Slippery When Wet – Pedestrian Safety on the Streets of Seattle

The snow flurry that came and went over this Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle gave way to icy roads, wet and slippery sidewalks and driveways across our fair city. As challenging as winter can be in the Pacific Northwest, it is equally a challenging time of year for pedestrians who navigate this great city on two feet.

Icy Sidewalk Pedestrian Safety

Most fractures are caused by falls, including fractures of the spine and hip.

Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls, and the rate of hip fractures is twice as high for women as it is for men.

The injuries caused by these falls can make it difficult for anyone to enjoy the normal activities of daily living like walking.


Pedestrian Safety Tips

Seattle OSS has a few tips for you to keep in mind while navigating the streets of Seattle including:

  • Proper footwear – Pedestrians should wear the proper footwear for the weather conditions, such as shoes and boots with appropriate traction. Rain, frost, ice, and snow can make walking on footpaths very dangerous, so proper footwear can help prevent a dangerous slip and fall. Also, walkers should wear gloves in order to break their fall if they do slip, and keep gloved hands out of their pockets for the same reason.
  • Proper clothing – Wear high visibility clothing to make yourself more visible to vehicles.
  • Avoid walking on the streets – Freezing weather tends to turn roads into an icy hazard. Be aware of your surroundings and stay on the sidewalks or clear, cleaned paths.
  • If you can’t avoid ice and snow, take shorter, slower steps to reduce the risk of a slip and fall and subsequent injuries, particularly when using the steps at any building as these can be dangerous when covered with snow or ice.

If you experienced a fall and need specialized orthopedic care, the surgeons at Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle provide excellent treatment options available for you.

‘Mixin’ It Up’ Does Wonders for Kids in Sports

Fall and winter sports season is upon us! Boys are playing football. Girls are doing their cheer routines at games.

Cross-country, field hockey, tennis, and volleyball players are in full swing at high schools across the country.

While kids are eager to jump right into these activities, injuries this time of year increase.

Kids Sports

Why Do More Sports Injuries Occur in the Fall and Winter?

  • Sudden increases in activity level
  • Unpredictable weather and changes in playing surface. Shifting weather patterns are another factor that contributes to sports injuries in the fall and winter.
  • Muscle fatigue – During the summer months, kids move freely. Suddenly, when school starts, students are cramped into an uncomfortable school desk for eight hours a day. The hips remain flexed at 90-degrees, and the brain focuses on keeping the hip flexors, hamstrings, and spinal erectors engaged to maintain a sitting position. Unfortunately, these are the opposite muscles the body needs to prevent common sports injuries.

What Are the Most Common Fall and Winter Sports Injuries and How Are They Prevented?

Slowly ramping up activity levels over the course of a few months leading into preseason can minimize the risk significantly.

Students should spend at least 10 minutes warming up every practice and devote twice as long to end-of-practice stretches to prevent injuries including:

Middle-school-age children come in with growth plate injuries. A growth plate injury occurs at either end of the leg bone.

A damaged growth plate may lead to arthritis, crooked bones, or limbs that do not grow long enough — although these circumstances are rare. More often than not, kids rebound from a growth plate injury without any further consequences.

Kids Football

To prevent these injuries, be sure you oversee your child’s strength training to ensure he or she is not lifting too much weight too fast. You also want to see that your child is using the proper form.

Playing in extreme cold, certain medications, neurological disorders, metabolic diseases, and genetic factors are believed to all play a role in the development of growth plate injuries as well. It is important to speak with a sports medicine professional to determine whether your child may be at risk for a growth plate injury.

When high school athletes begin to get tired, they get sloppy. Fatigue is the number one factor in ankle sprains. Teach your child to recognize signs of fatigue so he or she can request a break if the coach doesn’t see it.

Some of these early signals may include some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Inconsistent performance
  • Decreased focus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle twitches
  • Depression or irritability
  • Severe thirst
  • Generalized weakness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

According to Dr. Downer, “Mix it up, don’t just play one sport. Instead be diverse and try different types of sporting activities throughout the year. Staying active keeps you well-conditioned and less likely to experience an injury.”

If you believe you are suffering from a sports-related injury and need specialized orthopedic care, the orthopedic surgeons at OSS provide excellent treatment options for your injury. Please feel free to contact OSS at (206) 633-8100 to schedule an appointment.

Seattle Seahawks Injury Status

Football season is moving right along and our beloved Seattle Seahawks are 6-3 overall; ranking 10th in offense and 3rd in defense. There are several injuries on this season’s roster, including:

Seattle Seahawks Injuries

Coach Pete Carroll has cleared some of these players to return to the field but others are questionable for the rest of the NFL season. Of note, Zach Miller had undergone surgery and is on the injury reserve list and is not playing while Marcus Burley’s hamstring injury has sidelined him from playing for a questionable amount of time.

“With such devastating injuries to the squad up and down the line up, it reiterates the importance of preparation to prevent injury,” states Dr. Ruhlman.

The treatment protocol for football injuries varies and can range from basic RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) to surgery, with several options in between.

For all of these injuries, RICE can be improved with active cold and compression therapies to help speed up the healing process for injuries.

Cold compression therapy can also be used after surgery to help speed up the recovery process.

Football

OSS hopes that all these players recover from their injuries and wish the Seattle Seahawks a great rest-of-the-season.

If you believe you are suffering from a sports-related injury and need specialized orthopedic care, the orthopedic surgeons at OSS provide excellent treatment options for your injury.

OSS Provider Spotlight – Dr. Mark Reed

Dr. Mark Reed

Dr. Mark Reed is one of the many talented surgeons at Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle.

We had an opportunity to catch him from his busy schedule and find out some interesting and fun information about him.


1) Why did you choose Orthopedics with a specialty in foot and ankle?

I worked as a mechanical engineer and have always had a fascination for how complex mechanisms work. It doesn’t get much more complex than the foot and ankle.

Many bones, joints, tendons and ligaments all work in concert to support the foot and create motion. It’s simultaneously challenging and rewarding to treat foot and ankle conditions.

2) Why did you decided to move and settle in Seattle?

My family and I selected Seattle to put down roots for several reasons. Although my wife (an emergency physician) did our residency on the East Coast, we wanted to relocate to the West Coast so that we could be closer to her home state of Hawaii, which is not a bad place to visit during Seattle winters.

We love the healthy and active nature of the Pacific Northwest and the access to hiking, skiing, and all other sorts of endeavors.

3) Are you involved in the community?

With a one and three-year old, we don’t have a lot of free time, but when we do, we think it’s important to give back to the community. One of the things we do on a regular basis is to cook for and deliver meals to a homeless shelter in Seattle.

We also get involved in clean-up and beautification projects in our local community of west Seattle.

4) Have you been published, made any medical advances or studied new procedures?

Most of the research work I have done has been foot and ankle-related with a focus on biomechanics. I’ve looked at novel ways to perform ankle fusions and done studies comparing the strength and rigidity of various subtalar fusions.

I continue to stay active in the foot and ankle community to stay abreast of the latest technologies. Ankle replacement surgery and joint-sparing procedures for great toe arthritis are two areas that come to mind.

5) Who are you outside of work?

Outside of work I spend every minute I can with my wife and our two boys. I enjoy the outdoors; we try to get out and about a couple of times a month to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I’m a big supporter of the Seattle professional sports teams.

Read more about Dr. Reed