Category Archives: Injuries

How to Prevent Winter Injuries

stickney-winterWith winter comes the holidays, ski vacations, and long-awaited snow days. However, the ice and inclement weather can also lead to an increase in slips, falls, and injuries that may need treatment by an orthopedic surgeon. To make sure you can get the most out of the season, follow these tips from Dr. Alan S. Hilibrand to stay pain-free while hitting the slopes and spending time with family.

Practice Ladder Safety
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2015, nearly 566,000 Americans received a ladder-related injury and 69,000 went to the doctor or emergency room due to injuries incurred in holiday decorating. Whether you’re removing your holiday decorations or taking care of housework, prevent injury by selecting the right ladder — step stools and utility ladders for low and medium heights, extension ladders for outdoors — and never exceeding the ladder’s maximum load capacity. Make sure it doesn’t have any damage, is clean, and is set on a firm, level surface.

Don’t Rush Holiday Travel
Unfortunately, travel and stress can often be synonymous, and in our hurry to get to our destination or avoid lines, we might strain our backs lifting heavy luggage. In 2015, according to the CPSC, over 84,500 Americans sought medical attention for injuries incurred while lifting or moving luggage — minimize your risk by packing light, being conscientious when carrying a heavy suitcase, and always lifting by bending at your knees and using your legs, rather than your back or waist.

Stay Safe on the Slopes
In 2015, almost 150,000 people sought medical treatment for injuries from skiing and snowboarding. Make sure you’re not sitting the season out by stretching and warming up before tackling fresh powder, and always wear the correct protective gear to keep your joints safe. Know the rules of the sport you’re participating in, and allow your body time to rest in between runs.

Take Precautions Around Snow
Over 165,000 people visited the doctor or emergency room due to injuries from shoveling snow or using a snow blower in 2015. Whatever your preferred method of tackling snow, check with your physician ahead of time to make sure you don’t have any heart or vascular conditions that could be aggravated. Warm up with light exercise 10 minutes prior to going outside, wear correct footwear, and in the case of falling, try to land on your side or buttocks to minimize injury.

Drive Cautiously
Keep an eye out for black ice and other hazardous conditions, and to make sure you, other drivers, and pedestrians stay safe, err on the side of caution. Keep distance between cars, and give yourself plenty of time to brake before stop signs and red lights. If you feel uncomfortable, reduce your speed. 

Suffering from a winter-related accident? Dealing with joint pain that impacts your ability to make the most of the season? Contact Dr. Stickney, a Kirkland orthopedic surgeon specializing in procedures such as total knee replacement and shoulder surgery.


AAOS Tips for Preventing Summer Injuries

urban bicyclists

As summer arrives, it is inevitable that we come out of our winter hibernation and become more active. Regrettably though, with more activity comes the increased chance of orthopedic injuries. In hospitals the summer season is also known as “trauma season” because adult injuries spike by 25-30%. Although not all of these injuries are orthopedic, the vast majority of these injuries fall into this category.

The most common types of summer orthopedic injuries come from: biking accidents, lawn mower mishaps, ladder incidents, swimming injuries, ATV calamities, trampoline trauma, and funky falls. Luckily, AAOS has created a vast amount of resource information for orthopedic surgeons to provide to their patients, including public service announcements and safe walking and driving advice.

AAOS Public Service Announcements

This summer season, the AAOS decided to focus their public service announcements on ladder and bike safety. These injury-prevention efforts were taken so seriously that a ladder safety ad was created in conjunction with the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, whereas the bike ad was created with the help of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. In addition to these two ads, the AAOS also created postcards, posters, and downloadable images for some of their 2015 PSAs relating to swimming and motorcycle accidents. To access these additional PSAs visit and

Ladder Safety

Ladder safety is something that we all take for granted. Thus, AAOS felt it necessary to post a PSA on the matter. The ladder announcement advises that if injury is to be prevented, ladder safety should be learned BEFORE climbing the ladder. The ad tells people: that “Climbing a ladder might be the most dangerous thing [they] do all year,” due to the high risk of foot and ankle fractures. To avoid injury, the ad advises people to:

  • Make sure they have the balance and strength to use a ladder.
  • Take the time to secure it properly.
  • Not to stand above the marked level.
  • Always wear lace-up shoes or boots.

Additional precautions can be found at

Bike Safety

Bike safety is something that every parent tries to instill in their child, but sometimes the lessons don’t take hold. To pack a punch, the bike safety PTA depicts a bicycle made out of bones. The graphic points out just how fragile bike riders are in comparison to cars. The goal of the ad is to show how vulnerable to injury bikers can be. To highlight this fact the ad says: “So, even when a rider does something boneheaded, remember – your broken headlight is easier to fix than their broken bones. Take the high road and give bicyclist the space they need to ride safely.” The tips provided in the PTA are great tools for parents to use when teaching their kids about bike safety AND for the average adult biker and driver! For more information on bike safety, visit

Distracted walking and driving

This summer, the AAOS saw fit to emphasize walking and driving safety. In 2009, AAOS launched the “Decide to Drive” campaign, which educates people about the danger of distracted driving. gives all the statistics, videos, downloads, contests, and ideas for social media posts related to distracted driving that anybody could ever need. All of the tips provided on the page are extremely useful when providing patients with information on the orthopedic injuries that can occur as a result of distracted driving. So, be a responsible driver and check out all the tips “Decide to Drive” can offer you.

Due to the digital craze, people nowadays can be seen walking and texting with no regard for what dangers may lie outside of the telephone screen. Thus, the AAOS recently extended its injury-prevention efforts to include “Digital Deadwalkers.” This campaign includes radio and television PSAs that humorously highlight the dangers of pedestrians focusing on anything or anyone other than the task of walking to their destination safely. Be an informed citizen and check out the funny videos this campaign has to offer at Who knows, you could be the “Digital Deadwalker” everybody is trying to avoid.

Although AAOS has chosen to highlight ladder and bike safety along with distracted driving and walking, there are plenty of other summer dangers that may result in a visit to an orthopedic doctor. Check out AAOS’ “Prevent Injuries America” website for more articles and videos to help you prevent summer injuries.

If you are interested in accessing the PSAs in this article, visit

Hilibrand, Alan S. “Preventing Common Summer Injuries.” AAOS. AAOS, May 2016.
Toland, Bill. “Summertime Is ‘trauma Season’ for Hospital ERs.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 2014. Web.