Sports medicine technology showcased

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) met last week in Baltimore – a gathering of thousands of physicians, athletic trainers, exercise physiologists and other professionals involved in sports medicine.

Meetings like this also provide an opportunity for exhibitors to display the latest innovations in sports medicine.

New technology in the area of athletic footwear was prominent. Specifically, shoe inserts and shoe design have undergone radical changes. The newest design has been popularized by brands like MBT, Sketchers, Reebok, New Balance, Nike and Clarks. Allowing for slight variations, these shoes have a rounded, bowed sole and are reported to add an extra element to any workout, allowing more calories to be burned.

Many of the new designs are attempting to emulate a sensation of walking on sand. This allows for the small bones, muscles and tendons of the feet to continue moving. It also creates a soft surface when the foot impacts the ground.

These changes in structure are a sharp diversion from rigid inserts that are designed for more support and restricted movement. Many foot and ankle specialists are skeptical of the claim that these new shoes will help burn calories but agree that they are probably a good investment from the standpoint of comfort.

Nutritional supplements continue to receive a lot of attention. Gatorade has a system of beverages to be used before, during and after competition. Power Bar now has a variety of calorie replacement products and improved flavors.

The field of computerized cognitive testing was an area of interest as health professionals search for better ways of tracking athletes who have suffered concussions. Cog State, the makers of Cog Sport, demonstrated several changes to its program.

As new health care products come to market, it is always wise to get advice before making a large investment.

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