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Distracted Walker


Distracted driving can cause crashes, injuries, and even death; it’s a prevalent public issue that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) continues to champion. But what about distracted walking? What are the consequences of pedestrians talking on the phone, texting, listening to music, or engaging deeply in conversation with the person next to them?

“Today, more and more people are falling down stairs, tripping over curbs and other streetscapes and, in many instances, stepping into traffic, causing cuts, bruises, sprains, and fractures,” said Alan Hilibrand, MD, chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet. “In fact, the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has more than doubled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60% of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking.”

In 2009, AAOS launched the “Decide to Drive” campaign to educate children, teens and adults about the dangers of distracted driving.

More recently, AAOS expanded its injury-prevention efforts to include distracted walking. The “Digital Deadwalkers” radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) distributed in 2015 and 2016 humorously, but effectively, highlight what can happen when pedestrians focus on anything or anyone other than the task of safely getting where they need to go.

AAOS Study on the Perceptions and Behaviors Associated with Distracted Walking

To learn more about the perceptions and behaviors associated with distracted walking, AAOS commissioned a Distracted Walking Study in 2015. The study involved 2,000 respondents nationally, and another 500 respondents in each of the following eight cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Phoenix, Atlanta and Seattle.

First, while 78% of U.S. adults believe that distracted walking is a “serious” issue; three-quarters of Americans say it’s “other people” who walk distracted. Only 29% of respondents admit that they, personally, have an issue.

And the sense of “it’s not me, it’s you” cuts across a range of distracted walking behaviors:

  • Ninety percent say they see walkers talking on the phone (and 37% admit doing so themselves)
  • Eighty-eight percent engaging in conversation (vs. 75% themselves)
  • Eighty-eight percent listening to music (vs. 34% themselves)
  • Eighty-five percent using a smartphone (vs. 28% themselves)
  • Sixty-four percent generally “zoning out” (vs. 38% themselves)

Despite the obvious risks associated with distracted walking, as many respondents believe it is “embarrassing (in a silly way)” as feel it is “dangerous” (46%). Furthermore, 31% say distracted walking is “something I’m likely to do” and 22% think distracted walking is “funny,” according to the study.

And distracted walking is resulting in injuries. Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans say they have personally witnessed a distracted walking incident, and just over a quarter (26%) say they have been in an incident themselves.

In addition:

  • Of those injured in a distracted walking incident, women aged 55 and over are most likely to suffer serious injuries, while Millennials (ages 18 to 34) are least likely to be injured, according to the survey, despite the younger age group reporting higher rates of distracted walking incidents.
  • Perceptions of distracted walking also differ by generation, with 70% of Millennials believing that distracted walking is a serious issue compared with 81% of individuals aged 35 and older.
  • Millennials are more likely to engage in common distracted walking behaviors: texting, listening to music, and talking on the phone.
  • Half of Millennials think distracted walking is “embarrassing–in a funny way.”

Can We Walk and Talk at the Same Time?

One of the challenges in combatting distracted walking may be that many Americans are overly confident in their ability to multitask.

When asked why they walk distracted, 48% of respondents say “they just don’t think about it,” 28% feel “they can walk and do other things,” and 22% “are busy and want to use their time productively.”

Among distracted walking behaviors, 75% of respondents say they personally “usually/always” or “sometimes” have “active conversations” with another person they are walking with–making this the most common distracted walking behavior people admit to doing themselves.

Perceptions Vary by City and Region

Your perception of the issue may depend slightly on where you live. For example:

  • Among the eight markets, New York City residents were most likely to view distracted walking as a serious issue (86%), and Seattle residents were least likely to view the issue as serious (77%).
  • New Yorkers were more likely to say they personally walk distracted (39%) than were walkers living in the other cities.
  • Residents of Chicago and Philadelphia were most likely to see distracted walking as “dangerous” (49%), while those in Houston were the least likely to think it’s dangerous (40%).

Other Distracted Walking Statistics

Other research studies highlight the many dangers of distracted walking:

  • Typing (texting) or reading a text alters a pedestrian’s gait, speed, and walking pattern, according to a recent study.
  • Teens and young adults, ages 16 to 25, were most likely to be injured as distracted pedestrians, and most were hurt while talking rather than texting: Talking on the phone accounted for 69% of injuries between 2004 and 2010. Texting accounted for 9% of injuries during the same period.
  • Distracted pedestrians may have been a contributing factor in the 4,200 pedestrian deaths and 70,000 injuries in traffic crashes in 2010, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
  • A recent study observed nearly one-third of pedestrians at 20 high-risk intersections in Seattle listening to music, texting, or using a cellphone. Those who texted took almost two seconds, or 18% longer, to cross the intersection compared with those who weren’t distracted. Those who texted were four times more likely to display at least one “unsafe crossing behavior,” such as ignoring traffic signals or failing to look both ways.
  • In a recent study that looked at headphones and pedestrian distraction, of 116 reported deaths involving pedestrians wearing headphones, 68% were male and 67% were under the age of 30. The majority of vehicles involved in the crashes were trains (55%), and 89% of the incidents occurred in urban areas. Seventy-four percent of case reports stated that the victim was wearing headphones at the time of the crash.

Safety Tips

To be safe and alert when walking, keep in mind these important tips:

  • If you must use headphones or other electronic devices, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.
  • If you need to talk to a child or the person next to you, make a phone call, text or other action that could distract you from the goal of getting where you need to go safely, stop and do so away from the pedestrian traffic flow.
  • While you walk, focus on the people, objects, and obstacles around you.
  • Don’t jaywalk. Cross streets carefully, preferably at a traffic light, remaining cognizant of the pedestrian traffic flow and the cars and bikes in and near the road.
  • Look up, not down, especially when stepping off or onto curbs or in the middle of major intersections; and/or when walking or approaching on stairs or escalators.
  • Stay alert in mall and other parking lots, and on and near streets, especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier and drivers are not as likely to see you.

Read the original article here at OrthoInfo.

2016-06-08T20:08:20+00:00June 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Bicycle Safety


More than 80 million people in the United States have taken up bicycling for fun, exercise, and transportation.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 1.3 million cycling injuries were reported in 2014.

Common Bicycle Injuries

Bruises and minor cuts are usually the leading types of injuries involving bicycles, followed by fractures, muscle strains, and sprains. However, serious injuries, including death, do occur. Some of the most common cycling injuries that orthopaedic surgeons treat include broken collar bones and wrists.

Tips for Preventing Injuries

To minimize your risk of injury while riding a bicycle:

  • Wear a helmet. Studies show that wearing a bike helmet reduces your risk of serious head and brain
    injury by 85%. Always wear a helmet approved by the American National Standards Institute.
    • Make sure the helmet fits snugly but comfortably, and does not obstruct your vision.
    • It should have a chin strap and buckles that stay securely fastened.
  • Follow the rules of the road. Familiarize yourself with all of the bicycle rules of the road in your city or state.

    Ride in the direction of traffic. Follow traffic signs and lights. Signal your turns
    or your intentions so that drivers can anticipate your actions. If you are riding
    with others, ride single file.

  • Ride defensively. Understand that drivers often do not see cyclists, so you must be fully aware of
    your surroundings and ready to act to avoid a collision. Intersections are especially
    dangerous because drivers making turns are not necessarily looking for cyclists.
    Be careful when riding next to parked cars to avoid being hit by an opening door.
  • Choose bike routes wisely. Avoid riding on high traffic roads. The most direct route to your destination is
    often not the safest because more vehicles will also take that route. Select streets
    with fewer and slower cars.

    Whenever possible, choose streets with designated bicycle lanes. If there is not
    a bicycle lane, ride on the right shoulder of the road.

    Choose wide streets. When a street lane is too narrow for a vehicle and bicycle
    to safely ride side-by-side, or if there are several parked cars on the street, you
    will need to join traffic and ride toward the center of the road. If this causes traffic
    behind you to jam, or if cars are switching lanes trying to pass you, it is safest
    to find a different, quieter street.

  • Avoid distracted cycling. Do not listen to loud music with head phones, talk on your phone, text, or do anything
    else that can obstruct your hearing and/or vision while riding.
  • Take extra precautions while bicycling at night. Wear bright fluorescent colors and make sure to have rear reflectors. Both a working
    tail light and headlight should be visible from 500 feet away.
  • No drugs or alcohol. Never ride a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Never underestimate road conditions. Be cautious of uneven or slippery surfaces.
  • Maintain your bicycle. Check your bicycle’s mechanical components on a regular basis (brakes, tires, gears,
    etc.), just like you would for a car. If your bike is not in good condition, do not
    ride it.
  • Adjust your bicycle to fit. Make certain the bicycle is the proper size for the rider. Appropriately sized frames,
    handlebar and seat heights will improve your ability to control the bike, and reduce
    the risk for overuse injuries. If you ride regularly, consider a professional fit
    from a bike shop.
  • Dress appropriately. Avoid loose clothing and wear appropriate footwear. Never wear flip flops. Wear
    padded gloves. Use appropriately padded cycling shorts for longer rides. Wear sunscreen.
    If you commute on your bike, carry your belongings in a bag with close fitting straps.
  • Pace yourself. Cycling can be vigorous exercise. Make sure you are fit enough to participate before
    you start pedaling. In addition, make sure you understand how to use the gear systems
    on your bike to help control your physical exertion level. See your doctor before
    you begin any exercise program.
  • Change riding positions. Slight variations in your position can reduce stress on pressure points on your body
    and avoid overstressing muscles.
  • Hydrate. Be sure to carry water and food on longer rides. Drink a full water bottle each
    hour you spend on the bike.
  • Supervise younger riders at all times. It is recommended that younger children ride only in enclosed areas — away from
    moving vehicles and traffic.

Read the original article here at OrthoInfo.

2016-05-12T20:46:53+00:00May 12th, 2016|Uncategorized|

Dr. Jason A. Nitche Celebrates First Anniversary At Brielle Orthopedics

Brielle Orthopedics welcomed Jason A. Nitche, MD, in August 2009. Since then, the orthopedic surgeon experienced in a range of specialties has helped the practice’s patients, many of them athletes, return to their pre-injury level of activity. Dr. Nitche focuses mainly on sports medicine and knee and shoulder surgery, performing the highly technical arthroscopic knee resurfacing procedure. He also provides general orthopedic care, fracture care and cartilage transplantation.

After earning his medical degree from UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Dr. Nitche completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, special training in musculoskeletal oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and a fellowship in sports medicine/knee and shoulder surgery at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. While in Cleveland, he further honed his sports medicine skills by serving as an Assistant Team Physician for the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians. Dr. Nitche has been a physician for the United States Figure Skating Championships and for Rutgers University as well.

“I’m so pleased to be part of the team at Brielle Orthopedics, which is known for providing the highest quality of orthopedic care,” says Dr. Nitche, who is originally from New Jersey and now lives here with his wife and two small children. “I enjoy having the opportunity to treat my patients using the most cutting-edge surgical techniques in a field that is constantly changing and expanding for the better.”

For more than 30 years, Brielle Orthopedics has provided the full range of orthopedic services, delivered by board-certified physicians with extensive experience in the most advanced diagnostic and treatment modalities. The growing practice operates offices in Brick and Forked River.

2014-10-16T18:47:01+00:00September 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Dr. James Polowczyk Marks Eighteen Months With Brielle Orthopedics

“Most people think of podiatry as just treatment for corns and calluses. What I do is anything orthopedic involving the foot and ankle, from nonoperative medical management of chronic arthritis and tendonitis to all aspects of surgical care,” explains James Polowczyk, DPM, who joined Brielle Orthopedics in July 2009.

Dr. Polowczyk specializes in fracture care, wound care, arthroscopy and surgical reconstruction of the foot and ankle. Following his medical education at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, he trained as a resident at Frankford Hospital-Jefferson Health System, a busy trauma hospital in Philadelphia.

As a runner with 5K, 10K and half-marathon races to his credit, and plans to participate in similar competitions in the future, Dr. Polowczyk truly understands the importance of good foot and ankle health. He also acknowledges the expertise available at Brielle Orthopedics to patients suffering from foot and ankle conditions and trauma. “Brielle is a well established practice with highly experienced clinical staff. It’s been a great opportunity for me to work alongside such a nice and compassionate group of physicians.”

For more than 30 years, Brielle Orthopedics has provided the full range of orthopedic services, delivered by board-certified physicians with extensive experience in the most advanced diagnostic and treatment modalities. The growing practice operates offices in Brick and Forked River.

2014-10-16T18:53:56+00:00September 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

On October 17, 2010, Team Brielle Orthopedics participated in the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk in Point Pleasant, NJ. Over 20 Brielle employees and family members walked and as a team, raised approximately $2,200.00!

2014-10-16T18:54:22+00:00September 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Brielle Orthopedics Hosts Educational Dinner

Shore Conference Trainers Learn about the Latest in Sports Medicine

Twenty-five high school athletic trainers and health affiliates attended a special dinner and educational forum hosted by Brielle Orthopedics on March 10th at Jimmy C’s in Toms River, New Jersey. Attendees, members of the Shore Conference of private and public high schools in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, enjoyed a delicious meal with fellow trainers, followed by an informative discussion on cutting-edge treatments for common sports injuries. They also received an Under Amour® backpack as a token gift.

Brielle Orthopedic specialists delivered 20-minute presentations and then conducted Q&A sessions. Dr. Jason Nitche, fellowship trained in Sports Medicine, talked about medial elbow injuries. Podiatrist Dr. Jim Polowczyk, spoke on management of traumatic midfoot injuries. Dr. Brian Katt, fellowship trained in orthopedic hand surgery, addressed treatment of scaphoid fractures in the athlete.

Brielle has hosted educational dinners for the past six years and plans to continue this tradition well into the future. “The purpose of this seminar was to share our knowledge and experiences in dealing with specific musculoskeletal conditions,” says Dr. Nitche . “We had an excellent turnout despite the inclement weather and we look forward to our next get together this fall.”

Brielle Orthopedics, P.A. has become the leading provider of orthopedic care in the Jersey Shore area. Its nine expertly trained physicians treat patients in both Brick and Forked River, New Jersey. Three physician assistants, on-site physical therapy, and a caring and efficient staff complement the physicians, making the practice the area’s premier destination for musculoskeletal care. Brielle is accredited through the Shore Conference Athletic Trainer Association to grant continuing education credit.

2014-10-16T18:56:31+00:00September 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Joint Replacement Gives Patients a New Lease on Life

Dr. David Rodricks of Brielle Orthopedics Offers Experience and Expertise

They typically range in age from 40 to 80-plus and include ex-athletes with post-traumatic arthritis, sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, people struggling with obesity, and individuals learning of joint deformities they never knew they had. What these patients of Brielle Orthopedics in Brick, New Jersey, all have in common is Dr. David Rodricks, who has helped alleviate their pain and disability and restored their function and mobility through joint replacement.

“Many of my patients have been active for years, and now high school and college sports injuries, or even just the aging process, have caught up with them and are preventing them from doing things as simple as shopping or driving. They’re in pain a lot of the time,” says Dr. Rodricks, a board certified orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in lower extremity reconstruction. “Today, we’re able to replace knees and hips with implants that are tailor-made for patients, and do minimally invasive procedures that require smaller incisions than traditional procedures and result in less blood loss and quicker recovery. Patients usually go home within a few days after surgery.”

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, nearly 600,000 knee replacements and upward of 200,000 hip replacements are performed annually in the United States. Advances in the field have yielded implants made of metal and plastic materials that offer durability, strength and longevity, the last particularly important to younger patients. Dr. Rodricks points to the Smith & Nephew knee and hip implants he uses as examples, which are manufactured with oxinium, a metallic alloy with a ceramic surface that endures for up to 30 years.

Implants for partial knee replacement, also performed by Dr. Rodricks, have improved over time as well. While not as common as total knee replacement, partial (or unicompartmental) knee replacement can be an effective alternative for patients with arthritis or disorders affecting only the medial (or inner) area of the knee. Dr. Rodricks, who does 200 total knee, 100 total hip and 30 partial knee replacements each year, cautions that not everyone is a candidate for a partial procedure.

All patients, however, are suited to a minimally invasive approach, which is not provided by all orthopedic surgeons. Patients come from throughout New Jersey and neighboring states to see Dr. Rodricks and benefit from his extensive experience and personal attention—he has practiced for eight years, three of which have been at Brielle Orthopedics. With such a high volume of joint replacements to his credit, he is able to complete these surgeries in one hour and thereby reduce the risk of associated complications. He also does complex revisions of failed joint replacements that other surgeons refer to him, and also specializes in sports medicine, hip resurfacing and fracture care.

Still, Dr. Rodricks stresses that he and his colleagues at Brielle exhaust all conservative options for their patients before turning to surgery. “We really have the most talented combination of orthopedic surgeons around. There’s nothing we can’t handle,” he says. “But we’re certainly not ‘surgery happy’. Three-quarters of what we do is nonsurgical.”

Dr. Rodricks heralds from a family of physicians, earned his medical degree at Thomas Jefferson Medical School, and did his postgraduate training at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Scripps Clinic in California. He previously served as Medical Director of the Center for Joint Health at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, New Jersey. He chose orthopedics as his clinical specialty, because “it’s one of the most rewarding fields of medicine and has a high success rate in helping people. And as an athlete in high school and college, I suffered my fair share of injuries, so I’m able to connect with knee and hip patients.

“Without a doubt, joint replacement can make a huge difference in people’s lives and really improve their quality of life.”

2014-10-16T18:56:51+00:00September 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|

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