Fitness Supports – Braces and Compression Sleeves and Orthotic Aids, Oh My! : If you have ever experienced a fitness injury, you have likely found yourself swimming in a sea of fitness supports. From braces to wraps, compression sleeves, orthotics, and more, it can be tough figuring out what does what and which one can actually help you. Don’t miss this quick guide to fitness supports with tips on how to find the right one for you:
Types of Fitness Supports
Women especially can find major relief with orthotic aids, especially if they are trying to prevent pain brought on by foot conditions like bunions, arch pain, or plantar fasciitis. The truth is, there are seemingly thousands of over-the-counter and custom products made for the feet and their quality and effectiveness can vary greatly. If you are interested in testing out an orthotic aid in your shoe to address foot pain, talk to your doctor or podiatrist about what type, size, and material would best suit your needs.
Compression sleeves and gloves
You may have heard of compression sleeves being used for unsightly varicose veins, but did you know that a range of other people, from athletes to arthritis sufferers, also use them to facilitate good blood circulation and limit swelling? Tight compression sleeves and gloves can be slipped over the legs, knees, even the hands and elbows; they gently squeeze your soft tissues in a specially-designed way that encourages the body to utilize deeper veins to transport more nutrient-rich blood.
Like compression sleeves, flexible wraps (think of an ACE bandage wrap you would weave around a sprained wrist), help to provide compression and stabilization to a joint or soft tissue injury. They are fairly simple to put on but can become loosened or unravel if not properly secured. Many athletes will wrap their knees, ankles, or shoulders following a game to aid tissue repair.
Braces and Splints
Need to stabilize a sore or previously injured joint? Braces play an important role in both injury recovery as well as injury prevention. After a fitness injury like a sprained ankle, for example, a brace can both keep the ankle correctly aligned as well as prevent excessive motion that might exacerbate the injury. They can also be worn to address nerve impingement like you see with carpal tunnel syndrome. Braces are commonly used after major procedures too, like surgery to repair a torn ACL. They keep everything in place so the body can go about repairing it without any long-term damage.
Are bad posture habits causing you pain? It’s tough to remember to “sit up straight” when you are sitting at a desk 8 hours a day and are in the habit of slumping and slouching. Posture correctors are a form of back brace that serve to correct bad posture habits and act as a physical reminder you wear to sit, stand, and work out with healthier form.
Do you lift heavy items regularly for your job? Have you experienced a hernia before? Specialty belts exists that can be worn on the back and/or around the thigh and groin area which help reinforce strong spinal alignment when lifting as well as address abdominal wall weaknesses to prevent complications with existing hernias.
Choosing the Right Fitness Support
When it comes to finding the right support for your fitness or injury prevention needs, keep these important factors in mind:
- Size – do you need to be mindful of how an orthotic aid fill fit in your shoe with your foot and sock? The last thing you want to do is cram too many things in too small of a space and injure yourself further. Depending on the fitness support you are wearing, you may need to complement it with slightly roomier shoes, gloves, clothing, etc.
- Material – memory foam, hard plastic, gel, cotton, polyester . . . the list of materials used to make fitness and injury supports is endless. Not only do you want to choose a support that is comfortable, but you want one that properly supports your joint or muscles, that offers a breathable antimicrobial covering to prevent bacteria growth, and that won’t irritate your skin.
- Cost – there are lots of custom-made aids that may successfully address your fitness or injury-recovery needs, however, they typically have to be prescribed by your physician and may or may not be covered by insurance. The cost can be significantly higher than prefabricated over-the-counter products you find at the drugstore or online.
Your best bet for properly choosing and wearing a fitness support is to talk to your general doctor, specialist, trainer, or sports medicine professional about your fitness pain points and what products would most effectively help you.
Related Videos about Braces and Compression Sleeves:
Compression Knee Sleeves – Vive Health
Fitness Supports – Braces and Compression Sleeves and Orthotic Aids, Oh My!
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