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Physical injuries increase during summertime

June 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Once it's summer out comes the skateboards, rollerblades, volleyballs and whatever else you can find to get yourself in trouble.

A young surfer was in sheer agony after a complete shoulder dislocation.

"They come into the emergency room and we have to put the ball back into the socket basically," said musculoskeletal radiologist Dr. Joseph C. Giaconi. "And it can be pretty painful."

But the suffering doesn't stop there. After doctors popped the bone back, images showed how he tore up the lining of his shoulder.

Giaconi says he sees about a 20 percent increase in bone fractures every summer. The number one injury is ankle sprains.

Susana Davidov, 20, says she was playing in a summer soccer training program when her foot went one way and her body the other.

"Because I was so exhausted my muscles were giving out," said Davidov. "So it took all the force, and it just completely twisted on the field."

All the white areas on the MRI were swelling and damage. A sprain can feel as bad as broken bone; Davidov says it can feel even worse.

"Any movement at all was excruciating pain," said Davidov.

But the worst summer injuries Giaconi sees are neck fractures caused by diving into a shallow pool. There's an x-ray of man who is now paralyzed, and a woman in her 40s who was bike riding without a helmet. The impact caused internal bleeding and swelling.

"Always wear a helmet if you are on a bike or a skateboard, or roller skates," said Giaconi. "You can avoid these injuries and not have a bad result."

A 6-year-old broke his forearm when he fell from monkey bars. Another x-ray shows someone's broken ring finger while playing beach volleyball. If a finger fracture goes untreated it can lose function. But a shattered kneecap means the leg won't function at all without surgery.

"It needs to be done in majority of cases to maintain normal functioning of the knee joint," said Giaconi.

Proper padding and protection is a must, but some summertime injuries are unavoidable. Giaconi says proper strength and muscle conditioning can help.

"If you haven't been very active all winter long, don't just immediately go out and try to do something full force and overexert yourself," said Giaconi. "We advise working your way up in activity."

After a shoulder has been dislocated once it's more likely to happen again. Giaconi says most diving into shallow water injuries occur in young men who've been drinking too much.


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