Orthopedic Injuries Rise with Hoverboard Popularity

Hoverboards, one of the hottest gifts for both kids and adults this past holiday season, are also becoming a popular reason for visits to the emergency room.
An item that is a mixture of a skateboard and a Segway, a hoverboard allows the rider to stand on a platform that will accelerate and move freely in the direction of the rider’s weight. While fun and perhaps exhilarating, hoverboards are also putting some riders at risk.
Orthopedic physicians are seeing an uptick in injuries to bones and joints, wrist and ankle injuries, and fractures. Other injuries associated with hoverboards include spinal fractures, facial lacerations, head trauma with concussion, and contusions. Some injuries are more serious because of the height and speed behind the fall.
Riders need to have good balance on the devices, which don’t have a handle. The faster riders go, the higher the injury risk. Hoverboards can speed up to 12 miles per hour.
To avoid and prevent serious injury from hoverboards, follow these safety tips:
* Wear a helmet
* Wear wrist guards, elbow pads and knee pads
* Practice and become familiar with the hoverboard in an open, soft flat field
* Be mindful of vehicles and other forms of traffic and impediments (stay off the roads)
Supervise children using hoverboards and take the same precautions as you would for using a scooter, bicycle or roller blades, especially wearing a certified safety helmet.
When it comes to hoverboard safety for children and adults alike, start slow and make sure you have something stable to hold on to while you’re getting a feel for the hoverboard.

Understanding Sciatica

Sciatica is a symptom of a problem with the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body.


It controls muscles in the back of your knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of your thigh, part of your lower leg, and the sole of your foot. When you have sciatica, you have pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling. It can start in the lower back and extend down your leg to your calf, foot, or even your toes. Sciatica usually occurs on only one side of your body.

Sciatica can consist of leg pain, which might feel like a bad leg cramp, or it can be excruciating, shooting pain that makes standing or sitting nearly impossible. The pain might be worse when you sit, sneeze, or cough.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica might be a symptom of a “pinched nerve” affecting one or more of the lower spinal nerves. The nerve might be pinched inside or outside of the spinal canal as it passes into the leg.

Conditions that cause sciatica:

  • A herniated or slipped disc that causes pressure on a nerve root — This is the most common cause of sciatica.
  • Piriformis syndrome — This develops when the piriformis muscle, a small muscle that lies deep in the buttocks, becomes tight or spasms, which can put pressure on and irritate the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal stenosis — This condition results from narrowing of the spinal canal with pressure on the nerves.
  • Spondylolisthesis — This is a slippage of one vertebra so that it is out of line with the one above it, narrowing the opening through which the nerve exits

How Is Sciatica Treated?

Medicine — Pain medicines and anti-inflammatory drugs help to relieve pain and stiffness, allowing for increased mobility and exercise. There are many common over-the-counter medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

Muscle relaxants might be prescribed to relieve the discomfort associated with muscle spasms. However, these medicines might cause confusion in older people. Depending on the level of pain, prescription pain medicines might be used in the initial period of treatment.

Physical therapy —The goal of physical therapy is to find exercise movements that decrease sciatic pain by reducing pressure on the nerve. A program of exercise often includes stretching exercises to improve flexibility of tight muscles and aerobic exercise, such as walking.

The therapist might also recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles of your back, abdomen, and legs.

Spinal injections — An injection of a cortisone-like anti-inflammatory medicine into the lower back might help reduce swelling and inflammation of the nerve roots, allowing for increased mobility.

Surgery — Surgery might be needed for people who do not respond to conservative treatment, who have progressing symptoms, and are experiencing severe pain.

Surgical options include:

  • Microdiscectomy — This is a procedure used to remove fragments of a herniated disc.
  • Laminectomy — The bone that curves around and covers the spinal cord (lamina), and the tissue that is causing pressure on the sciatic nerve are removed.

Sciatic pain usually goes away with time and rest. Most people with sciatica will get better without surgery. About half of affected individuals recover from an episode within six weeks.

Although it might not be possible to prevent all cases of sciatica, you can take steps to protect your back and reduce your risk.

  • Practice proper lifting techniques. Lift with your back straight, bringing yourself up with your hips and legs, and holding the object close to your chest. Use this technique for lifting everything, no matter how light.
  • Avoid or stop cigarette smoking, which promotes disc degeneration.
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles of your back and abdomen, which work to support your spine.
  • Use good posture when sitting, standing, and sleeping. Good posture helps to relieve the pressure on your lower back.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods.

Sciatica can occur suddenly or it can develop gradually. You might also feel weakness, numbness, or a burning or a pins-and-needles sensation down your leg, possibly even in your toes. Less common symptoms might include the inability to bend your knee or move your foot and toes.

If you think that pain could be sciatica, call your orthopedic physician for an appointment. No one needs to live with pain. Ask your orthopedic physician what treatment might be right for you.

Choosing the Right Athletic Shoe

Proper-fitting sports shoes can enhance performance and prevent injuries. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society suggests these guidelines when purchasing a new pair of athletic shoes.

  • If possible, purchase athletic shoes from a specialty store. The staff will provide valuable input on the type of shoe needed for your sport as well as help with proper fitting. This may cost a premium in price but is worthwhile, particularly for shoes that are used often.
  • Try on athletic shoes after a workout or run, or at the end of the day. Your feet will be at their largest.
  • Wear the same type of sock that you will wear for that sport.
  • When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes.
  • The shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. There is no break-in period.
  • Walk or run a few steps in your shoes. They should be comfortable.
  • Always re-lace the shoes you are trying on. You should begin at the farthest eyelets and apply even pressure as you create a crisscross lacing pattern to the top of the shoe.
  • There should be a firm grip of the shoe to your heel. Your heel should not slip as you walk or run.
  • If you participate in a sport three or more times a week, you need a sport-specific shoe.
  • It can be hard to choose from the many different types of athletic shoes available.

There are differences in design and variations in material and weight. These differences have been developed to protect the areas of the feet that encounter the most stress in a particular athletic activity.

Know Your Sport Shoes
If you play a sport three or more times per week, a sport-specific shoe may be necessary. Remember that after 300 to 500 miles of running or 300 hours of aerobic activity, the cushioning material in a shoe is usually worn down and it’s time to toss the shoes.

Many problems in the feet respond to stretching and conditioning, choosing a different shoe, and simple over-the-counter shoe modifications. However, long-term (chronic) and complicated problems of the feet may require specially designed inserts (orthoses) made of materials that concentrate relief on a particular area while supporting other areas. These conditions include severe flat foot, high arches, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis and turf toe.

To obtain the best relief for such problems, see an orthopedic surgeon, a doctor specializing in diseases of the bones and joints. The orthopedic surgeon is trained to treat problems of the foot and ankle. Working with orthopedic surgeons, pedorthists and orthotists are trained to make and modify arch supports (orthoses) and fulfill the surgeon’s prescription.

Working with these professionals will ensure you get the right shoe for the best possible treatment.

Dealing with Stress Fractures

A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone caused by overuse and high impact.

A stress fracture results from repetitive use injuries that exceed the ability of the bone to repair itself. Impact forces are transferred to the bones, causing microfractures that consolidate into stress fractures. Stress fractures occur in weight-bearing areas, commonly the lower leg, or tibia, and foot, or metatarsals.

Most stress fractures result from a rapid increase in the amount or intensity of exercise. Sports involving running or jumping place individuals at highest risk. Such sports include track and field, basketball, tennis, ballet, and gymnastics. Upper extremity stress fractures, though much less common than lower extremity stress fractures, can be caused by repetitive use of the arms in sports such as basketball or tennis.

Women are more likely than men to develop stress fractures. Women with irregular or absent periods – especially young female athletes – are at particularly high risk. About 60% of persons with a stress fracture have had a previous stress fracture.

Could It Be A Stress Fracture?

Dull, localized bone pain not associated with trauma that worsens with weight bearing or repetitive use. Localized swelling may occur at the pain site, which hurts to touch.

Orthopedic surgeons commonly utilize X-rays to determine stress fracture. Sometimes, the stress fracture cannot be seen on regular x-rays or will not show up for several weeks after the pain starts. Occasionally, a computed topography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be necessary.

How Are Stress Fractures Treated?

Stress fractures heal with time and rest. Athletes are advised to rest from any activity that caused the stress fracture for the 6 to 14 weeks that the fractures take to heal, or until pain-free for 2 to 3 weeks. Your orthopedic surgeon can give you the best idea of how long it will take for your stress fracture to heal. If activity is resumed too quickly, a larger stress fracture may develop, the original stress fracture may never heal, and athletes are at risk for re-injury. Activities of daily living and limited walking are permitted.

Ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can decrease pain and swelling. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may also be helpful. Substitution of a non-weight-bearing exercise, such as swimming, can prevent cardiovascular deconditioning.

Air splinting may help to speed recovery and reduce pain in severe or non-healing lower leg fractures. Other types of fractures occasionally require special shoes, casting or surgery. Ask your orthopedic surgeons which therapies are right for you.

If you have recurrent stress fractures, your orthopedic surgeon may advise an imaging test that assesses bone density.

How Can I Prevent Stress Fractures?

High-impact exercises should be increased gradually (not more than 10% per week). Athletes should stretch and warm-up appropriately before exercise. Using well-cushioned shoes in good condition can help prevent fractures. Ask your orthopedic surgeon if arch supports or orthotics are appropriate for your foot structure. Runners benefit from running on smooth, level surfaces.

Maintain adequate intake of calcium, a mineral found in bones, to have strong, healthy bones.

If you notice any pain or swelling during physical activity, refrain from that activity for a few days. Consult an orthopedic surgeon if the pain does not lessen.

Here Are Some Tips Developed By The American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons To Help Prevent Stress Fractures:

  1. When participating in any new sports activity, set incremental goals. Do not immediately set out to run five miles a day; instead, gradually build up your mileage on a weekly basis.
  2. Cross-training — alternating activities that accomplish the same fitness goals — can help to prevent injuries like stress fractures. Instead of running every day to meet cardiovascular goals, run on even days and bike on odd days. Add some strength training and flexibility exercises to the mix for the most benefit.
  3. Maintain a healthy diet. Make sure you incorporate calcium and Vitamin D-rich foods into your meals.
  4. Use the proper equipment. Do not wear old or worn running shoes.
  5. If pain or swelling occurs, immediately stop the activity and rest for a few days. If continued pain persists, see an orthopedic surgeon.
  6. It is important to remember that if you recognize the symptoms early and treat them appropriately, you can return to sports at your normal playing level.

Keeping Young Athletes Safe on Skis and Snowboards

Many parents worry at least a little every time they see their child or young teen head off for the slopes. With a little advice, you can help you’re your winter athlete excel and enjoy the sports they love, including skiing and snowboarding.

Snow sports are some of the most popular winter sports among young athletes in our area, and we take pride in helping our patients stay healthy and active on the mountain. We also understand the importance of safely getting your young athlete back on the slopes as soon as possible.

Skiing and snowboarding are extremely physically demanding sports, requiring high endurance and core strength, no matter what the age of the athlete. Athletes often snowboard or ski for an entire day, sometimes back-to-back days, which greatly fatigues the body and increases the risk of injury.

Skiing and snowboarding result in a large variety of non-contact injuries, many of which can be prevented. These types of non-contact injuries usually involve the muscles, joints and ligaments of the knee and ankle due to the high degree of leg movement involved in snow sports.

The most common ski injuries include knee, ankle and thumb sprains. Injuries to the wrist, shoulder and head are more commonly seen in snowboarding. Wrist fractures commonly happen when the hands and arms are used to brace falls.

Both skiing and snowboarding can result in the following injuries:

  • Arm and leg fractures
  • Concussions, usually caused from falls on ice, collisions with other athletes, trees or the ground
  • Knee injuries such as medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, with MCL strains being the most common knee injury
  • Ankle sprains
  • Muscle strains of the lower extremities (legs) and back

Tips for Injury Prevention

Regardless of a young athlete’s ability, wearing appropriate protective equipment is the best defense against injury. Skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets to prevent head injury, goggles to prevent eye injury, and wrist guards. Snowboarders who wear wrist guards have a 40% less chance of a wrist fracture.

More aggressive skiers and boarders who spend most of their time in the terrain parks or on extreme terrain should consider spine and body protection.

Snow sports are strenuous activities with heavy demands on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of the body. It is important that young athletes are in good physical and cardiovascular condition prior to attempting these activities. We recommend that beginners take professional lessons to develop skills and learn critical safety tips, such as how to take a fall on the snow.

Injuries Are Most Likely To Occur On:

  • The first day of skiing
  • In the early morning when the skier is not warmed up
  • In the late morning and late in the day when fatigue is a factor
  • At the end of the week when the cumulative effects of the vacation make the skier tired
  • Hard packed snow conditions can lead to impact injuries due to high speeds of the skier and the hard landing surface

General Injury Prevention:

  • Prepare for the season and get in shape
  • Get your equipment checked at a certified shop
  • Self-release your bindings each day you ski
  • Warm up and stretch before skiing
  • Don’t ski while intoxicated
  • Wear a helmet!
  • Snowboarders: Wear wrist guards!

Get a Grip on Winter’s Falls and Trips

No matter how often snow and ice is salted and removed from walking surfaces, you will probably encounter some slippery surfaces this winter. Walking to and from parking lots, on sidewalks, and between buildings during the winter months requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. We often forget how dangerous slipping and falling can be.

According to the National Safety Council, falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually. Many winter trips and falls result in fractures, spine injuries, and broken joints requiring care by an orthopedic physician.

Hazards to watch for in winter include snow-covered ice, black ice, uneven surfaces, and unsalted sidewalks and parking lots.

Report unsafe areas and unsalted parking lots and sidewalks to the appropriate personnel immediately. There are steps you can take to avoid injury. Wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice. Avoid boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels. Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas is dangerous. Look ahead when you walk; a snow- or ice-covered sidewalk may require travel along its grassy edge for traction. Focus completely on getting from point A to point B. Use extreme caution when clearing snow and ice.

How to keep from slipping on ice?

Here are some tips to help keep you safe – and upright – this wHowinter:

Walk Like a Penguin
Do the penguin shuffle!

Walking like a penguin can reduce your chances of slipping and falling. Focus on your footing – keep your head up, slowly take short steps or shuffle, extend your arms out to your sides for balance, and walk flatfooted. If you fall, try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine; relax your muscles and fall on your side.

Step Down – Not Out – of Cars
Swing both legs out. Place both feet, flatfooted, on the ground. Grab onto your car’s door frame or steering wheel to help support yourself to a standing position. Use at least three points of contact for support – two feet and one hand – when getting in and out of vehicles.

Step Down, Not Out…on the Curb
Be careful of transitions like curb to sidewalk.

Shorten your steps. Do not step too far out. Step flatfooted off the curb. This minimizes your forward momentum. Don’t allow your leading foot to land heel-first. If you do, you will slip.

Winter Sports Injury Prevention

Outdoor activities can be an excellent way to get some fresh air and exercise during the long, chilly winter months, but the cold temperatures and icy surfaces can also lead to more injuries.

Common winter sports injuries include sprains, strains, dislocations, and fractures. Orthopedic surgeons advise that a majority of these injuries can easily be prevented if participants prepare for their winter sport by keeping in good physical condition, staying alert, and stopping when they are tired or in pain.

Many of these sports injuries happen at the end of the day, when people overexert themselves to finish that one last run before the day’s end.

There are many things you can do to help prevent injury during favorite winter activities. Following is a list of tips to help you have fun while minimizing your risk of injury while enjoying winter sports such as skiing, skating, hockey, snowboarding, and sledding.

Never participate alone in a winter sport.

Keep in shape and condition muscles before participating in winter activities.

Warm up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. Start with some light exercises, followed by gentle stretching. Make sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. If skiing, take at least one warm up run before heading to more difficult slopes.

Wear appropriate winter sports protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding.

Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.

Wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.

Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating.

Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. Learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury.

Pay attention to warnings about upcoming winter storms and severe drops in temperature to ensure safety.

Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure everyone is aware of proper procedures for getting help, if injuries occur.

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.

Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or exhausted.

Become familiar with your surroundings. Know the whereabouts of fences, trees, rocks, open water, and ice patches so they can be avoided. Stay on marked trails and avoid any potentially dangerous areas such as steep hills. Slippery surfaces are particularly troublesome, as they can cause sudden jarring movements, e.g., unnatural fall avoidance.

Avoiding Leaf Raking Injuries

It is that time of year again. The kids enjoy jumping in the leaf piles but you are faced with the daunting task of raking all of those leaves.

Because raking requires different body positions and utilizes several muscle groups, the potential for injury is high. Orthopedic surgeons estimate that over 76,000 people seek care for injuries related to non-powered garden tools (including rakes) every year.

By following a few simple recommendations, hopefully you will avoid becoming a statistic.

  • Warm-up and stretch for a few minutes before beginning to rake. Example stretches include:
    • Trunk rotation stretch
    • Shoulder stretches
    • Wrist stretches
  • Make sure the yard is clear of debris to avoid trip hazards
  • Use a rake that is sized appropriately to your height and strength.
  • Avoid blisters by wearing gloves.
  • Wear skid-resistant shoes to minimize risks for slipping or falling. • Avoid twisting your body. Move your legs to shift your weight. Do not throw leaves over your shoulder or to the side; rake the leaves towards you. This will help to avoid excessive strain on your back muscles.
  • Do not bend over to pick up leaves or bags. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees to pick things up. Make sure the leaf bag is not too heavy to be able to pick up comfortably.
  • Raking is considered an aerobic activity. Pace yourself, take frequent breaks, and stay hydrated. If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911.
  • Cool down and stretch afterwards to relieve tension.

By following these simple recommendations, your raking experience can be a pain free, if not enjoyable one.

What our patients have to say

This is our place to reflect and share. Since gratitude is a positive emotion correlated with healing, we have invited you to experience our patients feedback and responses to our procedures. We thank you for all your kind words and are so happy to be of help you in your healing process. We are adding to our testimonial section, video reviews. Please watch as Lawrence Gonnello shares his story with us



Orthopedic surgeries
by Lawrence Gonnello, October 2014
Lawrence Gonnello has had 15 orthopedic surgeries in his lifetime — and he wouldn’t trust anyone other than Dr. Marshall P. Allegra to treat him. He has now known Dr. Allegra for at least 20 years, and continues to appreciate his personal, attentive care and the fact that Dr. Allegra helps patients get the treatment they need right away so they don’t have to be in pain a moment longer than necessary.


Ac Joint reconstructive ligament surgery
by Abe R on Aug 30th, 2013
Dr Allegra is outstanding in his ability perform great results from my surgery. I was extremely pleased with the outcome., patient care, his follow up and the staff.

Satisfied Patient
Jun 8th, 2013
Doctor Allegra is knowledgeable and competent. I had a successful knee replacement (after a manipulation 5 weeks post op). His office staff is responsive to calls and concerns. Wait time for your appointment is minimal – respects patient’s time, not just doctor’s time. I would recommend (and have!) to anyone who is looking for a good outcome to an orthopedic problem.

My Rotator cuff and Dr. Allegra
by Nora Tupino on Feb 21st, 2013
In August I fell while training for a marathon. By September I could not raise my right arm. I went to Dr. Allegra (he had done my knee several years ago) After an MRI he diagnosed a torn rotator cuff. After giving me a great deal of information as to the surgery I would need, what my post-op recovery would be, I had surgery in October at Shrewsbury Surgical Center. Even though the recovery for me was tough, I felt Dr. Allegra was sensitive to my need for pain control. My follow up visits were informative. He was persistent in my having a minimum of 3 months of physical therapy. Now 4 months after surgery, I have almost 100% range of motion in my right arm and I am training for my 2nd half Iron Man Triathlon in June.

Excellent Surgeon
by Sharon Rothenberg on Feb 8th, 2013
On 1/28/2013, I had a total hip replacement. Dr. Allegra used the transverse method, a procdure that he invented. This procedure is much better than the standard posterior hip replacement, in that it offers a quicker healing time, and results in less pain. No heavy pain medications are needed, after the first night. In fact, as of 2/1, I was only using tylenol for pain. This doctor is terrific. I would not use any other orthopedic surgeon.

Great doctor
Dec 3rd, 2012
When you have a big problem , your Dr. Has to be good. Well Dr. Allegra is the best orthopedic Dr. On earth. Just can’t say enough about him. Kind , gentile and so very smart. A Dr.’s doctor. Whatever the wait in the office it is well worth it. Be patient , he is worth the wait , the best in his field. None better period.

Wouldn’t choose any other doctor
Mar 5th, 2012
I’m a 51 year old guy who unfortunately has not had very much luck with my joints. I’ve had ACL Surgery, two Rotator Cuff surgeries and a Meniscus procedure done. I tore my ACL and made an appointment with Doctor Marshall Allegra . After meeting with Doctor Allegra I decided to go through with the surgery. Today my knee is stronger then ever. When I tore my Meniscus and then both Rotator Cuffs I decided to go back to the doctor who I put on a pedestal ! Doctor Allegra has fixed me up each and every time . My Physical Therapist is always amazed with my recovery and I always tell him the same thing, ‘ I have Doctor Allegra to thank for my recovery !”..I would rate Doctor Allegra as THE Top orthopedic doctor in New Jersey ! ! ! Thank You Doctor Allegra !

Very Happy
Apr 20th, 2011
I was first impressed with Dr Allegra when he treated my husband for a serious leg injury. He was honest and explained every dtail of his coindition and how to treat it and care for my husband once he was home. When my knee became an issue he did all he could to treat it without surgery and once it was obvious that surgery was necessary he took Wonderful care of me. He is very blunt and to the point but on one visit I was very emotional and he sat with me and reassured me that I was recovering well and I would have days when I did not feel that I was making progress. His compassion made me feel so much better

Sport Safety for Young Athletes

For young athletes, sports activities are more than just play.

Participation can improve physical fitness, coordination, and self-discipline, and help children learn teamwork.

However, children’s bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, making them more susceptible to injury. Growth plates are the areas of developing cartilage at the ends of long bones where bone growth occurs in children. The growth plates are weaker than the nearby ligaments and tendons. A twisted ankle that might result in a sprain in an adult, could result in a more serious growth plate fracture in a young athlete.

There are also significant differences in coordination, strength, and stamina from child to child and between children and adults. Young athletes of the same age can differ greatly in size and physical maturity. Grade school students are less likely to experience severe injuries during athletic activities because they are smaller and slower than older athletes. High school athletes, however, are bigger, faster, stronger, and capable of delivering tremendous forces in contact sports.

Acute sports injuries are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a twist, fall, or collision. Common acute injuries include broken bones, sprains (ligament injuries), strains (muscle and tendon injuries), and cuts or bruises.

Most acute injuries should be evaluated by an orthopedic physician. Prompt first aid treatment should be provided by coaches and parents when the injury occurs. This usually consists of the RICE method: rest, applying ice, wrapping with elastic bandages (compression), and elevating the injured arm, hand, leg, or foot. This usually limits discomfort and reduces healing time. Proper first aid will minimize swelling and help the doctor establish an accurate diagnosis.

Follow these tips to play it safe:
• Always be in proper physical condition to play a sport
• Know and abide by the rules of a sport
• Wear appropriate protective gear
• Know how to correctly use athletic equipment
• Always warm up before playing
• Stay hydrated
• Avoid playing when very tired or in pain

Following a regular conditioning program with exercises designed specifically for their chosen sport can help young athletes avoid injuries.

Coaches and parents are responsible for creating an atmosphere that promotes teamwork and sportsmanship. A young athlete striving to meet the unrealistic expectations of others may ignore warning signs of injury and continue to play with pain. The “win at all costs” attitude of many parents, coaches, professional athletes and peers can lead to injuries. Above all else, youth sports should always be fun.