Monthly Archives: March 2012

The benefits of wearing a knee brace for skiing

Skiing Knee Brace Benefits

Skiing is a great sport enjoyed by many people, however like any enjoyable experience, there are precautions worth considering. Safety measures that ensure you enjoy the slopes your whole life through. Here we discuss the benefits of knee braces for skiing.
Knee braces for skiing are fast becoming an essential piece of kit to take to the slopes. Every jump and twist on the snow impacts, pressurises and strains your knee joints which can lead to long-term injuries or discomforts. Knee braces for skiing relieve you of that worry and pain by offering support around the 4 crucial ligaments in use while skiing (Anterior Cruciate, Posterior Cruciate, Lateral Collateral and Medial Collateral Ligaments).
Is it really worth investing in knee braces for skiing? Surely not everybody is affected?
The truth is that a pair of knee braces will keep you on the slopes for longer, for a smoother experience and with a significantly reduced risk of injury. The reason why is simple: skiing involves abnormal knee joint and ligament movements. A skier’s feet are locked inside their boots leaving the knees to do all the work, something that they aren’t used to in everyday life.
This is nothing to worry about! However it might be worth considering the benefits of knee braces to ensure a care-free trip. Prevention is better than cure.
Of course as well as offering added stability for a smoother ski experience, knee braces can help those already nursing an injury. Whether you have undergone major Anterior Cruciate Ligament surgery or are nursing a sprain, a knee brace offers you the relief and support to continue skiing whilst protecting the injury.
It is not advised to hit the slopes on a weakened or damaged knee joint and therefore a supportive brace is an addition that both orthopaedic consultants and physiotherapists regularly recommend.
Another point to consider is the unpredictability of a day (or night) on the slopes. A recent survey listed a score of different ways to sustain a minor or major knee injury. These ranged from the frequent tumbles experienced by beginners to the hard-hitting landings of an Olympic professional. Whatever the case, the recurring theme was that the cause of injury was far too unpredictable to quantify. Causes included bad technique, repeated movement, uneven terrain, simple exhaustion or lack of care at the start or end of the day. The chances of avoiding every cause every time is too low to rely on.
The overwhelming assumption is that a knee brace is worth wearing on the slopes. Like wearing a seat belt when driving, or crash helmet on a motorbike, the day may never come when you need it but it is protection worth having, just in case.
So next time you’re planning your trip to the Alps or Aspen, consider investing in some knee braces for a smoother, more pleasurable skiing experience.

Knee Bracing for Different Types of Injury and Knee Wear

The knee is a joint that carries all of our weight at the stance phase of walking and is a joint that is vital to all mobility. The knee is a robust joint but, under extremes a certain fragility to some of the structures and there are common injuries that can happen to the knee. Thankfully, depending upon the injury, these problems can be overcome by bracing the knee. Alongside or instead of surgery, the options that people can take are dependent on the level and extent of injusry and resultant disability. For sports people or those whose work involves high levels of activity, surgery is a preferred option and they along with those whose career does not depend upon having a ‘perfect’ knee joint, a brace will help support the knee.
There are four ligaments that hold knee joint together by linking the thigh bone (femur) to the other two bones in the lower leg, the shin bone (tibia) and its smaller neighbour, the fibula. These ligaments are:
• Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
• Posterior Cruciate ligament (PCL)
• Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
• Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
Of these, the most common ligament to be injured is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. Injury is more common in women than men, and it is estimated that 10,000 people in the U.K. suffer this injury every year. The CTi® Custom Knee Brace is the gold standard brace, endorsed by leading surgeons and experts in knee rehabilitation. It is designed to support damage sustained to all the ligaments above, plus rotation and instability issues. It is used by professional sports people, and is made to measure.
For Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), the CTi® OTS brace will support the knee under all activities. It is usual to provide the ProSport version of the CTI OTS to give the additional strength and control needed in high energy sports. With both of these braces, professional assessment and fitting is required to ensure the correct level of control is given.
The oter main condition that affects the knee is osteoarthritis. This is a wear and tear injury and usually occurs on one side of the knee initially. This is called uni-compartment knee osteoarthritis. Össur’s Unloader® One brace is designed to reduce the load on the affected area of the knee , reducing pain, extending endurance and reducing the continual wear on the knee as the person walks. It is designed for people who have mild to severe osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis, tibial plateau fracture, articular cartilage and meniscal cartilage repair, and is available for people of all sizes. A new high load brace is available for those who are overweight and need to return to activity to improve their weight control. For an unusual leg shape, the Unloader® One Custom, a made to measure brace, is available. For both of these knee braces, professional assessment and fitting is necessary.
For less severe knee conditions, such as inflammation of the joint, mild osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, and mild sprains and instabilities of the MCL and LCL,and post surgery, the brace of choice is the Gladiator BioSkin® Front Closure or the BioSkin® Gladiator Sport. These are both adjustable by the wearer and once assessed and fitted will enable return to normal activity in a reduced time.
Ligaments and articular cartilage healing can take a long time, and it is so easy to do further damage it before it is fully restored. It is therefore, vital to consider using the correct knee brace to support the joint to aid healing and prevent further injury.

Technology in Motion’s team of Orthotists are expert in managing all types of knee problem and have the braces to control and support, whatever the injury.

Technology in Motion Teams with Ekso Bionics

FIRST UK EKSO CENTRE LAUNCHES

Technology in Motion is delighted to be the UK’s first Ekso Centre. Opening in Leeds on 22nd March, giving people with spinal cord injuries and other neurological weaknesses the opportunity to stand and walk in a bionic exoskeleton, under clinical supervision.
Ekso Bionics Ltd, to give people the opportunity to access the ready-to-wear, battery powered device for the first time.
More clinics are set to follow, creating a network of Ekso Centres across the UK.
Steve Mottram of Technology in Motion said: “For the first time, people with spinal cord injuries can have access to this technology and we are delighted to be involved.”
“At our Leeds consulting rooms we work with patients from across the UK to provide orthotic care. The Ekso Centres are a welcome addition to the range of services available here.”
The Centre will also be used by the first UK test pilots of the exoskeleton – David Follett, Suzanne Edwards and Andrew Glenie. They have all suffered a spinal cord injury and have already taken their first steps in Ekso.
Andy Hayes, MD of Ekso Bionics in Europe said: “This is very new and exciting technology and we are working with some of the leading spinal cord injury centres in Europe to research the long term physiological and psychological benefits of being upright and independently mobile.
“However we appreciate that some people with paralysis simply want to be able to walk now, and here we can offer a safe controlled environment to do so.
“The Ekso Centre will make this technology more accessible to people with spinal cord injuries who want the opportunity to use it. David, Andrew and Suzanne are the first of many, we hope, who will get to stand up and walk for the first time in years.
“So far over 150 people have walked in Ekso worldwide, seven of which are from the UK, but we want to give more people the opportunity.”
Each Ekso can be adjusted in just a few minutes to fit most people between 5’2” (1.5m) and 6’2” (1.9m), weighing 100kgs or less with at least partial upper body strength and good range of motion. Simple Velcro straps secure Ekso safely to the user, over their clothing and shoes. The wearable robot provides unprecedented knee flexion, which translates into the most natural human gait available in any exoskeleton today.
In order to use Ekso, patients will have to be cleared and screened by a physician to ensure they have a good range of motion in all leg joints, reasonable upper body strength and must be proficient with sitting balance and transfers from wheelchair to other surfaces.
The Ekso also requires the patient to provide balance and forward momentum. Once assessed, candidates will have the opportunity to walk and train at the Ekso Centre on a regular basis.

How to Recognise Signs and Symptoms of Plagiocephaly and/or Torticollis

Symptoms of Flat Head Syndrome

When your baby was only a few weeks old, you first noticed how he seemed to cock his head whenever he looked at you. When you watched him in other situations, you realised this was his customary posture. When you tried gently to move his head away from his shoulder, he cried as though you were causing him pain.
Looking back at your photo’s you notice that his head is always in the same position and he doesn’t seem to turn to the other side much. Here we discuss recognising the symptoms of Plagiocephaly.

Does this sound familiar? Your baby may suffer from what doctors call muscular torticollis or wryneck, a condition caused by spasms in the sternocleidomastoid muscle of the neck that cause the muscle on one side to contract. An infant or child with this condition appears to be tilting her head to one side while rotating his or her chin in the opposite direction. If you have witnessed any of these symptoms or suspect that your child may be affected by torticollis, it is advisable to seek medical help to confirm the diagnosis. Paediatricians estimate that up to 2 per cent of all infants may suffer from some degree of torticollis.

Sternocleidomastoid contracture is often the result of intrauterine positioning or a traumatic birth. When a baby is crowded so tightly into the uterus that he or she can’t move, contractures may develop and range of motion may be affected. Babies who are delivered with forceps, breach babies and multiples are all at higher risk of developing this condition. Torticollis is also rarely associated with infections and cervical abnormalities which your paediatrician will need to rule out before treatment can begin.

Untreated, torticollis can give rise to a host of problems in later life including facial and muscular asymmetry, visual disturbances, a delay in acquiring gross motor skills, and plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome, a persistent flat spot on your baby’s head.

While not every infant who shows signs and symptoms of plagiocephaly has problems with neck muscles, most infants with problematic neck muscles do go on to develop plagiocephaly because of their inability to move their heads. When your baby has flat head syndrome, you will notice that either the back or one side of her skull has sparser hair than the rest of his or her head, and that the underlying area appears to be flattened.

Flat head syndrome occurs when an infant spends too much time in one position. Infants’ heads are soft to facilitate the remarkable brain growth that takes place during the first two years of life. When one side of an infant’s head spends too much time resting against a flat surface, the skull can actually be moulded. Other causes of flat head syndrome include intrauterine positioning and spending too much time lying supine. When the Foundation for Sudden Infant Deaths (FSIDS)publicised guidelines to recommend that infants younger than one year old always be put to sleep on their backs, paediatricians saw a striking rise in plagiocephaly incidence.

The treatment for torticollis often involves physiotherapy. The therapist will work on exercises that gently stretch the sternocleidomastoid muscle to increase range of motion. Parents will be given a program of exercises that they can do with their baby at home.

Flat head syndrome can often be corrected by simply repositioning a baby’s head so that he or she is never lying on the flat spot. In severe cases, a custom-moulded helmet will improve the head towards a more normal and acceptable shape.