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    What to use for Sports Injury- Hot or Cold Wraps?

    The most common sports injuries are stains and sprains.  Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the tough bands connecting bones in a joint.  Strains are injuries to muscle fibers or tendons, which anchor muscles to bones. Strains are called “pulled muscles” for a reason: Over-stretching or overusing a muscle causes tears in the muscle fibers or tendons.  Pain killers or any external ointments can mask the pain for a little time but do not promote healing in the affected area.

    If you are an athlete you understand that the risk for potential injury is good. An injury can sideline a great player. No matter what sport you play or how you managed to hurt yourself, the treatment and the time it takes to heal from an injury are often similar. If you are currently suffering from an injury it is worth looking at how pros deal with their injuries.

    For any soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, and bruises- for example, sprained ankles, sprained knees or muscle strains, cold sports therapy gel packs can be used immediately after sustaining an injury. Follow these simple steps which are commonly used by athletes who get hurt over-exercising, or anyone who sprains or “rolls” an ankle that is one of the most common non-sports injuries.

    ●     The first step is to protect the injury from any further strain. If you have injured or sprained your ankle, stop the activity right away and don’t put any pressure on the injured limb. Try to rest the injury for 24 hours to 48 hours or until the pain is subsided to some level.

    ●     To further minimize the swelling and pain in your ankle, you can simply use a sports wrap or cold therapy gel pack on your ankle or the injured area. We recommend not apply cold directly to the skin, either opt for therapy wraps for sports injuries or if using therapy gel packs, wrap it in a towel or cloth or apply over clothing. Use ice for injuries for 20 minutes three times per day, or alternate between ice and no ice for a few minutes. You can do this until the swelling goes down.

    ●     By this point, you will feel better, but if the swelling remains, you can compress the injury by wrapping it firmly but remember not too tightly. You can use an elastic bandage because it has the ability to expand. Wrapping too snugly may cut off the blood flow and actually increase swelling.

    Professional athletes routinely use cold therapy because they know it accelerates muscle recovery after a workout. Cold therapy reduces post-activity pain and swelling by slowing blood flow to micro-injured muscle tissue. It reduces pain associated with chronic injuries like tendonitis, bursitis, etc.

    Heat therapy works in the opposite manner- it is a vasodilator, which means it increases circulation by expanding the vessels. This can, in turn, reduce pain and relieves cramping or aching muscles due to fatigue caused by over-exercising. Unlike ice, heat can make inflammation worse. Heat therapy is the best treatment for chronic injuries.

    Now you might be thinking what are chronic injuries? And how do they differ from acute injuries?

    Chronic injuries differ from acute injuries. They usually develop slowly because a body part is being overused or because an acute injury has not healed properly yet. Pain from a chronic injury may not be constantly bothersome, but it can come and go in the form of a dull ache or soreness of that body part.

    Heat increases circulation and raises skin temperature. For these reasons, it should not be applied to acute injuries or any kind of injuries that show signs of inflammation. So, heat is great for sore muscles and joint pain, which are typical of chronic injuries.

    Although heat therapy is ideal for chronic sports injuries, when should it be applied?

    The heat helps to relax and loosen tired muscles. Athletes with chronic injuries should apply heat before exercise to improve mobility, increase flexibility, increase the elasticity and stimulate the blood flow to the area.

    For sports injuries, there are a variety of therapy wraps available at Caldera International to choose from. These provide form-fitting, cold flexible relief, the same pack can be heated to provide hot therapeutic relief for arthritis, muscle spasms, and more. Try our XT-360 Back & Ribs sports wrap to relieve lower back pain with the therapeutic heat relief. Remember, heat can be used prior to exercise but should not be used immediately after physical activity.

    If you are looking for more useful tips on how to recover from a sports injury right away, feel free to contact us today with any questions or concerns you might have. You can also read our other blog posts for more free resources.

    Selecting an Aid for Your Sports Injury

    Selecting an Aid for Your Sports Injury

    Whether you are a highly-trained athlete or a weekend warrior, there’s always a chance you could get injured. Unfortunately, when injuries happen, it can be hard to know what you’ve tweaked or how to treat it.  Depending upon the severity of the incident, you have to ensure that you can give immediate attention and proper remedial measures. If left unattended for long, these injuries can cause severe and permanent damage. You should get appropriate advice from a professional in this event. Depending upon the area where the athlete’s hurt, the sports injury wrap should be chosen.

    Sprained Ankles

    Sports Ankle Injury Wraps

    A sprained ankle is a common issue in almost all age groups. A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together.  

    If the doctor or physiotherapist suggests that the damage is categorized as a grade 1, then they can be treated with a simple sports wrap for the ankle. The compression bandage binds the ligament in the place and keeps you from applying unnecessary pressure on the foot. Some wraps can even incorporate hot & cold therapy, which can speed up your recovery process.

    For severe injuries like those categorized as a grade 2 or 3, you may need the next level of attention. First, get it checked with a qualified doctor and then do as they say. Some may even require you to go on complete bed rest for a long span.

    Knee Sprains

    Sports Knee Injury Wraps

    A knee sprain usually occurs due to unnatural movements during physical activity. Sudden turns or pivoting can cause injury to your ligaments. Knee sprains are common in sports with lots of running, jumping, and turning, such as in football, basketball, and skiing.   Everyday activity over time can also cause knee sprains.  Depending upon the sports activity that you indulge in, you can sprain your ACL or MCL area in the knee. The compression bandage that is specially designed to comfort the knee area is quite helpful in the process of recovery.

    However, instead of going at it on your own, it is highly recommended that you take the advice of a physiotherapist and understand the proper way of applying the sports wrap to the affected area. Most of the companies that have a fair idea of the making and manufacturing the sports injury wrap specialize in the making of knee wraps for emergency use.

    Hamstring Injury

    Sports Hamstring Injury Wrap

    Hamstring muscle injuries — such as a "pulled hamstring" — occur frequently in athletes and active individuals. They are especially common in athletes who participate in sports that require sprinting, such as track, soccer, and basketball. A pulled hamstring or strain is an injury to one or more of the muscles at the back of the thigh.  A muscle strains your hamstring area can hamper the game and restrict you from even an activity as simple as walking. 

    If your injury is minor, wrapping it can get you back in the game, but if it is more severe, then the better option is icing it, wrapping it, and rooting on your teammates from the sideline. Sports wrap utilizing both cold and heat compression properly can speed in recovery as well as help you avoid more sever injury.  

    Arm Injury

    Sports Arm Injury Wraps

    Minor arm injuries are common. Symptoms often develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or an injury. Arm injuries are often caused by:

    • Sports or hobbies.
    • Work-related tasks.
    • Work or projects around the home.

    The wrist and elbow area of your arm are quite susceptible to injuries during the game. You may end up hurting your shoulder as well. This kind of damage can cause issues for a longer span than usual if they are not taken care of at an early stage.  Tennis elbow and golfer's elbow are two common problems, and overuse and repetitive motion can cause both. 

    Most minor injuries will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve symptoms and promote healing.  This a great example of when hot cold wrap are most effective.  Look for options that are specially designed for the area that has been affected. You should also go for bandages or wraps that are made up of waterproof material and help in keeping the cold or hot compress inside the wrap. It helps in faster healing of the affected area.

    Neoprene is one of the best materials that is used for this purpose. The shoulder wraps come with neck sling that can be used for providing support to the arm with the help of the correct posture of your neck.

    While buying these sports wrap, you must keep a few details in your mind

    • Ensure that the company is well known and has proven results that have helped other players in faster recovery. You can also ask your fellow teammates or your physiotherapist for a recommendation on the wraps.

    • Go for material and design that is in synchronization with the type of sport that you regularly indulge in. For example, a hamstring wrap will only come to your rescue if you have a lot of footwork to do while performing in your team. Wrist wraps are handy for tennis, badminton, and table tennis players. There are wraps for almost any pain point area.

    • Keeping the hygiene issue in mind, it is best if you invest in your own sports wrap instead of using the one that all the players use in case of an emergency. Even if you have to go for a wrap during the crisis, take out time to buy your own once the game is over.

    Treat Your Dog with a Comfortable Heating Pet Bed this Winter

    Heating Pet Bed for winter season

    One of the most basic and essential needs for our pups during the cold winter months is a warm, comfortable, dog bed. Although the aesthetics of dog beds have improved greatly over the years, looks alone aren’t enough when it comes to purchasing a winter bed for your dog.  We're talking about a simple but highly practical bed that will solve the annual issue of our beloved dogs getting cold in the winter: A heating pad for your dog bed or a heated pet bed. 

    As a dog owner, it is our moral responsibility to take care of our dogs and make sure they feel warm and cozy during the cold winters. For starters, we can swap their regular beds with a heated pet bed for dogs, which has a built-in mechanism that creates warmth for your dog to feel comfortable. Or we can opt for a heating pad for the dog bed, which we can slide beneath the bed to make it warm.

    Now how exactly this dog bed heating pad works, you may ask?

    You may have heard of hot cold gel packs, which are effectively used as a substitute for ice packs and heat to treat swellings and muscle sprains. The quality packs can be found online, are easy to use and retain their heat over time.  You simply put the gel pack in the microwave to heat up (as directed), and use it when it gets cold. Once it loses its warmth, you can microwave it again, and reuse it.

    pet therapy gel pack

    Heated pet beds use the same concept: there’s a set of pet therapy gel packs, which can be heated in a microwave to achieve the desired temperature. Once heated, you can slide the gel pack beneath the bed to make it warm. Because the gel pack is reusable and has the ability to be used as ice packs, you can use the same even in hot summers to make your dog’s bed cold enough to beat the heat.

    The removable gel pack makes it easy to wash the dog bed, and you can even keep spare gel packs so that if a gel pack loses its warmth, you can use another one while the former is sent back to the microwave to reheat it.

    Benefits of heating pads for pet beds

    But the benefits of heating pads for dog beds are not limited to just making your beloved pooch all warm and cozy during the winters. They can also serve as therapeutic beds for old dogs and dogs recovering from injuries or surgeries. Dogs have a much shorter life span when compared to humans, and once they age, they need special care. Their weakened bones will make it difficult to be as active as they were when in their prime.  Keep them happy and active with a quality, warm and comfortable bed. A dog bed with a heating pad can make a lot of difference to them. Heating pads have proven therapeutic benefits for the old and ageing, and the same goes for aging and older dogs.

    Caldera Pet Bed & Insert video from Caldera International, Inc. on Vimeo.

    You can either get a simple heated dog bed with heating pad, or just get a heating pad to be used in your existing dog bed. Because old dogs may need specialized beds such as memory foam beds or orthopedic beds, these beds often come equipped with a chamber to slide in a heating pad to make the bed warm.

    No matter what the situation is, heated dog bed will always come in handy for your dog’s comfort needs, and the same bed are reusability as comfortable beds during hot summers means without the heat essentially providing two different benefits in just one product, and three if we count the therapeutic benefits for aging dogs. If you haven’t got a dog bed yet, get one for your dog today!

    Are Heated Pet Beds Safe For Your Dog?

    With many products available online for your dogs, you might be looking for something to keep them warm and comfortable. It is extremely important that you choose the appropriate option that is safe and meets the specific needs of your dog. The good new is there are plenty of options for your dogs’ bed. As the weather gets cooler, your dog can benefit greatly from a heated dog bed. These can make the coldest months for your pet so much more comfortable, and it is also a great option if your dog is getting older or has health conditions that may affect his comfort levels.


    heated pet beds


    With a wide range of options, owners often have some questions when it comes to purchasing a heated bed for their dog. Is it safe or if it’s even worth investing in? The truth is heated dog beds can benefit dogs by keeping your pup cozy as some are susceptible to the cold and may appreciate a warm bed for the winter. Additionally, smaller dogs might require some extra warmth as they lose body heat more quickly and the older dogs appreciate extra warmth for both comfort as well as the fact that it soothes their joints.


    What is the safest option in a heated bed for my Dog?


    Heated dog beds come in many categories, which allows you to pick one that is suitable for your pet. Caldera’s Pet Beds come with therapy gel packs that can be used separately or added to the existing bed to increase warmth and comfort. These don’t contain any electrical heating element and don’t need to be plugged into an outlet.  You don’t have to worry about chew-resistant chords and these come with nylon outer fabric that is easy to maintain. It is important that when you are buying a heated bed make sure it is chew and scratch-resistant so that your dog is safe from any injuries.


    Pet beds with therapy gel packs are safe as these don’t have to be plugged and prove to be very effective if used correctly. These contain packs that are filled with gels that are intended to hold the heat as long as possible.  It is recommended that you always test the heat.  A good safe way to check is if you are able to maintain direct skin contact with it before you place the heated bed for your dog. As always, make sure to follow any safety directions on the product to avoid any possible injuries.


    Ideally, you can provide a layer of safety between your pet and the heating pad. But if you choose Caldera’s pet bed you don’t need to worry about adding that extra layer as the material used in making is durable and provides the desired temperature relief your pet requires.


    What to keep in mind while investing in a heated dog bed?


    ●     Therapeutic benefits


    The heating bed will help your pet maintain its optimal body temperature, which is especially important in older dogs. They may suffer from arthritis or just general aches, circulation issues, and pains or other conditions that affect their joints as we encounter as we grow older. The beds can help them soothe the aches and pains while providing comfort and making it an ideal place to rest. 


    ●     Keeping them warm during winters


    Not every dog is blessed with a thick fur coat to keep them warm during the winter. Even the fur is not enough when the temperatures sink below zero. These days, your dogs will benefit from heated beds. Even if you provide them with jackets, these won’t keep them warm enough for extended durations. Make sure that you prepare their bed equipped with a heating pad so that they will be able to stay warm through even the coldest winter nights.


    ●     Easy to maintain and durable material


    Dogs tend to scratch the material, eat treats and rub their ears or vomit and some may end up urinating on them. It is important that the pet bed material is completely washable and is durable to sustain many washes over time.


    Care and Safety Tips for your Dogs


    1. Cold weather is usually hard on old dogs, along with using the heat beds you should be mindful of keeping a healthy exercise regime during winters for at least 20 minutes a day without overdoing it.
    2. If your pet shows signs of discomfort associated with joints, you should take them to their vet or make sure that your pet is getting enough care to keep them warm and at comfort as the drop in temperature can aggravate such issues like joint stiffness and arthritis.
    3. When using pet beds for the first time, supervise your pet for several uses to monitor if they are comfortable and adapting to their new bed. Check the temperature always so that they can enjoy safe contact with the temperature.

    When Should You Use Hot and Cold Therapy For Your Injuries?


    Occasional bumps, bruises, sprains, or aches and pains are inevitable whether you are active at home or on the field of play. These injuries may occur suddenly or may be the result of fatigue or muscle sprain due to overuse.  We are all prone to pain and injuries- a result of sitting for long hours at a desk or intense workout sessions. These injuries can lead to feelings of discomfort in your back, neck, knees, or joint which can make you feel restless. Most people reach for balms and painkillers however you can treat your injuries effectively with cold therapy wraps, heat therapy wraps, or a combination of both. Using cold or heat therapy wraps on an inflamed injury is far better than medication.   The tricky part is to know when to apply cold therapy and when to apply heat therapy.


     Universal Therapy Wrap


    How to decide between heat and cold therapy wraps?


    It is important to understand the symptoms and causes of many typical injuries. 

    A good rule of thumb is cold for acute pain, heat for chronic pain.


    When deciding between heat and cold to treat your muscle injury it is helpful to know that if you have an acute injury or the problem is chronic. Acute injury includes a sprain that comes on rapidly and does not bother you for long but with chronic injuries- they develop slowly over time and can remain as a persistent ache for a long time. An acute injury can also develop into chronic injury when you don’t treat it well. 


    Here is a list of some basic rules that you should keep in mind:


    ● When you have injured yourself it might turn red or inflamed. For that purpose, cold therapy wraps are used immediately.


    ● When you use cold therapy on a stiff or tight muscle or joint it can do more harm than good.


    ● If you want to relax and soothe that stiff or tight muscle you can use Heat therapy to increase the range of motion.


    ● It is recommended that you don’t use any heat therapy on a sprain or injury that is already warm to touch.


    Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule, and explaining the theory of heat and cold therapy down to only four points would be a gross oversimplification. Let’s go into a bit more depth and understand the benefits and best ways and methods to treat your injury and why heat and cold therapy have different jobs.


    We have listed below some commonly affected areas and tissue injuries:


    ●     SPRAINS


    The most common type of injury suffered by many of us is a painful sprain. It can be painful and generally occurs in wrists, knees, and ankles- if the movement is too rough it can damage the ligaments too far. When a sprain occurs you can see the following symptoms including- swelling, pain, numbness, or difficulty in moving the affected area along with discomfort.


    ●     STRAINS


    While you are prepping for playing a sport you might end up overexerting a muscle or stretching the muscle too far which can result in a strain. Legs and shoulders are the most common areas involving muscle strains which can lead to pain, swelling, muscle spasms as it stretches the tendon or muscle and causes difficulty in moving.


    When performing any activity that involves stretching you should apply heat to increase the flexibility so that the blood stimulates the area. After you have performed the physical activities, the best choice is to use cold therapy wraps as it will help in the onset of pain and swelling if you end up overexerting the muscle.


    Using Cold therapy wraps:


    Cold treatment reduces blood flow to an injured area. This slows the rate of inflammation and reduces the risk of swelling and tissue damage.  It also numbs sore tissues, acting as a local anesthetic, and slows down the pain messages being transmitted to the brain.  Ice can help treat a swollen and inflamed joint or muscle. It is most effective within 48 hours of an injury.  Note that ice should not normally be applied directly to the skin.

    Cold therapy is used when the area gets swollen and this will help to narrow down the blood vessels and reduce the inflammation after a run or an intense workout session. If by any chance you end up applying heat- it can do more harm than good and can backfire as heat is used to rush the blood to the affected part which can result in swelling and preventing your muscles from healing.


    Using Heat therapy wraps:


    As discussed above, using heat on the swollen area can make the inflammation worse and your injury will not heal. Therefore, heat is an excellent way to manage tense or stiff muscles or chronic pain. Heat is used to improve the circulation of blood to a particular area and can greatly help in soothing the discomfort and flex the muscles, which is great for stretching and sports that require flexibility. 

    Perhaps, heat therapy's main use is to help with stiffness and pain in a specific area or a joint or soreness due to cramps or spasms. 



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