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Posts Tagged ‘flexibility’

2016 Holiday Fit Gift Guide

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

By Medi-Dyne Ambassador & Guest Blogger

Jen Haught

Happy Holidays Red

 

The holiday season is once again upon us and if you are like me, you struggle with what to get your loved ones. I always want my gift to be well received, but I look for other details as well; for example, can I get it from a local business? Is it made in the USA? Would it be useful to them? Would they even want it? No wonder people say the holidays are stressful!

 

I picked out ten gifts that I think your favorite athlete would enjoy and secretly won’t return behind your back.

 

 

Five1Five Signs

 

I stumbled on Five1Five Signs medal holders a couple years ago and am a huge fan. Their signs are unique because they are hand painted carved wood signs, not just vinyl letters like most other signs. I have one in my office and I have given out a few as gifts and people really love them. These signs aren’t just for runners, but for swimmers, gymnasts, triathletes and more. Contact Andy and you can have it personalized so your favorite athlete can hang their medals proudly!

 

 

 

 

TigerLady

 

When I was a runner, I would do the majority of my running in the dark by myself, especially when the time changed in November. I was ALWAYS decked out head to toe in reflective gear, lights, and bright colors, but all that gear wouldn’t have saved me from an attacker. Tiger Lady is safety at your fingertips. It is small, light weight, and needs no batteries or charging. I had no issues running with it and it made me feel A LOT safer no matter where I was. I carry it when I’m not running as well so instead of holding onto my phone in my hand, I replaced with a Tiger Lady. No one coming up to attack me would suspect that I had a self defense claw in my hand. To activate the three claws, all you have to do is close your hand and make a fist. The retractable claws protrude between your knuckles ready to meet your attacker. I feel confident and very Wolverine-like when I have my Tiger Lady.

 

 

 

RangeRoller

 

The RangeRoller is no joke. It gives you a a deep massage that you wouldn’t believe! The roller gets in the inner and outer layers of muscles and tissue to help break up and eliminate scar tissue, increase circulation and is effective getting out those nasty knots from just about anywhere. My husband, myself and even our dogs love it!

 

 

Road ID

 

I think Road ID is probably the number one item that every athlete should have because it can save your life. They make these bracelets for adults and children and they make them in a variety of styles and colors. Your personal and medical information can be accessed from medical personnel through their website. They will be able to access your emergency contacts, your doctors, insurance information, medications, allergies, surgeries, and so much more. You can go online and update it anytime you want. If you don’t have one, GET ONE! It will give you and your loved ones piece of mind when you are out on the roads.

 

 

CopyCat Yoga Mat

 

I came across the Copycat Yoga Mat on Etsy and I thought this was such a cool product. I was a disaster at yoga and never knew where to put my hands and feet for poses. I’d feel frustrated and miss instructions on breathing or other information. In class, I felt self conscious and I think this mat will really help adults and children learn yoga with confidence. Not only does the mat show foot and hand placement, but it shows different poses like Triangle and Halfmoon. The mat is non toxic, eco friendly, phthalate and latex free, SGS tested and certified. It is extra thick (1/4″ which is twice as thick than a standard yoga mat), extra long (72″ x 24″ which is 4″ longer than a standard yoga mat) and self adjusts to work with any height.

 

 

 

 

Pro-stretch Plus

 

If your favorite athlete complains of achilles tendonitis, ankle pain, back pain, calf strain and tight calf muscles, arch pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, ball of foot pain, tight hamstring pain, IT band syndrome, and/or shin pain, then the Pro-stretch Plus is going to help them. It helps give you an effective and comfortable stretch that will help prevent future injuries. You are going to save them so much pain, aggravation, and frustration, plus YOU won’t have to hear them keep complaining about their pain every time you talk to them. It’s a win-win!

 

 

 Shwings

 

I came across the Shwings a few years ago and immediately fell in love with them. They have over 150 styles in all different colors and will make all your shoes look unique and fun! They have wings, lighting bolts, skulls, butterflies, and even mustaches! They have been featured in magazines such as InStyle, UsWeekly, Parents and more. They are a perfect stocking stuffer for kids and adults of all ages. I have three pairs myself!

 

 

 

 

“The Long Run” by Matt Long

 

I’m constantly talking about Matt Long and his inspiring book, “The Long Run”. While bike riding, Matt was hit by a twenty ton bus making an illegal turn and his bike “sliced him open like a can”. He needed sixty eight units of blood 10 hours after the accident and was in the hospital for five months. Every bone in his left leg was broken, the right side of his pelvis was shattered, as well as his right shoulder and severed multiple arteries. He would endure over forty operations and the doctors weren’t even sure he would walk again, let alone compete. Matt’s book describes his intense and painful recovery and how he was able finish the NYC marathon three years after the accident. This story is incredible and I’m not lying when I say that I read it at least once a year.

 

 

 

 

 2Toms SportsShield Towelette

 

Ah, chafing, every runners nightmare. Since I was bigger runner I had lots of chafing issues and after a particular run while training for the NYC marathon last year, I realized BodyGlide wasn’t going to cut it. As I silently screamed in agony in the shower after a long run, I decided to try some new products. I came across 2Toms SportShield Towelettes during a Runchat, looked at their products and decided to try their towelettes and roll on. Since I’ve tried them, I haven’t had any chafing issues.  NOT ONE. I’m particularly fond of the towelettes because they are small and portable. I had been known to unwrap one and stick it down my bra for long runs just in case I’ve missed a spot.

 

 

 

 

 

BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones

 

I actually won a pair of these BackBeat Fit headphones and I’m a huge fan. When we joined Rex Wellness Center earlier this year, I wanted a pair of wireless headphones because my wires kept getting caught on the machines and weights, it drove me crazy. It was easy hooking them up with my phone so I was happily watching Parks and Rec while on the bike or listening to JT while using the weight machines.  I found they were easy to use, comfortable and the sound is fantastic. It definitely drowns out crying babies and overly talkative adults on airplanes.

 

 

What is on your wishlist this year? 

jenhaught_biopicAbout Jen Haught: Jen grew up in Manchester, NH and then moved to the Raleigh, NC area in 2003 with her husband and two dogs, Jager and Sammy. She likes reading, make up, coloring, hiking, hockey, working out and being lazy.

Jen has overcome her share of injuries and  health and fitness struggles, but enjoys inspiring others to live their best happy, healthy lives.

You can reach Jen on Instagram @JenHaught or Twitter @JenHaught79. We are honored to have Jen as our November Guest Blogger and a Medi-Dyne Ambassador.

RangeRoller Sore Muscles After Tough Practices

Running with Kids covers using the RangeRoller on sore muscles for tissue massage after tough runs or training, and even after taekwando practices for IT Bands and tight calves.

Gear Review – Tissue Massage with RangeRoller

RangeRoller CalvesWe have incorporated Medi-Dyne’s Pro Stretch Plus into our cool down and stretching routine after runs (read my review here). But there is another Medi-Dyne tool in our toolkit, the original Range Roller, that has become just as important after strenuous workouts. The Range Roller enables soft tissue massages and accelerates the healing and recovery process.

My older son, who runs high school cross country and track, used a hard foam roller for tissue massages, and I had considered buying one. I opted for the Range Roller for several reasons, including deeper tissue massage, more versatile applications with the tool, and very portable (throw it into a gym bag or backpack). He has since converted to the Range Roller.

RangeRoller IT BandsRecognizing the importance of stretching and massaging, my younger son has been using the Range Roller after runs as well, but opened our eyes when he asked for the Range Roller after his Taekwondo 2nd degree Black Belt test (read about this 90 minute test that requires nearly 1,000 hours of preparation). We now use the Range Roller after runs (example: helps disipate lactic acid after threshold and anaerobic track workouts by improving blood circulation to muscles) and after Taekwondo practice (example: helps reduce soreness and repair tissue after Taekwondo sparring session by improving blood circulation to tissue).

What we like:

RangeRoller’s Unique Design

  • The original Range Roller measures 19 inches long and contains 6 narrow, deep rollers alternating with 7 wider, shallow rollers that turn freely as the Range Roller is gently and firmly rolled to massage tissue.
  • The tool is held with foam handles on both ends and flexes slightly as pressure is applied.
  • It is portable (bring along to a track workout, martial arts practice, or fitness center) and easy to store.
  • A smaller (16 inch) and larger (25 inch) version is also available.
  • The Range Roller can be ordered in your favorite color combinations (think sports teams!)

RangeRoller’s Materials and Quality

  • The Range Roller is manufactured of high quality plastic and dense foam, and can be gently washed with mild soap.
  • We are impressed with the overall quality of the Range Roller (design, materials, and workmanship) and expect to use it daily for many years to come.

RangeRoller’s Affordable Price

  • The Range Roller costs $25 at Medi-Dyne.com.
  • Less expensive (and more versatile) than foam rollers, and a fraction of the cost of sports massages!

Welcome to the Medi-Dyne Family Cho-Pat

Cho-Pat, a Welcome Addition

At Medi-Dyne we’re excited to be able to offer you a comprehensive selection of pain relief and prevention solutions that deliver relief, support, and performance improvement for the entire length of your body’s interconnective chain of muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.

MD-Family

We look forward to providing you with innovative, easy-to-use solutions that really work! For more information visit www.medi-dyne.com, or connect with us @MediDyne.

Stay Off the Curb: Stretch with ProStretch Plus

If you’ve been relying on the curb for pre-run stretches, there’s something better. The ProStretch Plus enables you to stretch your tight calves, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia more efficiently than a curb or wall.

ProStretch Plus reaches tough spots like the Achilles, and provides support for controlled stretching. This increases flexibility, range of motion and performance while helping reduce the risk of injury.

Stretching on a curb has limitations:

  • You must stop your stretch and begin again when adjusting the depth of stretch on a curb or wall.
  • To reach all of the areas of the lower leg, you must position yourself various times, in different stretching positions.
  • The curb does not offer a stretch for the bottom of the foot.

 

Stretching with ProStretch Plus is simple and more efficient than a curb or wall:

  • To adjust your stretch on the ProStretch Plus, you simply rock backward until you reach the depth of stretch that you desire— never stopping your stretch.
  • You can fluidly move from one stretch to another with ProStretch Plus; starting with an Achilles tendon stretch, to Gastroc and Soleous calf stretches, even to a hamstring stretch, and ending with a shin splint prevention exercise.
  • The added toe piece helps to place the toes at a state of tension, stretching the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot—something that the curb is incapable of doing.

Curbs are for tires, not feet. If you want to run and play with confidence, you want to stretch like a pro. ProStretch Plus “foots” the bill.

10 Minute Back Pain Relief: CoreStretch

10 Minutes of Stretching a Day Can Take Back Pain Away!

3 easy stretches that cover the stretch the entire interconnective chain of the core, including the; Lower Back, Hamstrings, Hips, Glutes, IT Bands, and Lateral Arm Muscles.

For best results, be sure that your arms are fully extended (not bent at the elbow) and your back is straight (not curved). Correct posture will maximize your back elongation and stretch.  If the stretch on your shoulder is too intense, lower the position of the handle by one notch.

LOWER BACK and HAMSTRING STRETCHES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIPS (Piriformis), UPPER GLUTE and IT BAND (Illiotibial)

 

Advanced Lateral arm stretches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADVANCED LATERAL

Professionals Use ProStretch for Injury Prevention

Chain Reaction Injuries

Have you ever sprained an ankle only to find a week later you’re suffering from lower back pain? Then you’ve experienced first-hand how weak links put undue stress on stronger ones.

Weak muscles cause tighter (stronger) muscles to be recruited by the central nervous system in order to perform the same movement. The results are muscle imbalances and “chain reaction injuries”.

ProStretch for Calf Stretches

Pictured: The ProStretch Double (Original Wooden) on the pre-season game sidelines of the Dallas Cowboys. The ProStretch Double Wooden is the heavy duty version of Medi-Dyne’s popular ProStretch Plus. This bigger and stronger version is often used by pro teams, fitness clubs and clinics.

One of the most critical muscles to keep flexible are the calf muscles. Calf injuries or even just tightness can move in either direction of the body’s interconnective chain, causing Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, knee pain, tight hamstrings or even lower back pain.

Stretching with ProStretch products strengthens and stretches the calf muscles and ligaments in the calf muscles, plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, keeping the lower leg strong, balanced, and healthy!

To purchase a ProStretch, or for more information on chain reaction injuries and injury prevention techniques and tools, visit medi-dyne.com.

Aches and Pains of a Beginner Biker

Craig DiGiovanni. VP of Sales & Marketing, Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products. Avid Runner. Marathoner. Wannabe Triathlete.

The word beginner in the title is important, because that is what I am.   Of course I have ridden a bicycle almost my entire life, but not for very long stretches of time at a constant speed.   I have recently taken up more serious cycling, both to help improve my running and to allow me to possibly compete in some triathlons.    Quite frankly, I have really enjoyed the process of getting out and riding more.   There is something very therapeutic about riding a bike, in addition to some great exercise.    Based on some research, it also is supposed to enhance my running times.

What I didn’t fully expect when I started biking was that the muscles I used would be quite different than those I used while running or swimming.    After running the OKC Memorial Marathon, my quads were by far the sorest muscles post-race. Cue the need for biking, which helps to build up the quad muscles.  However, my quads weren’t the muscles that ached the most following my first long bike rides.    The muscles that ached the most were in my upper and lower back.  Big surprise?   Not really.   Being bent over handles bars for a couple of hours is sure to put a strain on your lower back and even my upper back, right between my shoulder blades.

The reoccurring back pain and lower back muscle tightness I experienced quickly brought on a need for some back stretches.   The good news here is that I have access to one of the premier back stretching devices available, the CoreStretch. The CoreStretch’s simple but unique design easily targeted the stiff areas including my upper and lower back.   There have been some great reviews from cyclists about the CoreStretch, but now I really get it.   Not only do I see the additional need for core strengthening when it comes to cycling, but also for core stretching as an integral part of biking.

There were a few stretches that really helped me get rid of my post-cycling back pain. These included; the crossed hands stretch and also the lower back/hamstring stretch.   Those two in particular seem to give me the most relief for the areas that take the most stress while I cycle.   My future biking plans will definitely include pre and post ride stretching with the CoreStretch to make sure I get the most out of each ride both physically and mentally!

For more information on the CoreStretch or for instructional videos or brochures visit www.medi-dyne.com.

Beat the Heat, Run Faster!

Craig DiGiovanni. VP of Sales & Marketing, Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products. Avid Runner. Marathoner. Wannabe Triathlete.

Sound enticing?   Let me assure you, it is.  Now, I am from Texas and beating the heat is something we deal with often.   However, it seems that this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue as more people move into the sun-belt areas, and summers everywhere seem to be hotter than normal.

So what do I do to beat the heat? Well, I have gotten on the quest to lower my marathon time which involves changing my training schedule and routine.   One of the suggested changes is to incorporate other activities to compliment my running.   The purpose of this is to continue working on cardiovascular strength but to also reduce some of the wear and tear that running causes the body to experience, while helping build some of the muscles that get neglected when running.   Some of the recommended activities are biking and swimming. (This is also why Triathlons have become so popular).

First, biking: I love riding bikes.   Riding bikes has been something I have enjoyed all my life, more as a kid than as an adult.   However, that is changing because I have started biking more seriously, and enjoy it just as much as when I was a kid.   The additional benefit now though is I not only get to enjoy it, but I am also making it work as good exercise as well.

The unique thing about riding a bike when it is hot out is that, because you are moving at higher speeds, you are able to keep your body cooler.    So, even though it is hot out, the heat is much less of a factor than when I am running.   The caution here is that fluid replacement is a bit deceiving.   Because you are having more air pass over your skin, the appearance of sweating isn’t as prevalent as running, however, fluid loss can still be significant.   So a word of advice is to be extra cautious about the rate of fluid replacement when riding a bike.  The good news is that drinking and riding aren’t nearly as taxing on my stomach as when I run.

Now swimming: a great way to beat the heat!   In the summer you have the option of indoor and outdoor pools, lakes and oceans can also be good resources.   I have personally joined a Master’s swim program which I highly recommend.  Not only do you get a better workout but you also get some good instruction that can significantly help your form.   By improving your form you improve your efficiency and time as well as your level of enjoyment.   I personally love swimming outdoors with the sun shining.   Something about being in the water on a sunny day makes for a great workout, no matter how hot or hard the workout.   If you do swim outdoors, I would recommend tinted goggles.   Looking into the sun on your breathing can be a bit of a problem!

So, incorporating either or both of these routines in to your running program will help you not only beat the heat, but may also help lower your running times!           

Follow Medi-Dyne on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for healthy tips and special offers!

Plantar Fasciitis, a Reason to Worry?

This weekend I read an article about Seattle Mariner player Franklin Gutierrez suffering from Plantar fasciitis.  Last year it was Tampa Devil Rays’ Carlos Pena.  Next month it will probably be another player.

The article states this about Plantar fasciitis, “File this one away under ‘reason to worry’. That’s because this is one of those lingering problems you don’t want cropping up in an athlete whose biggest assets happen to involve the legs.”

If you’ve been keeping up with the Medi-Dyne Blog, you know that Plantar fasciitis doesn’t have to be crippling. The problem is that it doesn’t start off feeling like much of an injury at all.  For many, it can just be a dull—nagging pain, but the longer you leave it untreated the longer it takes to cure.  Even worse, untreated, it can put you in a cast, night splint, or even cause surgical intervention.

Prevention is always the “best medicine”!  If you’re on your feet all day (think retail, security, police, sanitation) or running for fitness (including soccer, basketball, lacrosse or triathlon) you should be doing two things to prevent Plantar fasciitis:

  1. Stretch!
    It’s been proven to work.  Stretching your calf, Achilles tendon, plantar fascia and toes 1 – 2 times a day works!  And it doesn’t take long!  5 – 10 minutes and that’s it.  The curb or stairs can work but the ProStretch Plus works even better and can be taken anywhere.Leave it in your path so you can stretch before work or school. Put it by your bed so you stretch first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed.  Take it with you – you can really use it anywhere. Stretching will quickly become habit and will keep you on your feet!
  2. Support!
    Heel cups or arch supports (otherwise known as orthotics) are important. There are some fantastic, podiatrist recommended products available at a significantly lower cost than custom orthotics that often work as well as the custom ones available through a doctor.  Youth in cleats or others who “live” in work boots should be investing in these for their shoes before they begin suffering.If you’re already suffering, stay away from the flip flops or sandals!  At least until you’ve felt better for a few weeks.  This will speed your recovery.

If you’re in significant pain, or have been suffering for a while see a Doctor.  This is especially important for youth who could develop Sever’s Disease.

Transitioning to Minimalist Running

This is the story of how Kabri became a runner, and the tricks and tools she used along the way. Read more about her running story in Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 3: Transitioning to Minimalist Running

Using Medi-Dyne during the transition to minimalist running.

Three years ago, I began training for my very first half marathon. Little did I know that my journey of becoming a “runner” was just beginning.

If you’re just tuning in, I am an advocate of stretching and massage for runners. How do I know all of the benefits of stretching and massage now? And why didn’t I incorporate these great Medi-Dyne products into my recovery and maintenance three years ago?

Well besides the fact that hindsight is always 20-20, I was recently able to put my newly-acquired ProStretch Plus and RangeRoller tools to the test while I was transitioning back to minimalist running. You see, the popular “barefoot” trend requires a runner to build up their foot, ankle and knee muscles. You must build up your muscles and expose them to the shock and stresses that a cushioned sneaker may have absorbed in the past. This transition takes time and patience to avoid injury, and is similar in many ways to the muscle development that takes place while trail running.

After moving to San Francisco over a year ago, I transitioned from running on mostly trails to road running. The city’s hills kept my leg muscles strengthened, but I was quickly losing the strong muscular protection I had built up around my knee and ankle joints.  In order to maintain the muscular support my joints had worked so hard to establish, I decided that I would slowly transition into a pair of popular “barefoot” style shoes. On my first runs I found that first, I absolutely loved being able to feel the road under the soles of my feet—my toes having to grab for the road. Secondly, by landing on the forefront of my feet, my calves were tightening up as quickly and as painfully as when I initially started trail running.

To promote healthy muscle growth and alleviate the soreness, I would do a concentrated stretching routine with my ProStretch Plus after each run, focusing on not only my calves, but also my Achilles tendons. I found that this newly experienced “tightness” would travel down my Achilles and into the bottom of my feet. By simply adjusting the angle and wedge on my ProStretch Plus, I was able to increase the flexibility of not only my calves and hamstrings, but also my arches and toes.

In short, I believe that injury prevention and muscle growth can be facilitated by the proper stretching of overly-tight muscles and by “combing” out the knots that develop in damaged muscle fibers, promoting renewed blood flow and muscle repair. I have found the ProStretch Plus and RangeRoller to be my two key tools for ongoing maintenance in my trail and minimalist road running interests. This year I look forward to setting a new road marathon PR at the Oakland and San Francisco Marathons! Finish strong!

For more information on the ProStretch Plus or RangeRoller visit www.medi-dyne.com.

ProStretch Plus: A True Innovation in Pain Prevention

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

The ProStretch was originally developed by an auto mechanic who was rehabbing a knee injury.  Over time he realized that the brake shoe from a car was the best thing he could find for stretching out his calf muscles, while building flexibility and range of motion back in to his calf muscles and lower leg.   He became passionate about how well it worked, passionate enough to want to share his discovery. From necessity and passion was born The Original ProStretch.

ProStretch Joins the Medi-Dyne Family of Products

In 1998 Medi-Dyne acquired the Tuli’s product line.  In discussions with the original Tuli’s® Classic Heel Cup inventor, San Diego podiatrist Dr. Murray Davidson, we quickly learned how important stretching was to the health of the calf muscles and the prevention of the many injuries associated with the lower leg, including Plantar Fasciitis, Achillies tendonitis, calf strains, and  shin splints.  So we began to look for the most effective solution to provide the long-term relief and stretching that would complement the immediate relief provided by the Tuli’s Heel Cups and other Tuli’s products.  When we found The Original ProStretch in 2003 we knew we had found the best lower leg stretching device available then and for the next 20 years!

Building on Success

As is the case with all Medi-Dyne products, we constantly solicit feedback from medical professionals, professional and amateur athletes, and all users on ways we can improve the product, usage experience, and end results.  While the ProStretch (also known as the StepStretch in some retail outlets) was a great product, it had some shortcomings.

  1. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
    The Original ProStretch is great, but it is a “one-size-fits-all” product.  Unfortunately, people are not one size fits all.
  2. People’s Feet Are Getting Larger
    It’s true. Once, a man’s size 14 would have been considered the footprint of a giant. But what was seen as enormous is apparently becoming quite normal. The average man’s shoe has gone up a full size in the past five years. The Original ProStretch just wasn’t built to accommodate the growing majority.
  3. Room For Improvement
    Many people suffer from Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, tight calves or shin splints. These pain sufferers were in need of a solution that would maximize the stretch felt along the interconnective chain of the lower leg. We realized that we could improve the stretch by elevating the toes during stretch.

We went about re-engineering the ProStretch to be bigger, stronger, lighter, and customizable, while offering a deeper stretch.   When it was all said and done, the ProStretch Plus was born.   For a complete review of all of our ProStretch products visit: www.medi-dyne.com.

Trying is Believing

We have had more people fall in love with the ProStretch and ProStretch Plus than any other product, simply by standing on it.  Just check out these “before and after” user video reviews.

What makes the ProStretch Plus work so well?  A few things. It is biomechanically shaped to put your foot in the optimal stretching position to get the best results.   Combining that with the rocker bottom, you get the best calf stretch, along with progressive and constant pressure that gives you an unsurpassed lower leg stretch.

Nothing works better, not a curb, not a wall, not a slant board, nothing. The ProStretch has been medical proven to stretch the calf better than conventional methods – Please see the following study posted on our website, “Comparison of Two Methods of Stretching the Gastrocnemius and Their Effects on Ankle Range of Motion Karen Maloney Backstrorn, C Forsyth. B. Walden”.   You can also read unsolicited testimonials at www.medi-dyne.com.

For more information on the ProStretch Plus or ProStretch visit http://www.medi-dyne.com/estore/.

Golfers Increase Flexibility with CoreStretch

The term athlete has never more aptly applied to golfers than it does today. While strength continues to remain an important part of the game, power gained through flexibility and balance are now what put a great golf game within reach for many.

So what’s the key to achieving the level of flexibility and balance that will transform your game?

Core muscle group flexibility. Think about it. Your swing revolves around your navel, the area supported by the core muscles. Not just your abs but the entire core – your obliques, glutes, piriformis, hip flexors, and hamstrings. Your ability to get the most out of this major muscle group could mean a 20 yard or more difference in your drive.

Fitness expert and author Kelly Blackburn explains, “In your golf swing your hips and glutes provide a solid foundation for balance as well as supplying the mechanism for acceleration. A flexible core allows you to fully extend your swing and maximize power at impact as you rotate through into the finish position.” She suggests a simple flexibility test.

“Take a 5 iron and move into your backswing position. At the top of your backswing your left arm (assuming you’re right handed) should be completely straight and the club should be directly parallel across your shoulders. If it’s not you’re not alone but you are definitely losing power due to a lack of flexibility.”

But flexibility exercises that are not specific to the golf swing and its physical requirements, while helpful, will not provide the flexibility and balance that will deliver the power that golfers are looking for.

One device making a big impact with both professional and amateur players is the CoreStretch. Previously available only to physical therapists and athletic trainers, the CoreStretch has recently become available to all golfers. Unlike conventional stretching methods that force the back to curve, the unique design of the CoreStretch elongates the back enabling a deeper more effective stretch of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the core. The CoreStretch works on a three-plane swivel for up-and-down, side-to-side and twisting motion provides optimal stretching for three levels of fitness for the lower back, obliques, hip flexors, piriformis, glutes and hamstrings – enabling users to fit their individual needs.

Weighing about a pound, the CoreStretch is light-weight and collapsible, so it can conveniently be taken to the office, business travel or even kept in your golf bag so that it can be used daily, even several times a day in seated, standing or floor positions. The unique design of the CoreStretch ensures proper techniques so that users can achieve an effective, dynamic stretch that without the risk of injury.

Blackburn has begun recommending the CoreStretch to her clients, both professional and amateur as well as adding it to her Golf Fitness product line. “While there are other methods of stretching the core muscles, none provide both the position stability and portability of the CoreStretch. It’s become so popular that I’ve created an entire mulit-level game-enhancement program around the CoreStretch.”

For more information on building flexibility or the CoreStretch visit Medi-Dyne.com.  Also for Golfers: Tuli’s

Flexibility During Marathon Training: The Stink Scare

Welcome to Craig’s Corner: Running, Stretching, and Training Tips from Craig.

Craig DiGiovanni. VP of Sales & Marketing, Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products. Avid Runner. Wannabe Marathoner.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, being flexible helps you to stay quick on your feet… and may even keep you smelling better.   Yes, this is a bit of a tease, but it does have some relevance.

Just before dawn I was out for my morning run with my trusty sidekick Sunnie (my yellow lab and constant running companion).  About a mile into my run I caught a quick glimpse of something moving on the path ahead of me.  At about the same time that my eyes began to focus my brain began to register what I was seeing, the unmistakable white stripe on the black tail sticking up in the air.…..SKUNK!   A quick pivot put me into an immediate about face. Thankfully Sunnie hadn’t seen the skunk otherwise the chase would have been on and so would the STINK!

I am now running in the opposite direction. I get about 200 yards down the path when all of a sudden, Sunnie growls and takes off running toward the woods.  Yep, another SKUNK!    First, I yelled, “NOOO!  Heel!”  And then my fight or flight instinct kicked in… I RUN!!!!

Flexibility does not wait in situations like that.  You either have it or you don’t.   (Of course, the onset of a day’s worth of adrenaline didn’t hurt!)    A few strides later I smell that distinctive odor.  With miles ahead of me my only focus now was on an unavoidable tomato juice bath for Sunnie and the trashing of my favorite running clothes and shoes!   Not a happy runner at this point.

As I continue to run the smell seems to dissipate.    Not sure at this point if it is my wishful thinking or not, but I figured I might as well keep going.  Thinking the worst is behind me, I start to smell the smell again, and it’s getting stronger.   Putting two and two together I realize that it must be in front of me.   Thankfully the sun had begun to rise, bringing enough light to see the now too familiar, dreaded black tail ahead of us on the trail.  Cue the quick pivot change of direction again!

About a mile into yet another alternate route, I let down my guard and set in to enjoy the rest of the run.  But no!  Reminiscent (no pun intended) of a “B Horror” movie, the enemy kept popping up everywhere.  It was after this final sighting that I decided home might be the only safe place at this point.  Once I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that neither Sunnie or I were casualties of the “Stink”.  All’s well that ends well.

But I did learn a few things…

  1. Flexibility is often needed when you may least expect it. This would include not only running from Skunks, but also avoiding things on your running path that come out of nowhere.  But you can’t rely on what you don’t have.  Therefore, flexibility preparation is critical.   If you don’t prepare, injury beware!
  2. As my grandmother used to say, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. There are many things that might affect your training sessions, so being able to adjust your plan is essential to success. Again, being prepared is key.
  3. If there is one skunk around, there’s a good chance there are more!
  4. Running isn’t just good exercise and mind clearing, it can also be a real adventure.

OK, enough about the “stink scare”.   Maybe next time I’ll take on less of a challenge.  How about Achilles tendonitis?

 

Increasing Calf Flexibility During Marathon Training

The Weekly Buzz: Certified Athletic Trainer and Coach, Nick Zaneto, wanted to increase calf flexibility to prevent injuries during his marathon training, so he turned to the ProStretch Plus to reduce his tight calves.
 

This week’s contributor is Nick Zaneto, ATC. Nick has been a Certified Athletic Trainer for 11 years, serving a variety of athletes at the high school level. He is currently the Head Wrestling Coach at a New Jersey high school  and a personal trainer for a variety of athletes. An athlete himself, Nick plays Inline Hockey and is training for the New Jersey Marathon this May.

After researching products online Nick found Medi-Dyne.com. Nick quickly realized that he has already been using Medi-Dyne products. As an Athletic Trainer, he often uses the ProStretch and Tuli’s Heel Cups and recently recommended the ProStretch to a client with Achilles tendonitis. Nick told us, I have always been happy with all of my products that Medi-Dyne has produced. I’m excited to test the new ProStretch Plus.”

We caught up with Nick after he’d had the chance to use the ProStretch Plus for a while. His feedback?  “I like the calf stretch capabilities of the ProStretch Plus, it has been good to use right after a long run”.  Because Nick is looking to increase calf flexibility during marathon training he liked the deep gastroc calf stretch he received with the ProStretch Plus; “I do find that the ProStretch Plus has stretched my gastrocnemius muscle much better than just using the wall.”

While Nick was pleased with the gastroc stretch he received with the ProStretch Plus, he had concerns whether the calf stretch could be extended to the soleus calf muscle as well. This is easy to do!  A demonstration of the proper technique to transfer the calf stretch up the muscle from the gastroc to soleus is provided online: “Reduce Calf Pain: Gastroc and Soleus Stretches”.

Nick found that the removable toe lift was a feature he was struggling with properly utilizing. The ProStretch Plus toe lift was designed to assist those suffering from heel pain, plantar fasciitis or foot pain. It’s not always needed. The demonstration video, “Getting Started with Your ProStretch Plus”, takes you step-by-step through the process of adjusting or removing the toe lift. It is generally the best practice to begin using the ProStretch Plus without the toe lift first and then add it as needed.

Thank you Nick for contributing feedback on the ProStretch Plus. You can read some of Nick’s training tips on his blog nzaneto.blogspot.com.

 

How do you use your Medi-Dyne products? Let us know on Facebook today! Visit medi-dyne.com for more information on how to use the ProStretch Plus or Tuli’s Heel Cups. Check back next week for more Buzz on Medi-Dyne products.

Back Pain Relief: Part 2

Back Pain Relief: Part 2 – Solutions

Preventing Pain Before It Begins
Since pain occurs after the imbalances arrive, not before, relying on pain as the only indicator that your interconnective chain may be imbalanced or overstressed could lead you to a life of back problems. While statistically it is likely that you will suffer from back pain at some point in your life, taking preventative measures may help reduce the severity of the strain and positively impact recovery time.

Keeping your posterior chain (calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back) strong and flexible is one of the best things you can do to prevent back pain. Exercises that increase balance, flexibility and strength can decrease your risk of injuring your back, falling, or breaking bones. (5)

 

Long-Term Back Pain Relief
Any sufferer of back pain will tell you that their immediate objective is to reduce pain and restore mobility. While the natural tendency may be to rest, exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain. A Finnish study found that persons who continued their activities without bed rest following the onset of low back pain  appeared to have better back flexibility than those who rested in bed for a week. (6)

Exercise, including stretching and strengthening of the muscles along the posterior chain (calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back) has been shown to benefit many lower back pain sufferers by restoring muscle balance, strength and flexibility. 5, 7

  • Strengthen your core: Not surprisingly, a person in good physical condition will generally reduce their risk of back injuries while the risk for those with weak core fitness is nearly doubled. Your core is made up of much more than your abs. So be sure to focus on the bigger picture. True core exercises work both your posterior chain and anterior chain (abdominal muscles) to increase your strength and flexibility.
  • Increase flexibility: By stretching the muscles in the posterior chain and anterior chain, you can maximize your flexibility and drastically reduce your risk of muscle imbalance injury. Key muscles to target include the gluteus maximus, piriformis, the iliotibial (IT band) and hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can cause the hips and pelvis to rotate back flattening the lower back and causing back problems.
  • Work on coordination and balance: Just walking regularly for exercise can help you maintain your coordination and balance. Performing balance exercises can also help to keep you steady on your feet and reduce the risk of micro injuries.
  • Check the foundation: Your feet are designed to protect you against the shock your body feels when you take a step. Every time the heel of your foot hits the ground, a shock wave travels up through your body, all the way to your head. A healthy body will absorb this shock. But if your feet are not in their correct functioning position, more of this shock is allowed to move through the body to weaken other joints including the hips and spine. So be sure that your feet are healthy, that your arches are properly supported and your shoes are providing maximum shock absorption.

A Medically Proven Solution
Originally developed for use by physical therapists, the CoreStretch was developed to provide the deepest, most effective way to stretch your posterior chain and restore muscle
flexibility and interaction, thereby, increasing range of motion, reducing pain, preventing further injury, and speeding up recovery. In fact, studies have shown the CoreStretch to be an effective way to stretch the hamstrings and contribute to posterior chain flexibility.

Unlike conventional stretching methods that force the back to curve, the unique design of the CoreStretch decompresses the back, enabling a deeper, more effective stretch of the posterior muscle chain supporting your back, spine, and legs.

The CoreStretch provides a stretch that both allows the tissues to relax and elongate developing the major muscle groups that make up the core. That’s why in therapeutic environments the CoreStretch is used to treat back, shoulder and hip pain, piriformis, fibromyalgia ,sciatica, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Most people find that just a few minutes of stretching every day with the CoreStretch reduces the pain associated with RMIs and improves quality of lifeis a light-weight and  portable stretching device that takes the guesswork out of stretching your back muscles and relieves the pain associated with RMIs

Comprehensive
The CoreStretch provides the same instant decompression and relief you get with inversion tables by creating a natural, safe traction that you can control but goes beyond the immediate relief to become part of a more comprehensive program that delivers long-term repair. The three-plane swivel enables up-and-down, side-to-side, and twisting motions for the entire posterior chain — back, hips, hamstrings, shoulders and glutes. And with three levels of fitness and 10 sizing options, the CoreStretch provides the optimal stretching tool which can easily and effectively be used in seated, standing or floor positions.

Portable
Light-weight and collapsible, the CoreStretch can conveniently be taken to the office or job site to be used daily, even several times a day as a fast an effective way to break the repetition and combat RMIs.

For causes of back pain read Back Pain Relief: Part 1 – Causes

(more…)

Athletes and Medical Pros Shape ProStretch Plus

An updated stretching tool designed to engage the entire interconnective chain of the lower leg from hamstring to toes is available from Colleyville, Texas-based Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products. The new ProStretch Plus incorporates the most important design aspects of the Original ProStretch—including the rocker bottom and offset of the heel and toe plates—and improves on this design with a next-generation product fully customizable to meet higher levels of performance expectations.

“While the Original ProStretch and StepStretch were good products for their time, they were really one-size-fits-all,” states Craig DiGiovanni, VP Sales, Medi-Dyne. “With the new ProStretch Plus we’ve incorporated input from medical professionals and athletes from around the world to develop a fully customizable stretching tool that delivers superior results to a significantly larger group of users.”

Features designed into the ProStrech Plus include a Rocker Bottom intended to automatically hold the foot in the optimal position, thereby providing a biomechanically accurate and efficient stretch that works the lower leg muscles effectively. The device also has an adjustable heel rest so the patient can increase or decrease the degree of stretch. This feature enables the user to “progress the stretch” as he or she becomes stronger and more flexible.

ProStrech Plus includes a removable lift to maximize toe and Plantar fascia stretch, said to be ideal for engaging the entire interconnective chain of the lower leg. The device also has a larger, continuous platform that provides increased comfort and stability. It fits up to a size 14 shoe.

Strength and lightness have been engineered into the ProStretch Plus so it is extremely portable and can help increase patient/athlete compliance with prescribed routines. A detailed, illustrated stretching guide is included that depicts targeted Gastroc, Achilles tendon, Plantar fascia and toe stretches.

Article can also be seen in Rehab Management, the interdisciplinary journal of rehabilitation.

[Source: Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products]

Taming Tight Hamstrings

Many athletes suffer from hamstring injuries each year, but tight hamstrings can also occur from daily activities like walking.  Understanding the cause of tight hamstrings is key in determining a prevention plan.

The hamstrings are not one muscle, but actually a group of three muscles that run down the back of your leg from the pelvis to the lower leg bones making up the bulk in back of your thigh. Your hamstrings function to extend the hip and flex the knee joints. The three muscles that make up the hamstrings are the biceps femoris, semi-tendinosus and semi-membranosus.

A hamstring pull is a muscle strain where muscle fibers are torn either partially or completely. If you have a hamstring injury you are likely to know it right away. A sudden, sharp pain in the back of the thigh could be your first indicator. After which it will be hard to straighten your leg out all of the way without pain. CT scans and MRI may be used to define the more serious injuries.Hamstring injuries happen when the muscles are stretched too far causing tearing of the muscle fibers. Sudden sprints or other fast or twisting motions with your legs (e.g. soccer, running, jumping, basketball) are the major causes of hamstring injuries.

 

The primary risk factors for injury include:

  • Age: As you age, your muscles loose flexibility, making it easier to suffer from a hamstring injury.
  • Fitness Level/Flexibility: Your fitness level is based on strength, endurance and flexibility. The less flexible you are, the more likely you are to pull a muscle and depending on what activity you are participating in, the more likely that muscle will be your hamstring.
  • Strength Imbalances: The muscle strength and flexibility imbalance, specifically between the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups can lead to hamstring injuries. The hamstring muscles of one leg may be much stronger than the other leg, or the quadriceps muscles may overpower the hamstrings leading to injury.
  • Fatigue: When you’ve done too much, too soon or have pushed yourself beyond your limits you lose coordination between muscle groups. This lack of coordination can easily result in a pulled muscle.
  • Improper Warm Up: Muscle fatigue and not warming up properly can contribute to hamstring injuries.

If you’ve ever pulled your hamstrings, prevention will clearly be your goal, repeating that injury not only interferes with your everyday activities but puts you at risk for a repeat injury. To prevent future pulls, and for tips on preventing pain before it begins visit Medi-Dyne’s Pain Solution Center.

 

Are You Suffering from a Chain Reaction Injury

Chain Reaction Injuries – They’re Not What You Think They Are

You’ve probably heard it all your life…the toe bone connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone connected to the leg bone…   So it’s really no great leap of faith to think of your ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons as an interconnected chain that work together to ensure your ability to stand, sit, walk or run.

So why is it that we so often try to treat the symptoms of our pain rather than look at the chain as a whole?

Case in point:  We recently read an article about TCU athlete Clint Renfro.  This young man is an outstanding athlete.  But Renfro’s first years at TCU were plagued by one minor injury after another. Note the word “minor”.  No one injury, in and of itself, seemed to be enough to force him to the sidelines.  Yet that’s where he remained – on the sideline or more appropriately, with the athletic trainers.

Although he initially suffered from hamstring pulls and lower back pain.  Then he began to experience increasing foot pain (which was later diagnosed as Achilles tendonitis).  When we think back to the interconnective chain we really shouldn’t be surprised by this domino effect.

When one of the links in your body’s interconnective chain is broken (pulled, sprained, inflamed) other areas in your body suffer. In an attempt to maintain your performance levels, other parts of your body compensate for the ‘kink or break’ in your chain. What may have started out as a simple muscle imbalance or slight injury can ultimately lead to increased injury, pain, and potentially a significant breakdown of your body’s interconnective chain.

A breakdown within your interconnective chain can cause you to alter your focus. Instead of solving the actual problem, you are drawn towards the area surrounding it; those muscles forced to bear the burden of compensating for the weakness of the real problem.

Whether you are a weekend warrior, a competitive athlete, athletic trainer, physical therapist or just someone who’d like to live without pain, we challenge you to do a true evaluation of muscle strength and compensation.  Look for the real problem.  See which muscles are compensating for others.  Realize that next time you suffer an injury the breakdown in your chain is not always what it seems, start from the bottom (your feet) and move towards finding a solution that ensures long-term healing.

So, what happened to Renfro?  When his injuries continued and his healing did not, Renfro sought the specialists. After dozens of consultations and increasing personal frustration, Renfro was finally diagnosed with the real problem.  A previously undetected dislocation in his right foot was determined to be the spark that lit the fuse leading to four years of fire to Renfro’s health.  Renfro suffered a simple ankle sprain, but the damage caused a chain reaction that manifested into years of injury and frustration.

You can read more on Renfro at the link below (originally printed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram): http://texasjournalofchiropractic.eznuz.com/printFriendly.cfm?articleID=23079

Your body’s only as strong as your weakest link?  What’s yours?

Your Back Pain May Be All in Your…Legs?

A misalignment of your body no matter how small, can wreak havoc from your head to your toes. Because the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints in your body act as links in an interconnective chain it takes these links working together to allow you to accomplish basic motions like sitting, walking, and running. If any one of these links is injured or not functioning properly the entire chain suffers. For millions of people each year that breakdown occurs first in their legs and feet.

The Weak Recruit the Strong

Lower body muscle imbalances put the back and lower extremities at high risk of injury. Weak muscles cause tighter, stronger muscles to be recruited by the central nervous system in order to perform the same movement, doing jobs they were never intended to do. Often time weak legs or misaligned lower body extremities cause tighter core muscles to be recruited in order to support the back. Over time this can cause pain in the joints, muscle strains, and/or injuries. Most people don’t realize they have these imbalances until it’s too late.

Make Your Legs Work for You

You can realize both short-term relief and long-term healing by making sure your feet and legs are doing their jobs properly. Building stability, flexibility, and strength in your lower body, helps ensure the lower body is functionally supporting your back.

A simple step that leads to short-term relief is promoting stability and proper alignment. Walking, training or stretching with your legs and feet parallel, hip-distance-apart, with your toes pointed forward and your hips balanced over your knees will promote basic alignment. Also using supportive foot care products, such as Tuli’s reinforcing insoles or heel cups, will help to prevent misalignment caused by the feet or ankles. Maintaining correct structure is only possible if the muscles and fascia are balanced and operating correctly.

The next steps that will help to heal and alleviate pain from your back include stretching and strengthening your lower body muscles.  Although the skeletal system aligns our body, it is our soft tissues (muscles) that pull our alignment out of place.  Focus on stretching your hamstrings to recover correct posture, your piriforms which run from your thigh bone to the base of the spine, and your gluteus muscles for hip flexibility and pelvis support. The CoreStretch helps to provide an extended stretch for your hamstrings, hips and back.  Squats, lunges, or even lateral leg lifts will also increase strength and flexibility of tight, lower-body muscles. Such self-care solutions can help take you toward reducing and preventing back pain.

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