Taking the guesswork out of home injury care

Pains and Strains curates kits for orthopedic ailments

A knee kit curated by Pains and Strains that can treat osteoarthritis or meniscus injuries.

Last updated on May 21st, 2022 at 02:49 am

With the right tools and instructions, people with injuries like tennis elbow and Achilles tendonitis should be able to eliminate their pain, visit this site to learn more.

But many of those suffering from slip and fall injuries and other conditions don’t have all the necessary home medical equipment to recover, the time to see a physical therapist five or more times, or the funds to cover rising deductibles. And because orthopedic rehabilitation products often are not covered by insurance, doctors are hesitant to prescribe them.

Joe McClung wanted to address this issue, so he co-founded Cedarburg-based Pains and Strains LLC to provide curated medical care kits for common injuries.

In addition to tennis elbow and Achilles tendonitis, Pains and Strains sells kits for osteoarthritis, meniscus, patella tendinitis, ankle sprain and plantar fasciitis. The kits include equipment and instructions to ice, rest, realign, strengthen, stretch and relieve pain related to the ailments.

Each type of injury has a couple of simple diagnostic questions to help a customer narrow in on which kit is needed. The osteoarthritis description, for example, asks “Do you have a stiff knee that takes a while to loosen up or the feeling of warmth in the joints?”

“We’re not diagnosing,” McClung said. “This is to empower them through education. For most tendinopathy issues, what we’re providing could only be helpful.”

McClung has experience with these conditions because he was an executive at orthopedic device manufacturer DJO Global, maker of Aircast, for 13 years. There, he saw that while there were many medical devices being created, they weren’t ultimately getting into the hands of patients through traditional medical channels.

The Pains and Strains kits, which retail for between $99 and $199, are designed to protect and support joints to allow them to heal by reducing swelling, protecting the injury, building strength and regaining motion, and providing relief that assists with recovery. The tennis elbow kit, for example, includes a freeze sleeve, a surround tennis elbow strap, a strength and stretch plan, resistance exercise bands, a gel squeeze ball and fast freeze, a topical analgesic.

The key to recovery is to assure several coordinated steps are taken to alleviate pain and promote healing, McClung said.

“The No. 1 source of pain is inflammation and an inflammation in the joint creates pain,” he said. “Usually what occurs is somehow it’s overused or you’re out of line.”

“If you take plantar fasciitis, if you take Achilles tendonitis or tennis elbow – they’re common, but they’re kind of chronic,” McClung said. “People have a tendency to just deal with them, which isn’t the right thing.”

A doctor might suggest taking some Advil and staying off the injury, but the Pains and Strains kit gives additional recommendations for active management, McClung said.

“This gives me something to do so my choice isn’t knee surgery or nothing,” he said.

A patient could buy all these products individually, but not at the same pricing, McClung said. He uses his relationships and experience in the rehabilitation world to choose effective solutions.

“What we’re providing is not the product. We provide the solution and the curation of the best product,” he said.

The founders of Pains and Strains, McClung and orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Ryan Geringer, have been bootstrapping the business since it was established last March. The company is run out of McClung’s home, and also rents a warehouse to store its kits.

“We want to be the do-it-yourself in the DIY economy for joint pain,” McClung said. “And make it simple for people to get the solutions and the education.”

Pains and Strains kits are distributed via its website, as well as by referral partners at fitness centers, including The Wisconsin Athletic Club.

Jesus Quinones, a member services representative at the WAC, brought McClung in to demonstrate his products as part of the Business Spotlight series at the Menomonee Falls WAC earlier this year.

“I think it’s a great idea of what he’s doing and so we were happy to have him in here,” he said.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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