Pediatric Orthopaedics

Back to School Tips for Avoiding Pediatric Back Injuries

Sonoma County kids are heading back to school this month.  While for many parents, a return to school may feel like a relief from the constant activity of summer, there are still orthopaedic health issues to watch out for.  One such issue is back pain caused by improper use of one of the most mundane objects in your house – your child’s backpack.

According to an article* written by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that “more than 24,300 individuals were treated in hospitals and doctors’ offices for injuries related to backpacks in 2012, and more than 9,500 of those injuries were kids 5-18 years old.”

Recently AAOS and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) looked into the problem of backpack-related injuries and released the following recommendations for school-aged children.  The following safety tips are extracted from the same July 2013 article:

Kids should carry no more than 15-20 percent of their body weight.
Use both shoulder straps to keep the weight of the backpack better distributed and adjust the shoulder straps to keep the load close to the back.
Remove or organize items if too heavy and pack the heavier things low and towards the center.
When lifting backpacks, bend at the knees.
School backpacks are for schoolwork. Carry only those items that are required for the day; if possible, leave books at home or school.
At home and at school, keep walkways clear of backpacks to avoid tripping.

They also had the following recommendations for parents:

Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about numbness or tingling in the arms or legs which may indicate poor fit or too much weight being carried.
If the backpack seems too heavy for the child, have […]

Are Women and Girls Really More At Risk For ACL Injuries?

We’ve been getting questions lately from some of our more active female patients about whether or not they should worry more about anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries because of their gender and their propensity for “high-risk” sports like skiing or soccer.  The answer it seems is yes…and no.  Last year, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery*(JBJS), published a study where they compared MRI scans of male and female athletes with non-contact ACL injuries with athletes who participated in similar sports, but did not sustain injury to their ACLs.  What they found was that the common factor between those who sustained injury wasn’t gender, it was geometry.

Here’s how an February 2012 article published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons** described it:

The ACL is a ligament that runs through, and stabilizes, the middle of the knee joint. While the ACL can be injured through contact, it is most commonly strained or torn without contact, when a person suddenly changes direction, stops abruptly or lands incorrectly after a jump, such as in soccer, basketball and skiing.

The study found that most of the women (those who had ACL injuries and those who did not) and only the ACL-injured men shared a common geometry on the outside of their knee joint: The upper part of their shin bone at the joint (tibial plateau) was much shorter and more rounded. This may help to explain why women have an ACL injury rate that is two-to-five times greater than that of men.

“A lot of people who have ACL tears have a high degree of laxity (loose ligaments) in their knee joints,” said Christopher J. Wahl, MD, the study’s lead author and an orthopaedic surgeon and team physician in the Department of […]