1. Section Editor(s): Rodts, Mary Faut DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN
  2. Editor

Article Content

The benefit of participating in an active lifestyle is a well-known topic and one that appears in many media presentations, whether that is television, internet, and professional or lay journals. It is a popular topic this time of year for just about anyone who is doing community outreach to patients, such as hospital systems and orthopaedic physician practices. Getting ready to take on summer fun activities may be fraught with aches, pains, and limitations. What strategies can be implemented to get back to the active summertime activities we all love is always part of that discussion. But what about teenagers with orthopaedic limitations?

Mary Faut Rodts, DNP... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Faut Rodts, DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN Editor

In a 2013 discussion by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2014), 15.2% of high school students had not participated in 60 minutes of physical activity for one day in the preceding seven days. This was not related to any kind of limitation. The CDC (2015) identified the following benefits of physical activity in young people:


Helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles; helps reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer; reduces feelings of depression and anxiety and promotes psychological well-being; and may help improve students' academic performance, including: academic achievement and grades, academic behavior, such as time on task and factors that influence academic achievement, such as concentration and attentiveness in the classroom.


The benefits are clear. But what if the adolescent has an orthopaedic limitation that prevents participation?


Coley Vitztum, in her article "Physical Activity in Adolescents with an Orthopedic Limitation: A Review of the Literature" (p. 138-147), reviews the literature and discusses the advantages of activity in adolescents who have orthopaedic problems that limit their ability to participate in usual teenage activities.


Orthopaedic nurses are often in the position to help counsel adolescent patients and their families about activities that may be possible despite an orthopaedic limitation. Whether the limitation will be short-lived or lifelong, the importance of understanding the benefits of physical activity and being able to help the teenager develop a plan to maintain some level of fitness and interaction with other teens yet also comply with the physical limitations and instructions imposed by the problem is extremely beneficial to the patient and family. Vitztum's article should help each of us understand the benefits of activity in this vulnerable population and help become an advocate for our patients.




Center for Disease Control. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance-United States, 2013. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report, 63(SS-4), 35. [Context Link]


Center for Disease Control. (2015). Physical activity and the health of young people. Retrieved May 8, 2015 from [Context Link]