If you’ve ever suffered from an injury while working out or playing a sport, then the treatment you received would be classified as sports medicine.
This field of medicine grew significantly during the 20th Century and even faster this century. Some of those advancements have come on the heels of a public understanding of how dangerous concussions are.
These 20 companies are going beyond all that you’ve come to know and appreciate as sports medicine, changing the game and ensuring that athletes the world over are safer every single day.
Best known for its Eclipse soft tissue anchor, MedShape produces orthopaedic products that are created from “shape memory biomaterials that can transform and adapt inside the body.” The Eclipse links bones with ligaments, tendons and other connective soft tissue while a surgeon performs ligament reconstruction, tendon transfer or treats tenodesis.
The company also produces a suture anchor system called Morphix, a soft tissue fastener called Exoshape, and a TTC fusion system called DynaNail.
Athos has created wearable tech that coordinates with an app. Access the live view on your smartphone or other device, which “shows you exactly what muscles are firing, how hard, and in what sequence so you can correct your form immediately.”
If you wear Athos gear during your workout, the smart sensors within the garments can measure your heart rate, electromyography (ECG) and more. This all links back to the Athos core, which “collects and analyzes all of the physiological data from the sensors and sends everything to your mobile device via Bluetooth.”
Blue Belt Technologies
With two solutions for surgeons, the STRIDE Unicondylar Knee System and the Navio Surgical System, Blue Belt Technologies was developed by employees at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in 2003. The STRIDE system consists of an implant that helps prevent osteoarthritis pain. The Navio Surgical System, when used with the STRIDE implant and a robotic arm, allows for simpler, cutting-edge surgery.
The S.M.A.R.T. Company
The S.M.A.R.T. Company’s name abbreviates to Sports, Medicine, Advisory, Research and Technology. It was created to help practitioners, startups and small businesses interested in developing sports medicine innovations secure the funding, conceptualize their products and realize the clinical research necessary to make this happen.
Creator of the UP fitness smartwatch UP, Jawbone knows a thing or two about wearable tech. All versions of UP look like sleek jewelry instead of loud, rubber bracelets, and all hook up to your tablet or smartphone via an app.
The app includes Jawbone’s Smart Coach, which offers personalized exercise regimens based on the health data that UP cultivates over time. You don’t have to take UP off once you’re done working out, though, as its firmware is also useful for measuring your sleep patterns and habits.
Preferred by the basketball team at the University of Florida, Game Ready produces cold therapy compression solutions for athletes on the mend. Its C-T spine wrap utilizes air compression to keep your blood full of oxygen with Active Temperature Exchange technology that can quickly change the air temperature depending on your needs. The GRPro 2.1 control unit is intended to be loaded with water and ice, hooked up via a plug and then used in conjunction with the wraps.
Blacktree Fitness Technologies
AIRO is Blacktree Fitness Technologies’ biggest product. This wearable smart bracelet helps you better manage your exercise, sleep, stress and nutrition. When you get active, it keeps track of how many calories you burn during your sweat session and measures your heart rate. It also acts as an alarm clock, learning your circadian rhythm to wake you up at the right time and letting you know the quality of your sleep.
AIRO is a stress-buster in that it records your heart rate variability and can alert you when you’re getting in over your head. When you eat, this bracelet’s spectrometer reviews the nutrients you’re getting from your food while calculating calories.
3D might be a standard in video games and cinema, but Xsens is bringing it to the world of sports medicine with its 3D motion tracker and other tech. The MVN Biotech is a 3D human kinematics solution that includes sensors across the body to measure and assess performance levels. The Xsens MVN is an inertial motion capture solution with special clothes and headbands that can benefit both athletes and animators alike.
A hip replacement can be a demanding procedure, but MAKO Surgical’s robotic arm can ensure greater accuracy than ever before during the surgery. And those who have osteoarthritis of the knee don’t need to suffer in pain every day. The MAKOplasty Partial Knee Resurfacing treatment also uses the robotic arm and smaller incisions with a precision cutter for a simpler knee procedure with a briefer recovery time.
Mitek Sports Medicine
Mitek Sports Medicine has created a VAPR VUE Radiofrequency System, which includes electrodes with a radiofrequency generator to “provide soft tissue ablation (vaporization), contouring, cutting and hemostasis of blood vessels during arthroscopic surgical procedures.”
The company’s ABSOLUTE Interference Screw connects tendons, bones and soft tissue during grafts when receiving a ligament reconstruction. And the HEALIX ADVANCE Anchor can pierce through bone and comes in handy during certain surgical procedures.
Concussions are being taken more seriously these days. Tekscan is at the forefront of treating these with its Sports AT software. This software encompasses various tests that diagnose a potential concussion. The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool is the third version of this software and is used after the injury has occurred to review the seriousness of it and likelihood of a concussion.
Bespoke Innovations produces what it calls Fairings, which are “specialized coverings that surround an existing prosthetic leg, accurately recreating the body form through a process that uses three-dimensional scanning to capture the unique leg shape. But fairings not only return the lost contour, they invite an expression of personality and individuality that has never before been possible.” Using a 3D scanner and printer, you can design a unique Fairing to fit your own body.
A surgical solutions company that offers treatments for spinal health, NuVasive is known for its Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion, or XLIF, surgery. “Using patented nerve monitoring technology, the surgeon gains lateral (side) access to the spinal column, avoiding any major nerves in the area between the incision and the column,” the team writes.
“The XLIF procedure does not require an anterior (front) or posterior (back) exposure, and thereby does not present the same risks of vascular and/or neural injury as traditional approaches.” Other added benefits include a shorter healing time, less time spent in the hospital and a shorter overall procedure.
Alphatec Spine has several innovative products. The Arsenal Spinal Fixation System treats degenerative pathologies, strengthening the spine while the ILLICO Minimally Invasive Surgery System utilizes rods and screws for more accurate surgeries. The Battalion Universal Spacer System allows surgeons to have optimal control during transforaminal lumbar interbody fusions and posterior lumbar interbody fusions. The Trestle Luxe Anterior Cervical Plating System is for fusing C2 to C7 spinal columns while the Neocore osteoconductive matrix promotes the growing of bones.
Wright Medical Technology, Inc.
Specializing in biologics and extremities, Wright Medical Technology, Inc.’s biggest product for athletes is the INFINITY Total Ankle System. This implant is ideal for talar fixation with its anterior pegs and also provides tibiotalar strength due to its sulcus articular geometry. It connects well with another Wright Medical product, the INBONE II, and when used in conjunction with it, soft tissue can be spared in the ankles, leading to less long-term pain.
The wearable tech that ZetrOZ has created is truly at the forefront of sports medicine, as the devices “accelerate tissue healing and relieve pain for chronic musculoskeletal conditions.” The sam Sport product is one such example; it’s intended for athletes who have muscle, ligament or tendon pain. When you wear this device, which secures to your back, you can help remove lactic acid, receive more nutrients and oxygen, and experience better blood circulation to prevent injuries when you’re active.
MOOV NOW classifies itself as “the 2nd generation of multi-sport wearable tech.” The smartwatch has a battery that lasts for six months before needing to be recharged, and it’s also made with breathable materials so that no matter how much you sweat, it won’t interfere with the watch’s functioning.
Intended for such athletic activities as cardio boxing, swimming, walking, cycling, running and general workouts, it supports 3rd party heart rate monitors, provides workout suggestions that match your level of fitness, encourages you during exercise, keeps track of your reps, and makes suggestions on how you can improve form.
Zimmer Biomet is a musculoskeletal healthcare device company whose products are intended for those with chronic joint pain in their ankles, feet, back, elbows, shoulders, hips and knees. Zimmer and Biomet were separate companies that merged in June 2015.
Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal prefers to use Mueller products before a big match. The company’s product line focuses heavily on sleeves and wraps; the company also sells ProStrips, a type of adhesive wrapping that keeps the skin safe from calluses, blisters, scrapes, burns and abrasions (and is a favorite of Nadal). The Mueller Green Wraps for the back, knees and arms are intended for arthritic support or to be worn while recovering from an injury.
The roster of products available from Arthrex is huge, with products to aid the hips, ankles, feet, wrists, hands, elbows and knees post-surgery. In the realm of orthobiologics, its Arthrex Angel System includes a bone marrow concentrate treatment that takes marrow from cells and platelets for surgical procedures. The company’s soft tissue allografts are for orthopaedic procedures treating soft tissue.