Stories about: Ask the Expert

What you should know about knee instability and dislocations in young athletes

lead image Milewski patellofemoral instability

Pain in the kneecap (patella) is very common in young athletes. It’s estimated that up to 15% of adolescents get some degree of patellofemoral pain. Most can be treated with rest, ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and sometimes rehab exercises. But instability of the patella — known as patellofemoral instability — is relatively less common, and more worrisome for children and adolescents.

The term “patellofemoral instability” can refer to either a traumatic injury in which a person dislocates their patella, or just general instability in the knee that a person may feel or a physician may observe upon examination. In both cases, it’s important the individual receives the proper treatment in order to avoid long-term damage.

Thriving talked to Dr. Matthew Milewski, a pediatric orthopedic sports medicine surgeon in Boston Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, about what kids and parents should be aware of if they experience this knee condition.

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Coming of age in a Snapchat world: How do I keep my child safe?

How to keep your kids safe on social media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Reddit. As a parent, your instinct is always to protect your child. But how 
do you protect them in the ever-evolving digital landscape? Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and is changing the way we interact with the world around us. According to a study by Common Sense Media, teenagers use an average of nine hours of entertainment media a day and tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours per day. This does not include using media for school or homework.

What is the long-term impact of this amount of media exposure on the developing brain? We don’t yet know. What we do know is that it is impossible to prevent your child from using social media. So, how can you help them use it safely?

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Celebration = intoxication is a dangerous message for kids

For kids, celebrating should not go hand-in-hand with substance use

On New Year’s Eve, CNN fielded reporters all over the country to cover and arguably, to define how Americans celebrate. A report from a “puff, pass and paint” party in Denver, in which revelers flaunted their marijuana use, caught the attention of millions of viewers and became a subject of discussion nationally.

The arrival of marijuana in the realm of legal and now socially-accepted substances, strengthens the message that substance use is required for having a good time.Showcasing marijuana use on national television is relatively new following the recent liberalization of marijuana policy in several states and the novelty incited significant coverage. But the underlying message that strives to define substance use as a necessary (and perhaps sufficient) component of celebration is anything but new.

In fact, incessant references to drinking and being drunk have been part of popular film and television culture for decades and now usually goes largely unnoticed. We seem to have accepted that being drunk is synonymous to having a good time, though this message which has its roots in the alcohol industry is more the work of years of successful advertising campaigns than a biologically based truth.

The arrival of marijuana in the realm of legal and now socially-accepted substances, further strengthens the message that substance use is required for having a good time which is already implicitly accepted. This notion risks causing significant harms to our kids and deserves closer scrutiny.

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Three simple ways we can all help prevent gun violence

3 ways to prevent gun violence

We are coming up on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, in which a young man opened fire on a classroom of first-graders, killing 20 of them and 6 adults — after having killed his mother at home. While nothing can eclipse this tragedy, since then there have been many more tragedies, such as the shooting in Las Vegas, the church shooting in Texas and the recent shooting in Northern California where, thanks to the quick actions of the staff of a local elementary school, the shooter’s attempts to enter the school were foiled. He shot through the windows instead, injuring a child.

In 2014, more than 33 thousand people in the United States died from firearms. For comparison, that’s the same as the amount who died from motor vehicle accidents. Just as we are tirelessly working to keep people from being killed in or by cars, we need to work tirelessly so that fewer people die from guns.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, it looked like we were might have legislation to help prevent gun violence. But quickly we got mired in politics — and a lot of very strong feelings. Clearly, for many people gun ownership is a precious right — and clearly, death from firearms is a complicated problem without easy fixes.

That’s why we need to look for simple ways that we can all work together so that fewer people die. Here are three suggestions.

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