Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Board Certification – Not All Are Created Equal

Recently, John Vitolo, MD passed the re-certification board examination with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons. This is a grueling and rigorous process requiring 120 hours of continuing education, a written and oral examination and a peer review.  Re-certification is required every 7 to 10 years. 

The American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons is not the only board to offer certification; however, the requirements of this board are more challenging than others in the field. To qualify for initial certification, surgeons must be a graduate of an accredited 4 year medical school and have successfully completed a 5 year accredited orthopedic residency program in the US or Canada.

In addition to being board certified in Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Vitolo holds a sub-specialty certification in Sports Medicine from the ABOS. This sub-specialty certification requires an additional year of training/education, endorsement by the program director, peer review, documented experience with Arthroscopic Surgery and knowledge of non-operative conservative treatment of select injuries. 

Certifications given by the ABOS are given to an elite group of orthopedic surgeons. To become board certified requires commitment and a desire to continuing learning and provide the highest quality care to patients. By visiting an ABOS Board Certified surgeon, you can rest assured that you will receive optimal care.

Who is the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery?
·         Non-profit, private, independent organization - Founded in 1934
·         Established to serve the best interests of patients and the medical profession
·         Board establishes education standards for orthopedic surgeons
·         Standards are evaluated through standardized exams and practice evaluations
·         Membership is given only to distinguished orthopedic surgeons who have met set requirements and are active in patient care, education and research

To find out if your surgeon is certified by the ABOS or to find one that is, you can visit this link: https://www.abos.org/find-a-certified-orthopaedic-surgeon.aspx.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Preventing Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes this Baseball Season

Baseball season is here! Young athletes are ready to start training. While the old adage “practice makes perfect” is true, our youth need guidance in order to prevent injury.

Overuse injuries in school aged athletes are on the rise. The incidence of shoulder and elbow injuries among youth baseball and softball players is five times greater than it was in the year 2000.[i] Many of these baseball injuries are preventable.

In recent years, Little League Baseball has released guidelines and enforced regulations to help prevent injury in young athletes (see charts below). The league has put limits on pitch counts during games and also enforced required rest periods. All the guidelines are based on the age of the athlete.

While the guidelines from Little League Baseball are important, there are additional steps that can be taken at practices and off the field. Here are some tips:
  1.  Always warm up – stretch, jog and begin with some easy, gradual throwing
  2. Try different positions – different positions require the use of various muscle groups
  3. REST – don’t play year round and allow rest between games
  4. Focus on your form, accuracy and control
  5. If you have shoulder or elbow pain, do not pitch
  6. Talk to your parents and coaches about any pain – do not play through the pain!

Getting kids involved in sports at an early age is a great idea, but it is important to remember an injury can end their baseball career too soon. By following the suggestions outlined here, injury can be avoided and a lifelong love of baseball and activity can be built!

[i] http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/media/statistics.aspx
Maximum Pitch Counts and Required Rest Periods courtesy of Little League Baseball