing worse as even less blood can be removed from the compartment). The most common compartment that athletes complain about CECS in is the anterior compartment2, which is the one that runs down the outside of the shin.

Reviews of the research have indicated that there are two main factors which increase the risk of someone getting shin splints; poor biomechanics (alignment, muscle control, gait etc.) and training errors3. Obviously, training levels and intensities can be adapted easily but poor biomechanics can take a very long time to correct. So how can an Active650 Full Calf Support help?

What are Shin Splints? Shin Splints Illustrated in anterior and posterior of shinWell, they can’t correct poor biomechanics but they can help to lessen the effect of poor biomechanics and thus allow training without pain. Research into shin splint prevention is rare but a South African study found that putting cushioned inserts into running shoes could prevent shin pain4. This evidence, together with many published recommendations regarding the return to training following an episode of shin splints, suggests that lessening the impact of the foot striking the ground by providing shock absorption is a vital part of training without shin splints.
Now we’re not suggesting that you fold your Active650 Calf Supports up and slip them into the bottom of your shoe, so lets have a look to see what we know that they can do and how they can help.

Pain in lower leg - Lower leg pain - Shin Splints Firstly, the outstanding support and compression provided by the 300% expansion ratio means that the muscles and tendons are held tight without restricting movement. We know that Active650 supports drastically reduce the vibration and oscillation of the muscles and other soft tissue. As the foot strikes the floor energy is transferred up the leg. An athlete with good biomechanics transfers this energy up the kinetic chain (foot, ankle, lower leg, upper leg, hip, pelvis, spine) efficiently and the energy is dissipated. However, someone with poor biomechanics will not transfer the energy as efficiently and this can result in stresses at any weak point in the chain. If the energy is not being transferred through the lower leg efficiently it may result in excess vibration and oscillation of the muscles and soft tissue of the lower leg, causing stress on the bone and at the points where the muscles attach to the bone. An athlete can increase the efficiency of the kinetic chain, through us of an Active650 Calf Support, and allow the energy to dissipate further up.

Secondly, we know that uniform compression can aid venous return. And we know that when it comes to uniform compression Active650 fabric technology is second to none. Therefore, the build up of compartmental pressure experienced by sufferers of CECS in the lower leg can be lessened, or even prevented by wearing an Active650 Full Calf sleeve.
So if you want to feel the benefits………Active650! Every Muscle, Every Body!

Testimonial of Myles Edwards "Myles Edwards is a freelance journalist born in Aberdeen but delivering stories from Iten, Kenya – the home of world distance running." As a 23 year old 800 metre runner with aspirations of competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and beyond, I have had more than my fair share of injuries. Last season was probably my best for many years and this was largely down to an (almost) injury free year. Because of this I booked flights to Kenya for a three month training stint at the end of 2011. Unfortunately with two races to go in the track season I began to experience severe discomfort in my shins. Long story short, it put me out for four months and meant the only training I could do in Kenya was on the bike or in the swimming pool. Very frustrating when everyone around you is running!
Filled with determination I sought out the best ways to overcome this injury which so many people seem to struggle with but cannot find a solution. Whilst I still suffer from a bit of pain, there are three things which have got me back running and allowed me to book a second stint in Kenya which I leave for in two weeks time.
1. Ron Coutts, a physiotherapist in Aberdeen has been unbelievably effective. He got me back running after 1 hour of treatment.
2. Ice baths after each run or session. This reduces the inflammation which is key to managing shin splints. Not enjoyable but who cares if it gets you back doing the sport you love.
3. Active650 Full Calf Sleeve. Simon Sinclair from Active650 got in contact with me during my time in Kenya and tried his utmost to get products that would help me sent out to my place in Iten. Unfortunately customs proved to be an unfairly tough obstacle but a separate batch of products were sent to my home in Aberdeen a week after my return.
From the moment I put the Full Calf Sleeve on I felt supported, comfortable and confident to go out and not only train, but train hard. My lower leg was so much looser and relaxed and I could feel the blood flowing a lot more fluently with the product on. They are so much less restrictive than any other compression product I have tried. As a result of this Calf Sleeve the pain was reduced by at least 50% and since then I have been able to train close to pain free. Kenya beckons and a large thanks must go to the team at Active650. It's simple, it works!
Paul Telford from Facebook I've had shin splints for years which come on just with fast walking. I tried the calf support on one leg so I could compare the results. There was a definite improvement on the leg which had the Active650 support. Highly recommend.

Ben Scott, BSc (hons)
Anatomical Sciences

1) Galbraith M R and Lavallee M E. (2009) Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome: conservative treatment options. Current Reviews of Musculoskeletal Medicine 2;127-133
2) Wilder R P and Sethi S. (2004) Overuse injuries: tendinopathies, stress fractures, compartment syndrome, and shin splints. Clinical Sports Medicine 23;55-81
3) Thacker S B, Gilchrist J, Stroup D F, and Kimsey C D. (2002) The prevention of shin splints in sports: a systematic review of the literature. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 34(1);32-40
4) Schwellnus M P, Jordan G, and Noakes T D. (1990) Prevention of common overuse injuries by the use of shock absorbing soles: a prospective study. American Journal of Sports Medicine 18;636-641