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Essential Medical Devices for Athletes

What the pros use.

Athletes have always enjoyed a certain level of prestige in society, from the humble high school quarterback to the magnificent gladiators of Ancient Rome. What has changed in recent years is how many resources are available to athletes to keep them performing at their best day in and day out. These devices are technically considered medical devices since they aid the body’s natural defense mechanisms. However, they aren’t on the same playing field as a crutch or a cast. These are mainly preventative measures or, at worst, active recovery techniques meant to supplement your body’s defenses, not replace them. 

Not sure which devices we’re talking about? Here are some: 

Compression Garments 

A compression garment is any piece of clothing that’s designed to be extremely tight to the skin and breathable. The primary function of these articles of clothing serves to improve circulation by squeezing blood. Garments like these should be worn while playing sports, as well as for periods of time during recovery days. The side effects of the increased circulation caused by compression gear include reduced swelling, faster recovery times, and occasionally the prevention of injury entirely. Consider what parts of the body you’re putting under stress and buy compression gear in kind. Those who play football are well-served by both arm and leg compression gear, while those involved in the track can get by with only leg compression covered. Tailor your garment needs to suit your athletic needs. There’s no need to go overboard. 

Gel Packs 

Gel packs have been a staple of modern athletic medicine for some time now. Why, exactly? It’s because gel packs do a magnificent job at improving circulation, preventing the further breakdown of tissue. There’s also a strong correlation between gel packs and the stimulation of tissue repair. “Gel packs” can be as simple as a cold bag of peas from the freezer to custom gelpax made by a specific manufacturer. Commercially available gel packs are safe to apply to the skin and hold their cold for much longer than household items, making them extremely convenient choices. 

Cushioned Shoes or Floor 

Depending on the sport or activity of choice, proper protection should be given to the feet. Shoes with appropriate arch support and the ability to cushion the blows from constantly moving around will keep your feet, knees, and hips in good shape for years to come. There are also insoles, like those from Protalus, that can be added to any shoes for extra cushion and arch support. Those who are involved in activities like yoga or other groundwork activities should always make use of a yoga mat, or similar piece of equipment to help distribute their body weight more evenly. Without proper support on your feet, you risk damaging the joints in your lower body irreparably. 


These are just a few general items that anyone with sporty predilections should invest in. Without them, your results will take longer to materialize, and you risk doing serious long-term harm to your body. These devices all take advantage of bodily functions and do their best to aid your normal recovery mechanisms. They are, by no means, “cheating.” They are much closer to optimization than anything else. 

In short, a safe body is a healthy body. 

Ever wondered why some college athletes go on to lose after showing such promise? Read here.

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