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How Proprioceptive Support Helps your Joints Get Back into the “Spring” of Things

By Brian Acton

Now that spring is fully upon us, we’re all ready to stop hiding indoors and resume outdoor activity, exploring and enjoying the warmer weather. Sports, yard work, casual walks around the neighborhood – whatever your warm weather activity is, you’ve likely had to reduce it over the colder months, and now you’re ready to get back into it. But after a long winter, your joints and muscles may be a little rusty and you need some help getting active without injuring or straining your body. With proprioceptive products – such as ankle, knee and elbow, or wrist supports and wraps – you can more easily resume activity without causing your body undue stress and pain. What is Proprioception? Proprioception is the sense that allows us to move our limbs without consciously thinking about it. Without looking at our limbs, we know where they physically exist in space. Essentially, proprioception is your awareness of your limbs and joints. This sense is also tied to your body’s coordination, and is essential to physical activity. Consider the seemingly simple act of walking. You swing your arms for balance, move your legs to propel yourself forward, and even adjust your gait on the fly to avoid obstacles or change your speed. Now imagine if you had to think about each one of these movements every time it happened, and check on the position of your limbs each time you moved them. It would be much more complicated! The proprioceptive system is made up of nerves that exist in your muscles, joints and ligaments that send signals to your brain. These sensors also detect tension and your brain can react by contracting or relaxing your muscles accordingly, thereby avoiding strain or injury How Proprioception can be Damaged Several conditions that affect joints and muscles – including musculoskeletal diseases, arthritis, or injuries such as a sprained ankle – can affect our ability to efficiently manipulate our joints, move our limbs, and avoid injuring ourselves. For those with recent injuries, ongoing conditions, or who simply have gotten rusty over winter, getting back into an active lifestyle can be difficult. Damaged or out-of-practice joints that are resistant to the movements we want to start doing can hinder a sudden shift into frequent activity. How Supports Can Help Proprioceptive support allows weak or injured joints to move freely with effective joint control. Wraps and supports come for a variety of body areas – including the knee, elbows and wrists, and ankles. These products are designed to bolster the strength of the movement area, while improving your ability to sense the position and movement of your joints. For instance, the Wraparound Neoprene Knee Support is used for runner’s knee, post-surgery recovery, and other afflictions of the knee. The support allows those with injured or weak knees to effectively move even with weakened knee mobility or strength. Another example – the Nelmed Ankle Wrap – is a lightweight wrap that provides ankle support and can be worn for everyday use and activity that could contribute to the sprain. The wrap protects and prevents ankle injury, and can actually improve proprioceptive sensation – meaning you can have just as much control and sensation over your movements as ever, but with support that prevents injury after resuming outdoor activity. Conclusion If you’re worried about getting back into frequent physical activity – whether due to limited winter movements or specific conditions and injuries – supports and wraps can help your limbs at the point of movement. Whether it’s your wrists, ankles, knees, or elbows, Core Products literally has you covered and can provide your joints and muscles support while encouraging a full proprioceptive range of motion. Check out our full list of extremity supports to see what products will help you get out and about this spring!   Sources: http://brainblogger.com/2009/06/09/what-is-proprioception/
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