Published 7/1/2007
Nicholas DiNubile, MD

Heels make news—and newsmakers turn to AAOS

Academy serves as authoritative source for orthopaedic information

Recently, it seems that heels—whether on women’s dress shoes or children’s roller shoes—have been making news. Because we all know that “the heel bone’s connected to the leg bone…knee bone…hip bone…back bone,” other parts of the musculoskeletal system are also in the news. Luckily for our patients, the press is turning more frequently to the AAOS Web sites for accurate information and statistics on musculoskeletal conditions for their stories.

According to an article in the Washington Post, fashion trumps function when it comes to women’s shoes. One of this summer’s trendiest shoes is the “Tribute”—which has a 5½” heel. The piece used statistics and information from the AAOS, cautioning women about wearing high heels with pointed toes that cause the foot to slide forward and alter the body’s natural alignment.

Several news sources—including The Today Show, Chicago Tribune, MSNBC, Houston Chronicle, Boston Herald, Dallas Morning News, Newsday, and dozens of ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates throughout the nation—picked up on the Academy’s press release on the dangers of “heeling.” The popularity of roller shoes, which have a wheel on the heel that enables children to move from a walk to a roll simply by shifting their weight, is resulting in more injuries and more visits to orthopaedic offices. According to AAOS President James H. Beaty, MD, who was quoted in the piece, “Roller shoes are very similar to being on roller blades or inline skates, and protective gear should be worn at all times.”

From heels to knees
The March 2007 issue of Runners World included a feature on what happens “When Good Knees Go Bad.” In Part I of this ongoing series, designed to help runners understand the effects of their sport on various parts of the anatomy, the focus was on the biomechanics of the knee, common overuse injuries, and strengthening exercises. The article included an interview with AAOS Past President Robert D. D’Ambrosia, MD.

Knee replacements made news in the Miami Herald feature “Knee Deep,” which quotes AAOS fellow Johnny C. Benjamin, Jr., MD, of Vero Beach, Fla. In the piece, Dr. Benjamin mentions how Miami has become the “gateway to a continent…there’s been a huge influx of patients from Latin America who need joint replacement.” The article also cited statistics from the AAOS research and patient education Web sites.

The USA Today feature article, “Give the knee a firm leg up,” provided tips on how to prevent knee injuries. Board of Councilors chair Matthew S. Shapiro, MD, and Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, AAOS second vice-president, were both quoted.

Aging and sports
“Diagnosis: Boomeritis,” which was widely distributed through the Scripps-Howard wire service, discussed the many facets of aging and orthopaedics—from knee replacements to changes in the healthcare system. Academy fellow David F. Martin, MD, who was quoted in the piece, believes we are just seeing the “tip of the iceberg” as far as the “exercise-sports activity explosion” among baby boomers. A 2007 study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery projects a 673 percent growth in demand for knee replacements by 2030. AAOS members Allston J. Stubbs IV, MD, Laurence Laudicina, MD, and I were also quoted in the piece, which mentioned the first-ever “Boomeritis” conference held in Hilton Head, S.C., earlier this year.

Timothy Johnson, MD, ABC News medical correspondent, conducted a live interview with University of Chicago’s Sherwin S.W. Ho, MD, about collegiate sports injuries and injury prevention on “Good Morning America!” At the end of the interview, Dr. Johnson asked Dr. Ho for Internet sources to help parents learn how to prevent sports injuries. Dr. Ho, an AAOS fellow, recommended both www.aaos.org and www.orthoinfo.org.

The May 2007 issue of Parent magazine included a feature article on “Sports Safety.” Common sports injuries were identified along with brief explanations on how they occur and immediate treatment tips; the article also covered sport-specific safety gear and the correct way to wear it. John M. Purvis, MD, was the AAOS spokesperson for this article.

Backs, shoulders, and hamstrings
The pain of sciatica led 26-year-old writer Elena Rover to explore six different conservative treatments, which she summarized for Women’s Health magazine in an article titled, “baby got backache.” When none of them helped, she opted for a diskectomy, and—8 years later—is still feeling no pain. AAOS fellows Daveed D. Frazier, MD—who became “my specialist” said Rover—and Jeffrey A. Goldstein, MD, are quoted in the piece, which refers readers to Academy Web sites for more information.

“Getting tough on shoulder injuries,” an article in the Los Angeles Times, reported on a study that indicated conventional physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery did not yield the kind of results needed by patients—such as baseball players, construction workers, and swimmers—who require upper arm strength. Wayne Z. Burkhead, Jr., MD, president of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, took exception to the study, stating it did not include a control group.

HealthDay News used information from the AAOS patient education Web site Your Orthopaedic Connection in preparing a piece on preventing hamstring injuries. “Health Tip: Prevent a Pulled Hamstring” was picked up by more than 100 media outlets including the Washington Post, “Discovery Health” Channel, Hon News (Switzerland), MSN Health and Fitness, MedicineNet.com, and KRON-TV (San Francisco). A similar piece, “Health Tip: Symptoms of Whiplash,” also used information from the AAOS Web site and was picked up by 75 television stations.

Remembering the wounded
Andrew N. Pollak, MD,
chair of the Extremity War Injuries and Disaster Preparedness Project Team, testified before the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in May. (See “AAOS fellow testifies on war injuries” in the June AAOS Now, available online at
www.aaos.org/now). He was joined by CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, still recovering from severe extremity wounds sustained while on assignment in Baghdad. Dr. Pollak testified for increased funding for the peer-reviewed Orthopaedic Extremity Trauma Research Program. CBS News covered the event, and Roll Call ran a picture of Dr. Pollak and Ms. Dozier.

Nicholas DiNubile, MD, is chair of the Public Relations Oversight Group. If you would like to serve as a spokesperson for the AAOS, contact the public relations department at julitz@aaos.org