Category Archives: Adults

How to Prevent Injuries and Pains When Cycling

Whether it’s for leisure or sport, or simply for getting from A to B, cycling is a fantastic way to keep fit. However, as with every other physical activity, it does carry a risk of injury. With the Tour de France kicking off in Yorkshire with the Grand Départ this weekend, we have some important advice to help you prevent pains when cycling and reduce the risk of injury.

Preventing Common Injuries and Pains When Cycling

Preventing pains when cyclingPerhaps unsurprisingly, the most common cycling pains centre around the lower body. If the bones, muscles and joints in this region are not correctly aligned, the repetitive, circular motion of pedalling can lead to pains in the hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles and feet.

The best way to prevent pains when cycling is to ensure that all these parts of the body are parallel to the frame of the bicycle. First, check that the saddle is the correct height by sitting in it with your feet in the pedals and extending one leg. When the crank arm is perpendicular to the ground, your leg should be completely straight. Your arms should be at about 90 degrees to your torso and the ball of your foot centred over the pedal.

An unsteady pedal stroke is the cause of many aches and pains when cycling. You want your legs to be going straight up and down in a piston-like movement, without any wobble on the knees. If you struggle with this motion or experience pain when doing so, this might be down to an underlying physical condition, in which case cycling orthotics may be required.

How Cycling Orthotics Can Help

Cycling pains often originate from biomechanical defects such as pronation, where the foot rolls outwards at the ankle. This leaves the cyclist no choice but to rotate their leg inwards in order to compensate, so that they can keep their foot on the pedal. Eventually, this can tear the knee cartilage and ligaments and cause aches and pains in the inner half of the ball of the foot, and even throughout the entire lower body.

Orthotics for cyclingOther common biomechanical defects that can lead to pains when cycling include bowlegs, knock knees, short leg syndrome, Achilles tendonitis and shin splints. Sports injuries such as ACL tears, as well as degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis, can also limit the range of movement in the lower body, forcing cyclists to change the way they pedal and, again, placing a great deal of strain on the muscles and joints.

If you are unable to cycle in a ‘piston-like’ motion with your feet squarely on the pedals, cycling orthotics can help. Designed to compensate for weakness and abnormal rotation, they can improve the alignment of the lower body, increasing efficiency and reducing cycling pains.

A Case for Cycling Orthotics: Greg LeMond, Three-Time Tour de France Winner

Greg LeMond, the first non-European professional cyclist to win the Tour de France back in 1986, suffered an unlikely and horrific accident the following year when turkey hunting, where his brother-in-law accidentally shot him. He made a miraculous recovery and returned to his favourite activity in 1988, but unfortunately overtrained and developed tendonitis that required surgery.

Amazingly, the following year he went on to achieve what was dubbed “the most astonishing victory in Tour de France history,”1 overtaking rival Laurent Fignon in the final stage against all odds and reaching the fastest average speed ever ridden in the Tour. LeMond is believed to have said at the time that he couldn’t have done so without custom cycling orthotics2. He went on to win again the following year, making him one of just seven cyclists to have won the Tour de France three or more times.Cycling orthotics

When it comes to the dramatic benefits that cycling orthotics can bring, LeMond’s case is not unique. Many amateur and pro cyclists rely on them to keep pain to a minimum and enhance their performance. Even if you only cycle 10 minutes to and from work each day, doing so incorrectly can cause unnecessary wear and tear, leading to pain, discomfort and, potentially, degeneration of the joints. Good quality cycling orthotics can increase stability, enabling you to continue with the activities you enjoy for many more years to come.

Technology in Motion provides sports injury treatment and quality orthotic solutions for cycling pains caused by biomechanical defects, degenerative diseases, tears to ligaments and cartilage, and more. From orthopaedic shoes to custom cycling orthotics, they can help you find the right solution to suit your lifestyle. Call them on 0330 100 1800 or go to www.technologyinmotion.com

References

  1. Wilcockson, John (1989). LeMond’s dramatic Tour comeback. In VeloNews Editors. Bicycle Racing in the Modern Era: 25 Years of Velonews. Boulder, CO: VeloPress. p. 81
  2. Custom Orthotics, on The Cycling Blog: http://thecyclingblog.com/2010/10/06/custom-orthotics/

Do Knee Supports Help with Osteoarthritis?

Knee Supports and Osteoarthritis: Separating Myth from Reality

Knee supports and osteoarthritisWhile there may be no known cure for osteoarthritis of the knee, there are several things you can do to  reduce the strain on your joints. Common suggestions include pacing your activities throughout the day, modifying your home and workspace, and walking with a stick or knee support. The question is, do knee supports help with osteoarthritis, or do they simply help to relieve the pain? This post lays bare the facts about knee supports and osteoarthritis, helping you decide whether or not they are the right solution for you.

Do Knee Supports Help with Osteoarthritis?

First, we must differentiate between the two most common types of knee support used for osteoarthritis:

Fabric sleeve knee supports: these are usually made of neoprene, a rubbery elastic material, and are the most basic kind of knee support. They are available from most chemists, and you might have seen people wearing them for sports or following a minor injury or strain. Although not specifically designed to for osteoarthritis of the knee, they can offer some relief for those with mild forms of the condition, providing compression, warmth and support.

Unloader knee braces: these are semi-rigid orthotic braces made from a combination of moulded plastic and foam. They apply a gentle force to separate the affected bone joint surfaces, literally unloading the strain on the side of the knee affected by osteoarthritis. This is clinically proven to relieve pain and increase mobility, even amongst those with moderate and severe forms of osteoarthritis.

So the answer to the question of whether knee supports help with osteoarthritis is yes – assuming you choose the correct type.

Knee Supports and Osteoarthritis: Which Type Should You Choose?

Fabric knee supports may offer some relief for those with osteoarthritis in the early stages, but fail to provide the corrective, long-term support given by unloading orthotic bracing. Fabric sleeves need to be very snug to offer any kind of benefit, and will slip and bunch around the knee, especially behind the knee, if they’re too loose. On the other hand, if they’re too tight they can end up being too restrictive, further limiting mobility and increasing discomfort. If choosing a fabric knee support, you should therefore make sure you choose one of high quality. Your local orthotic company will have some good recommendations.

Do knee supports help with osteoarthritisWhatever stage of arthritis you have, an unloading brace will provide the benefit of a longer term solution. An unloader knee brace reduces the amount of wear and tear on the affected joint, allowing the inflammation to settle, reducing pain and extending the life of the affected knee joint. So, unloader knee braces don’t just offer pain relief but can also help to slow down the degeneration of the knee joint, in turn delaying the need for surgery. You can continue to participate in everyday physical activities with reduced pain and discomfort, without compromising on their intensity or endurance.

If you would like to benefit from the long term advantages offered by the unloader knee brace, we recommend Össur’s Unloader One®. This is lightweight, streamlined and unobtrusive, and has the greatest unloading leverage of any such device to date. Click here to read about one man’s experiences of the Unloader One®

Osteoarthritis of the knee

For further advice regarding knee supports and osteoarthritis, or to book an appointment with an expert Orthotist, contact Technology in Motion on 0330 100 1800. We can help you find the best solution to suit your lifestyle, enabling you to return to your everyday activities with confidence.

Inspirational Unloader 1

One of our Unloader 1 clients sent us this really inspirational email this week. He’s happy for us to share it anonymously and it’s great to know that we’re helping people of all ages to get the maximum out of their lives. This gentleman certainly goes to the max and is an inspiration to us all.

When you fitted me with my second Unloader 1 in October 2011, you said that you would like to review my progress, so here are a few observations on their use since then:

As I commented then, the effect of the first Unloader 1 seemed to be that it had straightened the knee to its proper position, removing the pain in the process. The second one seems to have had the same effect, so that after a few weeks I could walk comfortably without wearing either of them.

A major test was my wedding last November, when I spent most of the day on my feet without the Unloader 1’s and without pain, though I was a bit tired next morning. Put that down to my 73 years! However, on our honeymoon in Cyprus I found that walking on a rocky, uneven path to the Baths of Aphrodite without the Unloader 1’s jarred them and caused the pain to return. Lesson learned – I now wear them whenever I anticipate jarring of the knees. However, this still means that most day to day activities do not require me to use them.

In February, our trip to New Zealand was, as you predicted, amazing. The Unloader 1’s came into their own walking down steep slopes, trekking to the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers, touring the thermal village at Rotorua, and especially descending the steep cliff path to beautiful Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel. (By then I was accustomed to wearing the Unloader 1’s whilst wearing shorts). I did not need them for mountain biking since the knees were not load bearing then. I also wore the braces at the airports to ease the pain of long corridors and even longer spent queuing. Apart from these activities, I spent the vast majority of the month sightseeing without them.

Since the Cyprus experience, I have worn the Unloader 1’s when playing golf and found them a great help and my knees have been pain free. Pity my golfing skills were not so effective! This week, however, I tried my first round of golf without the Unloader 1’s and found it most liberating and still pain free. (The golf, however, was not much improved).

All in all, the Unloader 1 braces have enabled me to keep involved in outdoor activities using them to protect the knee joints from jarring out of position where the risks were apparent. But most days, I do not need to wear them at all and I am optimistic that I may be able to leave them behind on my next round of golf too (in the knowledge that the braces always go with me in the car boot, just in case).

So, many thanks for an excellent pair of Unloader 1 braces which have been most effective and undoubtedly worthwhile. Current plans include motorhome tours of Arran, Kintyre and Islay in June (walking, cycling and golf), the Edinburgh Tattoo and my step-daughter’s wedding in Glasgow in August. September is earmarked for a motorhome tour of Northern Spain, with a week in the Lake District in October. I can now confidently enjoy the great outdoors again, even if Munro bagging is off the agenda.

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.