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Bauerfeind in LA goes beyond sports gear, helps w/ performance

Bauerfeind, a European company that's new to Los Angeles, offers high-tech tools to help injured athletes get back on their feet.
August 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Whether you like running, playing sports or doing yoga, an injury can prevent you from exercising. A European company new to Los Angeles offers high-tech tools to help get people back on their feet.

"I am able to play tennis longer, and I feel like I can go without having so many aches and pains," said Karen Iwanaga of Toluca Lake.

Iwanaga recently discovered Bauerfeind, a German company popular in Europe - new to Santa Monica - that's well beyond your typical sporting goods store.

"Many of the people in the store are the physical therapist, trained sports specialist physical therapist, or we have partly-trained physical therapists," said David Rosen, Head of Global Consumer Brands for Bauerfeind.

You'll find Dr. Andrew Pritikin and others on hand to check your biomechanics, your swing, your gait and how you move in your particular form of fitness.

"We actually look at your range of motion. We do manual muscle tests to see where you are strong and weak," said Pritikin. "We look for muscle imbalances, which is pretty much a key to what is going on."

They have high-tech equipment to assess your every move. For example, there's a machine that evaluated the amount of pressure on all areas of my foot. The image is scanned for heat and can be evaluated so that I can adjust my stride. They also scan shoes to find the best for me.

And there's a sports motion analysis system, measuring a thousand times per second to assess form so therapists can coach on irregularities.

So let's say you like to play sports, such as tennis or golf, and you're not really that good, but you love to play. Scientifically, they are going to show you exactly what you need and it's not always top of the line.

Riviera Tennis Manager John Huebner owned a dozen knee straps, yet he still had pain. He discovered Bauerfeind while watching a Lakers game.

"I saw what Kobe [Bryant] was wearing and I said, 'What kind of knee band is that?' And I did some investigation and found that it was from this company," said Huebner.

Yes, Kobe Bryant wears a Bauerfeind brace. But they caution that it isn't a one-size-fits-all apparatus.

"There are many different types of joint injury, and each type of injury requires a different approach. Sometimes it can be the same joint injury but different levels," said Rosen. "We have custom-made orthotics, custom-made braces that we can order or it can be off the shelf. The point is we measure accurately."

There is promotional consultation along with performance packages that run between $150 to $400.

"Our role really is to help them on the right journey," Rosen said.


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