Published 4/1/2010
Jennie McKee

OMG: AAOS introduces 2010 PSAs

Ads focus on texting while driving, falls, back pain, shoes

The image of a blood-spattered, cracked windshield illustrates the dangers of texting and driving. This powerful visual is just one of the Academy’s attention-grabbing public service announcements (PSAs) for 2010. The PSA campaign was unveiled during the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Annual Meeting.

“In the past 10 years, the AAOS has developed more than 40 award-winning PSAs on many different topics related to musculo-skeletal conditions,” said Frank B. Kelly, MD. “As in previous years, we identified topics for the 2010 PSAs that are applicable to a broad range of the population.”

This year’s PSA materials have already garnered nearly $10 million in free airtime and can be seen in airports, newspapers, and magazines.

Don’t text and drive
“OMG: Get the message. Texting while driving is a deadly distraction,” reads the billboard ad developed by the AAOS and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA).

“This is a huge problem,” said Dr. Kelly. “Texting while driving is six to eight times more dangerous than driving while not distracted. A driver’s reaction times while texting and driving are three times slower than when driving under the influence.”

More than 10 states have already passed laws to make it illegal to drive and text, and the issue is now being debated at the federal level.

“Getting the message out about the dangers of texting and driving presented a great opportunity to partner with the OTA,” said Dr. Kelly. “It would be great if our PSA plays a role in fostering such legislation.”

The OTA and AAOS have created complementary patient education pages on their Web sites. They include statistics about texting and driving as well as safe driving tips.

TV and radio spots
Ominous music plays in the background of the Academy’s 15-, 30-, and 60-second TV spots on fall prevention. In an elderly man’s home, breakfast waits on the kitchen table and a ringing phone goes unanswered. The TV is tuned to a program showing home videos of people falling in comical ways.

As the camera angle widens to show the man on the floor, injured and unable to get up, the narrator says, “Falls on TV can be entertaining. Falls at home can be devastating.”

The 30- and 60-second radio spots reinforce the message of just how dangerous a fall can be for an elderly person, and how worrisome it can be for family members. In the ads, a middle-aged man asks his sister whether she’s been able to reach their father to arrange for a lunch date.

“I’ve been calling all morning, but there’s been no answer,” she says, worriedly.

The ad explains that falls are the most common cause of injuries in older Americans and can lead to potentially lethal hip fractures. And yet, almost half of home falls can be easily prevented through measures such as eliminating tripping hazards and installing handrails and other safety devices.

Preventing back pain
Instead of enjoying himself at the beach, the man in the back-pain prevention PSA is sitting down, watching the volleyball game from afar. The man is all too aware that “Back pain never takes a time out,” as the ad says.

Dr. Kelly notes that approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population has back pain at some time in their lives. The ad, developed with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), emphasizes that persistent back pain that gets in the way of performing normal activities shouldn’t be ignored.

Beware of “savage shoes”
“Is it possible to look good and feel good at the same time?” asks an ad developed with the AAOS Women’s Health Issues Advisory Board and the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.

“There are savage shoes in every closet,” declares the ad, which features a grey stiletto high heel with a vicious-looking snake’s face.

“Every orthopaedist sees patients with foot problems that are directly related to poor foot wear,” said Dr. Kelly. “Fashionable shoes may look great, but if worn too often and for too long, they can contribute to corns, hammertoes, bunions, arthritis, heel spurs, and many other problems.”

“Minor” fractures may indicate osteoporosis
The AAOS partnered with the National Osteoporosis Foundation to create an ad that underscores the importance of osteoporosis detection.

The ad shows a woman wearing a cast that says, “For women, a minor fracture could be a major warning.” It points out that osteoporosis affects half of all women age 50 or older.

“In the past, fractures in middle-aged or older women were treated, but the underlying significance of the fracture as a potential indicator of osteoporosis wasn’t fully realized, and neither was the potential for a subsequent fracture,” explained Dr. Kelly.

“The last decade has seen a strong push to detect osteoporosis using bone density scans, and to use medications that can prevent bone loss,” he continued. “Now that something can be done to treat osteoporosis and actually reverse the condition, it’s important to bring attention to the potential consequences of osteoporosis.”

Dr. Kelly emphasized that prevention is much better than treating osteoporosis after a fracture. Hip fractures resulting from osteoporosis, for example, can lead to prolonged or permanent disability, or even death.

“Middle-aged and older patients who have a simple fracture—particularly of the wrist or ankle—should realize that they may need a bone density test to find out whether they are developing osteoporosis,” he said.

Obtain free resources
“These materials are incredibly effective,” said Dr. Kelly, “but they don’t work well if members don’t use them.”

All five of the print ads are available as posters and postcards in English and Spanish. The radio ads can be downloaded and played when patients call the office.

“They are easily available and absolutely free,” said Dr. Kelly. “These are great materials to hand out to our patients and to the public.”

To access the 2010 PSAs, visit “Public Service Announcements.

Anyone interested in ordering copies of the 2010 PSAs can contact the AAOS public relations department at (847) 384-4036, or via e-mail at publicrelations@aaos.org

Jennie McKee is a staff writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at mckee@aaos.org