How to Care for Your Cast

We know it’s not the best news when you or your child need to be placed in a cast. But your orthopedic knows it’s the best course of action for your injury to heal properly. For however long it needs to remain on, we have some tips on how to make sure your time in your cast is successful.

When You First Get Your Cast

When first injured, the swelling that occurs can make the cast feel tight and uncomfortable. It’s important to take measures to treat the swelling to help the healing process by doing the following in the first 24-72 hours.

ELEVATE – Prop the injured arm or leg with support so that it is above the heart to allow fluid and blood to drain.

MOVEMENT – Move uninjured fingers and toes to prevent stiffness.

ICE – Apply ice to the injured area. Be sure to place loose ice in a plastic bag to keep the area dry and loosely wrap around the cast.

Caring for Your Cast

KEEP IT DRY – It’s important to keep the cast, and the injury, dry. When bathing or showering, cover the cast in two layers of plastic and seal with a band or duct tape. Avoid submerging in water, even when covered. Some injuries can be treated with a waterproof cast, so ask your doctor if yours is safe to get wet.

KEEP IT CLEAN – Dirt and sand particles can not only irritate the skin, but can hinder the healing process.

ITCHINESS – It’s common, but don’t try to relive any itches with an object or powders into the cast. If it continues and is unbearable, contact your doctor.

DON’T DIY – Don’t mess around with your cast. No pulling at the padding and no trimming of any rough edges without consulting your orthopedic. Never remove the cast on your own.

SPEAK UPIf you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, be sure to let your physician’s office know.

  • Increased pain or tightness
  • Numbness/tingling in the casted area
  • Burning or red/raw skin around the cast
  • Inability to move toes or fingers
  • Crack or soft spot on the cast

With proper care, you can ensure the time needed in a cast isn’t unnecessarily extended. And, as always, the specialists at Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are here to answer any questions and guide you through your treatment. We welcome your call any time. 

Backpack Safety Tips

School’s back in session. And we know kids can be weighed down, literally, with school work, leading to back and neck pain. The help minimize the risk of injury, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shares their guidelines to carry books and school work around safely.

But what can parents do to ensure kids are safe from injury?

  • First, ensure your child is following the guidelines above, and remind them throughout the school year.
  • Pay attention when your child picks up their backpack – are they struggling or look off balance? If so, help them adjust the items in their bag or remove some heavy items.
  • If your child is complaining of back pain, keep in mind that their backpack may be the cause. Should their discomfort continue, ask if keeping a second set of textbooks at home is an option or consider purchasing a rolling backpack.

With these tips, we wish all students a safe and successful school year from all of us at NEOSM!

5 Signs Your Child May Be Overtraining

When watching young athletes in motion, it’s easy to think they have a boundless cache of energy and stamina. So daily practices, rigorous game schedules and continued training shouldn’t be a problem, right? Actually, no. Overtraining can actually deteriorate an athlete’s performance. With more and more children committing to one sport year-round, risks of burnout and injury increase. Here are signs of overtraining and tips to help make your child a healthy life-long athlete.

Five Signs of Overtraining

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of interest in practice or competition
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Persistent pain in muscles or joints
  • Decrease in sport performance

Protecting Your Athlete

Time to Heal:

Include 1 to 2 rest days from sport training or competition per week to allow muscles and body to heal.

Quality Rest:

Get plenty of sleep per night to send your body into restoration mode.

Variety of Activity:

Participate in a variety of sports to prevent overuse injuries.

Scheduled Time Off:

Every 2 or 3 months, take a longer break from structured practice or games of a single sport. During this time, focus on maintaining strength and stamina in different ways.

Learn to Listen:

Teach your athlete to always listen to their body and understand cues of burnout or injury.

See a Specialist:

Add a NEOSM Sports Medicine specialists to your team. Our physicians are ready to work with your athlete to help them perform at their peak level while avoiding unnecessary injury.

For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

4-to-1 Rule & 3 Points-of-Contact: A Guide to Ladder Safety

If you followed the Olympics, you may be familiar with the touching story of US gymnastics team member, Suni Lee’s, father John Lee. In August of 2019, Mr. Lee suffered a tragic accident, falling from a ladder while trimming a tree. The incident resulted in a spinal cord injury that has left him paralyzed from the chest down. In the midst of his struggles, Mr. Lee continued to be an inspiration and source of strength as his daughter pursued her dreams as an Olympic athlete. While we don’t know details specific to Mr. Lee’s incident, their story is an opportunity for us to increase awareness on the grave importance of ladder safety.

Over half a million people are treated for ladder-related falls and over 300 people die from falls each year, so the focus on safety cannot be overstated. Here are our safety guidelines to minimize your risks as you climb.

The 4-to-1 Rule

A ladder safety standard, the 4-to-1 rule state that the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder rises. This allows for maximum stability. So, for instance, if the ladder touches the wall 8 feet off the ground, the base of the ladder should be 2 feet away from the wall.

Three Points-of-Contact

The way you climb or descend a ladder makes a difference in reducing the risk in falls. The 3 points-of-contact is a method where the climber faces the center of the ladder and has either two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet on the ladder at all times. This provides a safe stance in the case one limb loses contact with the ladder.

DO’s & DO NOT’s

  • DO ensure the ladder is on stable ground. DO NOT place ladders on muddy areas or prop on other surfaces (like a box or crate) to try to increase height.
  • DO extend a ladder 3 feet higher than a roof, if you are climbing onto the roof. DO NOT climb a ladder higher than two steps down from the top. NEVER stand on the top rung of a ladder.
  • DO inspect your shoes before climbing to make sure they are clean and not a slip risk. DO NOT climb in flip-flops or sandals, or pants long enough to be a trip hazard.
  • DO place the ladder so it is in reach of the work you need to do. DO NOT overreach or overextend your body past the side rails of the ladder.
  • DO make sure someone is nearby to spot you while you are on the ladder. DO NOT have more than one person on a ladder at any time. NEVER engage in horseplay on a ladder.
  • Most importantly – If you for any reason feel uncomfortable on the ladder, DO NOT climb. It’s not worth risking serious injury.  

We hope that you will take these safety guidelines into action whenever you are working with a ladder. The specialist at NEOSM urge you to prevent unnecessary injuries. Should you need our help, contact us for more information.

New York magazine: Top Doctors 2021

Congratulations to the NEOSM physicians listed as Top Doctors in New York magazine! We’re #NEOSMproud to have you on our team!

Orthopedic Surgery

Kenneth Austin, MD
William Davis Jr, MD
Doron Ilan, MD
Barry Kraushaar, MD
Mark Medici, MD
Patrick Murray, MD
Steven Renzoni, MD
Richard Semble, MD
Jordan Simon, MD

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Michael Robinson, MD


Shivani Purohit Mehta, MD

Sports Medicine

Richard Popowitz, MD

New York magazine selections are based on the Castle Connolly annual “Top Doctors” guidebook. For over 25 years, Castle Connolly has been trusted source of merit-based, peer-reviewed rankings. For more information on their methodology, visit

Congratulations all! To make an appointment for consultation with one of our talented physicians, please call an office near you.


In times where we were all faced with so much uncertainly, we all looked to leaders around us to guide us through. This has been true at NEOSM, where our group of managers demonstrated true leadership. They’ve shown such grace while working tirelessly to make sure our practice could continue to provide world-class care to our patients in a safe environment.  Throughout the last year, they’ve navigated and adapted through continually changing guidelines, staffing challenges and many unexpected obstacles thrown their way – all the time, keeping the safety of our patients and staff their number one priority. We’re so grateful for this remarkable team!

Cheyeene Bravo
Heather Gerdes
Helene Kraushaar
Lea Reale
Jennifer Toone

Arthritis Pain Flaring Up In Summer?

Extreme weather can be brutal to those suffering with arthritis. We’ve written before on how bitter winter cold can affect symptoms, but you may notice summer heat bringing its own troubles to your joints. High temperatures and humidity are typical of summers in the northeast. How do these conditions contribute to increased arthritis pain and what can you do to combat them?

Increased Swelling

With humid weather, many people are naturally prone to swell. This swelling increases pressure on joints and associated pain. To combat swelling, limit time spent outside in hot and humid weather. Try taking a cooler than usual shower to bring down your body temperature if swelling is becoming particularly bothersome.


As we sweat in the heat, we lose fluid from our body. Our bodies rely on this fluid for different functions, including lubrication of our joints. So it’s important to replenish our bodies with plenty of water throughout the day. On particularly hot days, double your normal water intake. Set a hydration goal each day to help you stay on track.

Barometric Pressure

Changes in weather throughout the year can have an effect on arthritis. And in the summer, weather can change quickly with a rolling thunderstorm passing by suddenly. Some studies have shown that the barometric pressure in the atmosphere has a connection to joint pain. As pressure drops before a storm, joint and tendons can expand and contract, exasperating existing arthritis symptoms. Once pressure is normalized, you should see some comfort, but during heightened episodes try elevation and icing to relieve pain.

Summer is a time for fun, and we hope with this information, you can make the most of our warm weather days. If your symptoms continue or you’d like to learn more, the joint specialists at Northeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are here to help you live your life to the fullest.

What Everyone Needs To Know For A Safe Pool Season

There’s really nothing better than taking a dip in a cool pool on a long, hot summer day.  With a nice swim, we can relax, exercise or just have fun with friends. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on a good time – or, more importantly, suffer a serious injury – so we’re sharing some easy-to-follow tips to think about next time you’re planning a day poolside.

Before You Plunge

Before you get into a pool, it’s important to evaluate first and foremost if you actually should. Ask yourself: Am I alone? Do I not see a lifeguard present? Is the weather report calling for lightning? Have I consumed alcohol? Am I too tired or too overheated? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, reconsider.

Know Your Depths

Make sure you know how deep the water is. Look out for depth indicators throughout the pool, as depths can vary in different sections. NEVER dive in shallow water and always check depth markers before you go in headfirst. More on diving in our next section. If you are an inexperienced swimmer, avoid depths where you cannot stand comfortably with your head above water.


It bears repeating: NEVER DIVE IN SHALLOW WATER. Serious spinal cord injuries, including paralysis of all four limbs, can and do occur. Never dive headfirst in above ground pools or water that is murky and where you can’t see the bottom. Dive only off the end of a diving board and swim away from the diving area immediately to avoid the next diver.

Pool Deck

If you sit by a pool with children long enough, you’re sure to hear a lifeguard or parent yell “Don’t run!” at least once. It’s for good reason. The area around a pool will naturally be wet, creating a slick surface that is easy to slip on. Add in flimsy flip flops or bare feet and running, and chances of a fall increase. So walk carefully. Also, if swimming at night, make sure the area is well lit to avoid any hazards for trips or falls.  

Swimming for Fitness

If swimming is your go-to for aerobic exercise, you’ve made a great choice. It’s an activity that can be continued as you age, is gentle on your joints and is simply a great workout. As with any form of exercise, injuries can occur, so make sure to warm-up your body before you start, stretch often and include weight bearing exercises in your program to strengthen your shoulders and back.

With these basic guidelines, you’re sure to have a summer full of poolside fun, hopefully injury-free. However, should you encounter an issue, as always, the specialists at NEOSM are here to help.