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Research and Advances

Clinical Research

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Funded in part by the Lynn Taylor Staheli Endowed Chair in Pediatric Orthopedics, our growing research program is discovering better ways to diagnose and care for muscular and skeletal conditions in children.

Fractures and trauma

In 2004, we began a trauma registry, or database, to record the number of children treated for trauma and their outcomes in our region.

The registry includes information about fractures — those caused by accidents and sports injuries and non-accident-related ones.

Led by Dr. Ernest “Chappie” U. Conrad and his clinical team, the data we collect will allow us to easily share our expertise and outcomes with patients and families.

Sports Injuries

When children tear their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, they sometimes need surgery to fix the tear. The operation doctors now use to fix ACL tears includes placing a pin through growth plates, the area of the bone that determines the length of a child’s limb.

Dr. Gregory A. Schmale and his team are studying whether putting the pin through the growth plate can cause the bone to stop growing.

We are studying children who had an ACL tear and surgery to repair it while they were still growing. We will follow these children for at least two years and hope to learn whether the surgery has had an effect on their growth.

The results of our study will help us know whether the operation doctors now use affects children’s growth, and will help doctors choose surgical techniques in the future that do not change children’s growth.

Walking and Physical Activity

Some problems, such as being overweight, having cerebral palsy or being born with a deformed rib cage, can limit a child’s activity in school, sports and the community.

Dr. Kristie F. Bjornson is leading a study comparing the walking patterns of children whose physical problems limit their activities to the walking patterns of children without these problems.

For a week, children in this study wear a monitor the size of a pager on their ankle that counts how many steps they take every day. They also answer a questionnaire about their physical activity during the week.

The information we gather will help us choose treatments that help children to be active in school and at home.

For example, we may look at how operations to fix deformities in children’s hips, knees and ribs affect their ability to be active, and whether fitness programs help these children.

Outcomes for Bone Cancer

Dr. Ernest “Chappie” U. Conrad is leading a study of different ways to measure how children do after they have treatment and surgery for bone cancer.

Children who are recovering from bone cancer and can walk wear a monitor the size of a pager on their ankle that counts how many steps they take every day. The children and their families also answer a questionnaire about the child’s physical activity and health.

We will compare the information from the children who are recovering from bone cancer with information from children who have not had bone cancer.

This will help us understand the effects of surgery and other treatment for bone cancer on children’s physical activity, health and quality of life.

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