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Hospital for Special Surgery mitigates musculoskeletal conditions

In 1987, the Leon Root, MD Pediatric Outreach Program, a free community-based program, was designed by The Hospital for Special Surgery to conduct musculoskeletal screenings for children attending public school in underserved areas to prevent long-term musculoskeletal disorders and severe joint disability. In 2016, given the rise of sports injuries among student athletes, POP evolved and shifted its focus to screening for sports-related injuries. It is estimated that 35 million student athletes play organized sports in the U.S. each year, a trend that has partly contributed to the rise of injuries in this population.

POP is a unique, community-based screening and education program that helps reduce the burden of chronic diseases and health disparities. POP detects musculoskeletal conditions early, providing treatment before they can lead to chronic orthopedic disorders. The program also provides education to reduce the risk of sports-related injuries, targeting student athletes in middle and high schools located in culturally diverse, low-income neighborhoods in New York City.

In addition to improving access to high-quality and specialized care through free musculoskeletal screenings and education, POP’s objectives are to:

  • screen student athletes to detect musculoskeletal injuries and poor movement quality;
  • teach student athletes how to move properly; and
  • educate coaches to identify and correct movement deficiencies known to increase anterior cruciate ligament injury risk.

These goals align with New York state Prevention Agenda priority, “Preventing Chronic Disease,” with a focus on area 4.4: Chronic Disease Preventive Care and Management, which aims to increase the percentage of individuals with chronic conditions who have taken a course/class to learn how to manage their condition.

The Hospital for Special Surgery conducted 22 screenings, reaching 392 student athletes, and referred 149 students for follow-up care due to musculoskeletal issues and primary care concerns, resulting in 44 clinical visits to HSS. Movement analyses revealed that students had inadequate lower extremity alignment when performing a double leg vertical jump (59.8%), and single right and left leg vertical jump (80.4% and 80.2%, respectively). Educational workshops showed a 0.8% increase in overall knowledge of proper movement techniques. Specifically, increases were seen in students who identified the correct movement techniques for performing a plank (46.6%; p≤ 0.05), a lunge (14.6%) and a landing (8.3%).

For more information, contact Vilma Briones, public and patient education manager, at brionesv@hss.edu or (212) 774-2886.