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Sports-related Foot and Ankle Injuries Keep Doctors on Their Toes

Hospital for Special Surgery offers a symposium to discuss the latest techniques to manage sports-related foot and ankle injuries

NEW YORK, N.Y.—September 7, 2007

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 11 million visits were made to physicians' offices in 2005 because of foot and ankle problems, which serves as the focus of an upcoming educational session at Hospital for Special Surgery.

In fact, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that ankle sprains, Achilles tendon injuries, overuse injuries, and shin splints are the most common among athletes, whose feet routinely absorb the shock of running, jumping and pounding exercises and activities.

“Athletes, whether professional, scholastic, or recreational, understand the prevalence of foot and ankle injuries, especially those who participate in sports that involve jumping, kicking or contact,” according to Jonathan T. Deland, M.D., chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at Hospital for Special Surgery and Chair of the upcoming “Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries” symposium, on Friday, Sept. 7, 2007, at 8:30 a.m. at HSS.

Unfortunately, athletes who engage in these sports are predisposed to accidents that cause sprains and tears of tendons, ligaments, and muscles, as well as fractures and joint injury, Dr. Deland added.

With the Fall scholastic sports season approaching, physicians’ offices can expect to see many young men and women suffering from football, soccer, and running-related injuries.  In efforts to keep physicians, surgeons, nurses and physical therapists in the know on treatment and operative techniques for these painful and demobilizing injuries, leading experts in the field of foot and ankle sports injuries will assemble at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a one-day symposium.  The event will cover the full spectrum of conservative care to operative techniques with particular emphasis on minimally invasive techniques such as arthroscopy.

Dr. Deland and other members of the Foot and Ankle Service at Special Surgery will discuss the frequent and often overlooked injuries and their treatment.  Dr. Deland will discuss injuries to the tendons on the outside of the ankle called the peroneal tendons, which often result from ankle sprains.  Martin J. O’Malley, M.D., associate attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, will cover ligament injuries to the ankle and John G. Kennedy, M.D., also an associate attending orthopedic surgeon at HSS, will discuss cartilage injuries to the ankle joint.  David S. Levine, M.D., an attending orthopedic surgeon at Special Surgery, will discuss a form of degenerative arthritis that develops over time at the joint by the base of the big toe, known as hallux rigidis.  Andrew J. Elliott, M.D., assistant attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, will present on treatment of Achilles’ tendon tears emphasizing minimally invasive techniques, and Matthew Roberts, M.D., assistant attending orthopedic surgeon at Special Surgery, will discuss serious injury to the midfoot – the Lisfranc injury – causing damage to the joints at the middle of the foot.

In addition, there are two distinguished guest speakers who are coming from California and Europe.  Guest speakers will include Richard Ferkel, M.D., attending surgeon and sports medicine fellowship director at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute and assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Dr. Ferkel will be giving a presentation on “Ankle Arthroscopy; Tips and Results of Cartilage Regeneration.”  Also joining the conference is C. Niek van Dijk, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Orthopedic Department at AMC/University of Amsterdam.  Dr. van Dijk also serves as the Orthopaedic Consultant for the Royal Dutch Ballet and will discuss “Endoscopic Treatment of Hind Foot Disorders.”

Doctors at HSS are also eager to promote ways for athletes to stay off the operating table.  In line with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, doctors at HSS offer the following tips to help active Americans prevent foot and ankle injuries:

  • Warm up before any sports activity, including practice
  • Participate in a conditioning program to build muscle strength
  • Do stretching exercises daily
  • Listen to your body: never run if you experience pain in the foot or ankle
  • Wear protective equipment appropriate for that sport
  • Replace athletic shoes as soon as the tread or heel wears out
  • Wear properly fitting athletic, dress, and casual shoes



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