Orthopedic Supports and Sports Medicine

The following products and product categories represent products used to treat injury; to prevent injury; to stabilize joints; to rehabilitate after surgery or after injury.   All of these are available “off the shelf” without a prescription but many may require some of your time for a proper fit.  As always, if it isn’t comfortable you are not likley to wear the support regularly as required, so take the time to choose the right product for your needs.   Any questions about the selection or proper fitting, our staff are always available to help you out.

Quick Links
Ankle Brace
Abdominal / Post-Operative Binder
Back Support
Cast Boot
Cast Cover
Elastic Wrap
Elbow Brace
Finger Splints
Inguinal Hernia Belts
Knee Brace
Knee Immobilizer
Neck Brace
Posture Correctors
Rib Belt
Slings
Suspensory / Scrotal Support
Thumb Brace
Wrist Brace

Ankle Brace

An ankle brace is a device that is worn to support the ankle. Braces may be prescribed by a physician, recommended by a physical therapist, or worn independently by someone who believes that his or her ankle could benefit from more support.   Ankle braces and supports come in varying degrees of support; some are only a compression garment made of elasticized fabric while others have a combination of straps and stays to provide a greater degree of strength and support.  Many braces are available in a low profile design that can be comfortably worn in any shoe.  Ankle braces are sold individually and are usually bilateral so that they can be worn on either foot.

Ankle braces are worn for various conditions or injuries all relating to the ankle.  A sprained or strained can benefit from bracing to immobilize and stabilize the ankle.  A brace can also be used as a preventative measure to protect from further or future injury due to weakness or instability in the ankle.  An injured ankle can benefit from an ankle support, but it is also beneficial to rest, ice and elevate.

To properly fit a brace, it is recommended that the user comes into the store for a measurement and fitting.  When coming in for a fitting, it is helpful to wear the shoes that will be worn while using the ankle brace, this ensures that a proper fit is obtained.  A measurement around the ankle, sometimes at an angle depending on the brace, is taken to determine the correct size of brace. Once the brace has been put on according to the instructions for that particular brace, it should be comfortably snug.

To wash these supports, hand wash or a gentle machine wash with mild soap and lukewarm water, without bleach.  Once the support is clean; lay flat to air dry. 

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Abdominal/Post-Operative Binder

An abdominal binder is a compression garment that is worn around the abdomen to provide support. It can be used for a variety of reasons but most often when there is diminished muscle strength. The weakened muscles can be due to abdominal surgery, injury or a hernia.  When used post operatively the binder helps decrease discomfort and increase circulation. This may result in a shorter recovery time.

They are made of a light weight, white, elasticized fabric and should be worn directly against the body.  They are usually designed with 3” panels, this design conforms the body comfortably. Abdominal binders come in a range of sizes to accommodate most body types from small to xxlarge.

To determine the appropriate size of binder the user should use, a measurement of the fullest part of the abdomen is taken.  The binders available can accommodate anyone with a measurement from 29” up to 94”.  To apply this garment either stand straight or lay flat, position the binder over the abdominal area, then pull the side with the loop and attach to the other end of the binder with Velcro.  The binder should be comfortably snug once applied and can be adjusted for comfort.

To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach or having it come into contact with any petroleum based ointments.

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Back Support

A back support/brace is worn to support the spine when an injury to the back is present or to support the back during times of excess stress to the muscles of the lower back. Back supports are described by the area of back they are supporting. A lumbo-sacral back support, will support the lumbar and sacral area of the back. A sacro-iliac (SI) support will support the sacrum and iliac area. A thoraco-lumbar support will support the thoracic and lumbar areas of the spine.

There are back supports designed to be used during heavy lifting. These are called work belts or industrial back supports. They usually come with shoulder straps and are worn over clothing. The benefit of this is the belt can be tightened when doing lifting and then can be released when doing desk work. The shoulder straps are a nice way to keep the support with you when not in use.

The principle behind a back brace is to provide support to the latissimus dorsi and the abdominal muscles. The latissimus dorsi is the muscle that comes from the spine into the abdominal area. When the back has been strained the abdominal muscles loose their ability to keep the abdomen taut and supported. This results in a relaxed abdomen and strain on the latissimus dorsi. All in all this makes for a very uncomfortable situation and may also result in spasms in the back that just adds insult to injury.

By supporting the back with a brace, the muscles are now supported and therefore less strained. Wearing a support will decrease discomfort and reduce spasms. Support just feels better. It is always important to also make use of an analgesic that is combined with a muscle relaxant. Also using a topical spray or gel such as muscle mist, biofreeze or blumajic will provide temporary relief.

There are numerous styles of back supports, the majority have some type of elasticized or neoprene fabric that wraps around the mid to lower back.  Back supports always have semi-rigid stays that follow the contour of the spine. Back supports with an extra strap can be more effective since this strap will snug the stays closer to the spine.

Sizing of the garment is done by taking a hip or waist measurement and fitting to the larger of the two measurements. Some supports are a one size fits all, so they are sized to fit a larger range of people. It is important when choosing a back support to be fit properly. If the support is too narrow, it may not provide you with much needed support. If the support is too wide, it may restrict movement too much and be uncomfortable to wear.

Caring for the garment, it is important to hand wash using mild soap, or machine washing on a gentle cycle and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach, or ironing.  Never put in the dryer as this will destroy the fabric.

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Cast Boot

A cast boot is a shoe which has been designed to fit over a cast.  Cast boots or shoes protect casts and help the wearer to walk as normally and comfortably as possible while wearing the cast.

The cast boot is a low boot, which may have an open or closed toe. It is made of a vinyl or canvas fabric and has a series of velcro straps that allow you to fully open the boot to accommodate the cast.  By adjusting the straps, the boot will fit snugly around the cast. The sole of the cast boot is designed as a rocker bottom, this makes walking easier.

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Cast Cover

A cast cover is plastic sleeve that is worn over a cast or dressing to keep it dry during baths and showers.  There are different styles available with different types of seals varying in effectiveness.  Some come with two straps to keep it closed, while others have a seal made of plastic and rubber.  They are most often reusable and an excellent alternative to trying to use household items.  Cast covers are ideal for anyone who will have to wear a cast for a prolonged period, they help to improve hygiene and protect the cast.  Alternatively to covering a cast, it can also be used to protect a wound dressing to allow for undisturbed healing.

There are also different shapes and lengths available depending if it is for an arm or leg and the size of the user.  To determine which cast cover will be most effective, you need to measure from the tip of the longest finger or toe and measure at least 1” above the cast.

To apply a cast cover with the rubber seal, it is important to put it all the way over the cast and then slide it back the ensure that the seal is pointing out, this ensures you have a proper seal.  After use simply towel drying or laying flat to dry will prolong the life of the product.

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Elastic Wrap

An elastic wrap or sometimes called tensor wrap, is a stretchable bandage used to create localized pressure.  Elastic bandages are commonly used to treat muscle strains or sprains.  They help to reduce swelling at the point of injury by creating stable and even pressure.

Elastic bandages are a good first aid kit staple since they can be used as temporary treatment of fractures when used in combination with padding and a splint.  They are used to hold the splint firmly in place, thus preventing further injury and helping the healing process.  These splints are often used prior to a fiber glass cast when the injury in most prone to swelling.

Elastic wrap is available in a variety of widths. The table below will help to take the guess work out of choosing the correct width. They are available in the self adhering style or with clips, or adhesive tape can also be used to secure the end. There are latex free options, if allergies are a concern.

BODY AREA SIZE
Wrist or Foot 2”
Elbow 3”
Ankle 3” or 4”
Knee 4”
Lower Leg 4”
Shoulder 6”
Torso 6”

To properly apply the bandage you start by wrapping the area in a complete circle to ensure the bandage is secure in its place. Continue wrapping, generally overlapping the last wrap by about half and close to any joints a figure eight motion is used.  Once you have used the entire bandage to wrap the affected area, secure the end.

Elastic wrap is reusable and with proper care will last for years. The style that self-adheres has a shorter lifespan but could be secured with clips or tape.  Proper care of the elastic wrap is hand washing in lukewarm, soapy water. Do not scrub the fabric or twist to remove excess water, lay or hang to dry. Once it is dry it is best to roll the bandage, smooth out wrinkles. The wrap is ready to be used.

Elbow Brace

Elbow braces or supports are worn when the elbow has been injured due to trauma or repetitive injury such as tennis elbow. They are available in a strap style that supports the tendon and a sleeve style that supports the entire elbow. We recommend the tendon strap style since the source of the pain is due to the tendonitis that results in referred pain in to the elbow.  Tennis elbow or epicondylitis occurs whenever performing a task or activity where there is repetitive elbow flexing and extending.  It can result from knitting or crocheting, playing darts, hoeing in the garden, kneading dough, lifting weights to name a few.

It is best when shopping for a brace to try them on. If they come with a pressure pad, place this in the groove of the muscle just below the elbow. The principle behind the pressure pad is by apply pressure to a pressure area, will result in the counteracting of the pressure. If the pad creates more discomfort then choose a support without the pad. Always remember to use an analgesic as well, during the acute phase of an injury. Ibuprofens are particularly effective since they have an anti-inflammatory effect. Use topical sprays and gels to provide you with some relief from the discomfort.

To apply the brace properly, simply loosen the velcro strap and slip the brace over your hand to the top of your forearm.  Adjust the brace so the forearm pressure pad is on the top of your arm. The brace should be approximately 2 inches below the elbow.  Fasten the straps securely around your forearm to where it feels comfortably snug, but is not cutting off your circulation causing numbness in the hand or fingers.  The sleeve style brace is simply slipped over the hand and positioned over the elbow, if it has an opening, it should be positioned over the elbow.

To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach or having it come into contact with any petroleum based ointments.\

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Finger Splints

Finger Splints are used to stabilize a finger following an injury.  It is usually a fracture, or sometimes a strain or tear to the ligaments or tendons may occur.  In any type of injury stabilizing the finger with a splint helps to reduce the pain and swelling that commonly occurs.  A finger splint can help to avoid further injury or unnecessary pain.

There are several styles and sizes of splints available. Choose the splint that immobilized the finger the best possible way. Finger splints are constructed of a flexible aluminum covered with foam padding.  They are moldable to adjust to the finger and breathable to allow for air circulation which will aid in the healing process.

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Inguinal Hernia Belts

An inguinal hernia is a protrusion of the small intestine or fatty tissue through the wall of the inguinal canal in the groin. Most inguinal hernias are the result of excessive straining, either due to constipation, vigorous physical activity and they may even be caused by extreme coughing and/or sneezing.  Symptoms of a hernia are usually a visibly protruding bulge in the groin region, tenderness and/or a sharp pain, which is usually worsened by bending or lifting.  An inguinal hernia is most likely a problem for men, women may experience them but it is usually due to a congenital defect.

An inguinal hernia belt is approximately 3” wide with two kidney shaped pads situated at the front of the support. These pads compress the protruding hernia in the groin and push it back into the inguinal canal. It is worn preoperatively to provide relief until it can be surgically repaired. There are instances when the hernia is operable either because it has been repaired before or due to the debilitated state of the individual making surgery too risky.

To determine the appropriate size of brace, a measurement of the hips is taken.  This is not a standard hip measurement, but one that goes down to a lower point at the groin region.  The belts come in size small, medium, large or extra large.

Prior to washing this support it is important to remove the pads from the belt, hook and loop all straps.  To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap, or machine washing on a gentle cycle and cold water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently blot out excess water, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach, fabric softeners, ironing and/or dry cleaning.

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Knee Brace

It can be a bit overwhelming when shopping for a knee brace. Do you choose elastic or neoprene, hinged or no hinges? Whenever you injure the knee and it is causing discomfort it is best to support the injury. Supporting any joint when injured will decrease pain and improve the healing process. Always remember to rest, ice and elevate the injured knee during the acute phase. Regularly medicate with an ibuprofen to decrease pain and inflammation.

The simplest knee brace available is an elastic or neoprene sleeve. This brace may or may not have side stays, as they are available with or without. The side stays have two functions, one is to provide extra stability to the knee by mimicking the collateral ligaments and the other is to assist in keeping the brace straight.  This brace can have a closed or open patella. The closed patella is a good choice if arthritis is involved or if there a large amount of edema. The open patella makes bending the knee easier. This brace is recommended if the knee is painful but you do not remember injuring it. If you have been tensor wrapping the knee with relief a simple sleeve is a good choice as it is easier and quicker than wrapping.

The next level of knee support is a neoprene sleeve with firmer plastic stays and a buttress around the patella. The buttress is commonly felt and is horseshoe shaped but can be gel and donut shaped. The purpose of the buttress is to stabilize the patella and can indirectly provide extra lateral and medial support if there is cartilage(meniscus) problems. The stays will provide lateral and medial stability often mimicking the collateral ligaments that are situated on either side of the knee. There are also knee braces that are designed specifically for patella tracking problems and they are called “J” braces. They are specifically right or left.

The most support we can provide in a knee brace is a hinged knee brace. Hinge knee braces are recommended if participating in a contact sport such as football or if there is cruciate ligament involvement. The hinge will help to absorb any hits against the knee and it will prevent the knee from hyperextending. Hyperextension is a concern when the cruciate ligaments have been damaged. They are made in both a wrap around option and a sleeve option.

The other type of knee support that is available is a brace which is for the treatment of Osgood-Schlatter.  This is a syndrome that is a very common typically in young athletes ages 10 to 15, it causes of knee pain.  The knee pain is a result of a pulling force from the patella tendon, on to the tibial tuberosity (bony protrusion at the top of the shin). The knee becomes inflamed and swollen. This happens to younger people due to the remaining softness in their bones, the period of rapid growth and high level of physical activity.  The support recommended for treatment of this syndrome is either a sleeve which has an inferior pad or buttress or therapeutic knee guard, which is a strap that is worn at the top of the calf directly under the knee cap.

To determine the correct size of knee brace a measurement around the knee is taken.  To apply the brace simply pull it over your foot and up the leg until it is over the knee area or wrap around the knee, if this support has an open patella this opening should be directly over the knee cap.  If the support has plastic stays or a hinge they should be on either side of the knee and the hinge should bend in the same direction of as the leg.  Once in place, this support should be comfortably snug; there should not be a lot of redness or speckling on the patella and there should not be numbness below the support.

Prior to washing your brace, hook and loop any loose straps and if it is a hinged knee brace and the hinge is removable it is important to do so.  To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap, or machine washing on a gentle cycle and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently blot out excess water, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach and/or fabric softeners, ironing and/or dry cleaning.

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Knee Immobilizer

A knee immobilizer is recommended by your physician and is used to prevent the knee from bending.  They are indicated to treat ligament injuries, strains, sprains and inflammation of the tissue surrounding the knee.  Generally knee immobilizers are universal in sizing as they consist of light weight foam that wraps around the leg, with elasticized straps that wrap the leg in multiple locations.  Often they are made of only one piece of material creating a better fit for the individual.  They are also customizable because they have malleable stays that conform to the wearer’s body and properly support the knee. The difference in the immobilizer is the length, available in 16, 18, 20, 24”. When choosing the length consider the length of the leg so it is not too short or too long, 18” is a good all round length.

A knee immobilizer is very easy to put on if you follow these simple steps.  Sit on a flat surface where you are able to stretch out your leg flat (ex. bed).  Place the immobilizer under your leg with the opening up.  Start at the bottom and, working upward, fasten the closure straps. Ensure that the straps are comfortably snug, but not so tight that you experience numbness.  It is important to practice getting around once you have the immobilizer on, if it feels necessary you can then adjust the straps to get a more comfortable fit.

Similar to all other types of supports, to prolong the life of your immobilizer, proper maintenance is important.  Hand wash in lukewarm water with mild soap and lay flat to dry.

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Neck Brace

A neck brace or cervical collar is a support that is generally made of foam; it is worn around the neck to provide additional stability to the spinal cord in the neck area.  They are often worn by anyone suffering from muscle tension or minor cervical injuries.  Cervical collars are contoured to comfortably fit around the neck and chin.

The cervical collars can be a universal fit and a standard 3” width, however, wider and narrower versions are also available.  A different size or width is sometimes chosen to provide additional comfort to the wearer. They are made of foam and are covered with lightweight stockinet to allow for breathability.

To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.

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Posture Correctors

Posture correctors are a support worn on the upper back to serve as a gentle reminder to keep the correct posture and prevent the wearer’s shoulders from slumping forward.  Often they are constructed of a mix of fabric straps and plastic or metal stays; they generally have a very low profile design that can easily be worn under clothing.

Anyone who has a job or hobby where they sit with a bent neck or back can benefit from wearing a posture corrector.  Posture correctors can help prevent or correct neck pain by helping to maintain proper vertebrae alignment.  Posture correctors may also be worn by someone who has experienced a shoulder or clavicle injury and is going through the rehabilitation process; these supports may be known as a clavicle splint.

To achieve the proper fit for the brace, it is important to try on prior to purchasing.  Most designs have some type of shoulder straps and a strap that goes around the middle of the torso.  It is important to choose the size that is a closest fit and then adjust the straps to a comfortably snug fit.  While you do not want to be uncomfortable, it is important that the brace is tight enough so that you can achieve best results.

Similar to other bracing or supports, it is important to properly maintain the posture corrector to prolong the life of the support.  Hand washing in a gentle soap with lukewarm water and lying flat to dry is recommended.  Ironing, bleaching or drying in direct sunlight are not recommended; as they can deteriorate the integrity of the support.

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Rib Belt

A rib belt is a compression garment worn around the torso to help control the pain and prevent further damage by supporting the ribs.  They are typically made of an elasticized fabric that is approximately 6” wide.  Rib belts are worn by anyone who has suffered a trauma to their ribs, typically a fracture, bruise or slight separation.  When used in combination with rest, ice and possibly an anti-inflammatory, rib belts are a very effective treatment to most rib injuries.

To determine the appropriate size of a rib belt, a measurement around the base of the sternum is taken.  To apply this garment either stand straight or lie flat, position the binder over the abdominal area, then pull the side with the loop and attach to the other end of the binder with Velcro.  The binder should be comfortably snug once applied and can be adjusted for comfort.

To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach or having it come into contact with any petroleum based ointments.

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Slings

A sling is a support that is made out a cotton fabric and is designed to support an injured arm or shoulder.  Slings promote healing by providing a balanced support by evenly distributing the weight.  The majority of slings have a fabric support that is worn over the forearm, supporting from the elbow to the wrist, this portion is then attached at either end to an adjustable strap that goes behind the neck.  Many of the straps have a foam portion that goes behind goes behind the neck for comfort.

A variation of a sling is a shoulder immobilizer, identified by having an addition strap to goes around the torso to reduce or eliminate the movement of the arm away from the body.

Often it is recommended by a medical professional that a sling be worn either pre/post operation or in lieu of casting of a broken arm.  If it was recommended, that medical professional should be consulted prior to the discontinuation of the use.

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Suspensory/Scrotal Support

A suspensory/ scrotal support is a garment worn to provide light support to the scrotum.  Typically they consist of an elasticized waist band with a soft fabric pouch and straps that go around the legs to hold it in place, because of the low profile design; they do not show under clothing.

Scrotal Supports are often referred to as athletic supports, as they are most commonly worn by men during a range of athletic or other strenuous activities.  Scrotal supports are also worn post-operatively, to decrease the healing time.

To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap, or machine washing on a gentle cycle and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach or having it come into contact with any petroleum based ointments.

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Thumb Brace

Thumb braces are used to immobilize the thumb and/or wrist while allowing the use of the rest of the hand. If you are suffering from a thumb injury such as ligament instability, sprain, muscle strain and/or gamekeeper’s thumb immobilizing or supporting the area would bring you relief from the discomfort. Thumb braces may be recommended to be worn after the removal of a cast or post-operatively.

Thumb braces can immobilize the thumb or can provide support to the soft tissue. Most thumb braces do anchor to the wrist to stabilize the thumb brace.

It is recommended that you are measured and fit with the thumb brace. This will ensure an appropriate product is provided to meet your needs.

To wash this support, it is important to hand wash or machine wash on a gentle cycle using mild soap and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight or washing with bleach.

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Wrist Brace

A wrist brace is an orthopedic support that is used to stabilize the wrist due to injury. Wrist braces are available neoprene or elastic fabric. Styles of wrist braces range from a soft, simple brace that provides soft tissue support to a rigid, lace up style that limits flexion and extension of the wrist joint.

The most common wrist injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, a chronic condition caused by the pinching of a nerve in the wrist. Carpal tunnel is a repetitive activity injury and can result in pain, numbness in the fingers and wrist. It can also result in pain only at night while sleeping. In either case, a rigid wrist brace is recommended.  It is important to immobilize the wrist so the discomfort and numbness can be minimized.

When you decide to get a brace it is important to measure around the wrist to determine the size of brace.  While some braces are bilateral, many are left/right specific.  Similar to all other bracing, being fit properly prior to purchasing a brace is recommended and once applied properly the fit should be comfortably snug.

To wash this support, it is important to hand wash using mild soap, or machine washing on a gentle cycle and lukewarm water.  Once clean; rinse thoroughly with cool water, gently squeeze water out, and lay flat to dry.  Avoid drying in direct sunlight, washing with bleach.

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