January 1996 Bulletin

Media hear broad scope of orthopaedics

Science writers seminar covers treatments, research

Douglas W. Jackson, MD, opened the Academy's fifth annual science writers seminar, "Orthopaedics Update '95," in New York City last October by reminding the media that "the benefit of medicine is not just extending life, but also the quality of life.

"Our specialty is committed to the quality of life-the ability of the older person to be independent at home, the ability for people to pursue their recreational and physical activities, and the ability to do their work free of pain and deformity."

During the day-long presentation, the media heard presentations that showed the wide scope of orthopaedic treatments to improve the quality of life-from leg lengthening to restoring shoulder stability.

The seminar also was the launching pad for the Academy's newest nationwide public education program on prevention of injuries. The new program, "If the Shoe Fits, Wear It," focuses on advice to select shoes that fit properly to avoid foot injuries. The media was informed that shoes that are too tight, too short, or even too large can cause bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, and other permanent foot deformities.

The cost of surgeries to correct foot problems, many of which are caused by improperly fitting shoes, is $2 billion a year. If time off from work for these surgeries is included, the cost is nearly $3.5 billion.

Francesca Thompson, MD, announced the program and the results of a study by Carol Frey, MD, who was in charge of developing the footwear program for the Committee on Public Education.

Dr. Frey's study of 580 women disclosed that overweight people have a high incidence of foot problems because of the physical stress of the excess weight and the way they walk.

In a second part of the study she looked at data for 88 women and found that 64 percent of those who gained weight in the last five years had an almost one full size increase in shoe size; 69 percent of those women had difficulty finding fashion shoes that fit properly and 31 percent had trouble finding athletic shoes that fit.

Other speakers included Carl L. Stanitski, MD, who told the media that intoeing conditions by infants and children under the age of eight years usually correct naturally without casts, braces, or special shoes.

Letha Y. Griffin, MD, PhD, advised women over 30 years of age that they can participate in weight training to increase muscle strength and endurance, enhance the cardiovascular system, and increase bone strength. Thomas A. Einhorn, MD, also discussed the advantages of regular weight-bearing and impact exercises early in life to minimize the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Deborah F. Stanitski, MD, described successes in limb lengthening procedures to correct birth defects; and Charles Cassidy, MD, discussed new techniques in bone healing ranging from cellular research to development of a moldable, bone mineral substitute injected into or applied to broken bones.

Clarence L. Shields Jr. MD, told the media about a laser arthroscopy procedure to correct shoulder instability; and Dr. Jackson reviewed recent breakthroughs in the research of biologic implants to improve the success of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructive surgery.

Henning Birkedal-Hansen, DDS, PhD, scientific director, National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health, told the media that scientists are targeting a special family of enzymes for new drug development in the fight against rheumatoid arthritis.

James R. Doyle, MD, and Ramon Jimenez, MD, were co-chairmen of the event.

"If the Shoe Fits, Wear It" brochures, fact sheets, and counter-top display stands are available to fellows who wish to promote the program to patients and the public in their communities by contacting the department of communications at (800) 346-2267, ext. 4123.

Thomas A. Einhorn, MD, left and Charles Cassidy, MD, center, meet with Douglas W. Jackson, MD, Academy second vice president, at the science writers seminar.

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