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Sports-minded look for relief.

NEW YORK -- Sports-related injuries can occur during any season, a fact that is driving an increasing number of active people into stores year round in search of remedies for strains, sprains and sore muscles.

The latest data from Information Resources Inc. bear this out. Consumers spent $276.5 million on muscle and body support devices--an increase of 6.2%--in drug stores, supermarkets and discount stores, excluding Wal-Mart Stores Inc., for the 52 weeks ended August 13. Sports braces have become top-sellers in drug stores, which have accounted for the lion's share of sales. The top performers in the category are BD Consumer's Ace brand and Futuro supports and braces, supplied by Beiersdorf Inc. Among the top 10 brands 3M Co.'s Nexcare saw the biggest gains, which more than tripled in dollar sales.

Makers of muscle and body supports have promoted their products heavily and emphasized innovation. Nexcare athletic supports, for example, have a Breath-O-Prene stretchable fabric lining that breathes and wicks away body moisture.

Okamoto USA Inc. has recently added a knee wrap to its Bodi Heat line of air activated heat pads. The stretchable product allows patients free movement while delivering soothing heat to an injury. Okamoto has promoted its Bodi Heat line with national magazine advertisements.

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Title Annotation:Okamoto U.S.A. Inc. introduced heating pads; sports wear
Publication:MMR
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Oct 2, 2006
Words:210
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