Splishing and Splashing Safely; Orthopaedic Surgeons Offer Safety Tips for Swimmers

ROSEMONT, IL--(Marketwire - July 22, 2008) - There's no better way to beat the heat than a swim. Whether it's a dip in the pool or a day at the beach, swimming can be a great form of relaxation and exercise. Since water creates buoyancy, it's also an excellent activity for those with musculoskeletal conditions. However, swimming can pose hidden dangers if proper precautions aren't taken, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

--  Nearly 172,000 swimming-related injuries, such as fractures, strains,
    sprains and contusions, were treated in 2007 in emergency rooms, doctors'
    offices and clinics, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
    Commission.  With a bit of common sense, many of these injuries can be

"Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness," said Joseph Weistroffer, MD orthopaedic surgeon specializing in the spine and member of the Academy's Leadership Fellows Program. "One must remember to exercise caution while swimming, especially before diving or jumping into unknown depths of water, where many head, neck and back injuries can occur."

The AAOS offers these additional tips to make swimming as safe as possible:

--  Do not swim alone or allow others to swim alone.
--  Make sure children are supervised at all times.
--  Swim only in supervised areas where lifeguards are present.
--  Don't attempt to swim if tired, cold or overheated.
--  An inexperienced swimmer should wear a life jacket in the water.
--  When swimming in open water, never run and never enter waves head
--  Don't dive into shallow water.
--  Before diving, inspect the depth of the water to make sure it is deep
    enough for diving.
--  If diving off a cliff or other high point, make sure the bottom of the
    body of water is double the distance from which you're diving. For example,
    if you plan to dive from eight feet above the water, make sure the bottom
    of the body of water, or any rocks, boulders or other impediments are at
    least 16 feet under water.
--  Only one person at a time should stand on a diving board. Dive only
    off the end of the board and do not run on the board. Do not try to dive
    far out or bounce more than once. Swim away from the board immediately
    afterward to make room for the next diver.
--  Refrain from body surfing near the shore since this activity results
    in many cervical spine injuries, some with quadriplegia, as well as
    shoulder dislocations and humeral fractures.
--  Carefully monitor weather conditions before and while swimming. Avoid
    being in the water during storms, fog or high winds. Do not swim in a lake
    or river after a storm, if the water seems to be rising or if there is
--  Develop a plan for reaching medical personnel who can treat swimming-
    related injuries. Anyone watching young children near the water should
    learn CPR and be able to rescue a child.

For more information on swimming safety


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Contact Information: For more information, contact: Lauren Pearson 847-384-4031 Catherine Dolf 847-384-4034