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How to stay safe when playing sports?

When the time comes for a young athlete to play their sport, there are a variety of things that need to be done before they take the field.

One of those is making sure they have the right equipment.

“Wearing the proper equipment is essential to help prevent injury,” said Dr. Shelden Martin with OrthoArizona. “This applies to all sports, from organized contact sports like football to recreational solo activities like mountain biking.”

According to a recent Health Day article, one of those recreational activities was skateboarding. In 2011, skateboarding accidents accounted for more than 78,000 trips to the emergency room.

“I don’t think people think about injuries when being active, and particularly how prevalent injuries are, especially in organized sports like football or soccer,” Martin said.

Common injuries that Martin sees affecting young people vary from sport to sport, but in general include strains, sprains, fractures and torn ligaments.

“You can see injury in almost any activity whether competing in organized sports or just participating in solo activity,” Martin said. “Fortunately, most of the minor injuries I see don’t typically require surgery.

“However, more severe injuries like fractures and ligament tears, in general, will require surgery,” the doctor continued.

Martin believes educating young people about wearing the proper equipment is a step in the right direction when it comes to preventing trips to the emergency room.

“It’s important to properly check your equipment before use to ensure it is in proper working order,” Martin said. “For instance, you should make sure you don’t have cracks in your helmets, pads, or guards.”

While supervised sports typically have coaches, athletic trainers, and equipment managers keeping an eye on the equipment, Martin believes parents can play a big part in the non-group sports.

“Parents should help their youth athletes and educate them about properly checking equipment and making sure everything is up to date and in good working condition prior to use,” Martin said.

Importance of sports physicals for young athletes

School is back in session for some students around the Valley. While the rest of the school districts will follow shortly, this also means sports will be starting up again.

Here are four questions answered on the the importance of getting a sports physical for young athletes.

1. Are sports physicals required for young athletes?
-AIA (Arizona Interscholastic Association): – requires for all high school athletes
1. History form
2. Physical examination form
3. Concussion Acknowledgement form

-Most club leagues have their own forms that are required

2. What are the things you check for during a physical?
-Screening for any abnormalities, red flags that could predispose to injury or harm

Medical Vital signs: height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, vision
Head to toe: E, E, N, T, heart , lungs, abdomen, genitourinary, hernias, vascular and lymph – pulses, skin
Ortho: Neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot

3. Why is a physical so important for young athletes?
-Detect abnormalities or red flags that point to problems that could be exacerbated with activity
-Medical: heart murmur, breathing problems like asthma
-Ortho: scoliosis, joint laxity (shoulder, knee)
-Athlete specific: Baseball — throwing shoulder & elbow
-Most findings do not prevent clearance for participation; although may require further evaluation
-Findings serve as points of focus for parents, coaches, trainers and physicians to pay particular attention throughout season

4. OrthoArizona partners with school districts in the Valley to provide sports medicine services? Why is this an important partnership?
-Eighteen fellowship trained sports medicine orthopedic & primary care physicians
-Professional, University, high school and club sports
-Raise the standard of care for high school athletes to that of Division 1 University or even professional
-Physicians serve as the “quarterback” to coordinate highest quality care for injured athletes

-Scottsdale partnered with Dignity Healthcare in Gilbert school district 2014/2015
-Best trained ATC’s
-Rapid evaluation
-Rapid and latest and proven treatments to get these athletes back to play faster and more safely
-Ancillary services: surgery facilities, imaging, concussion management and physical therapy

Patient Testimonial: Bill Thompson

Bill Thompson is an active person. He likes to hunt, rides motorcycles and walks with his wife. So when a knee injury kept him from doing those things, Thompson knew something needed to be done.

He turned to Dr. Shelden Martin with OrthoArizona for help. Thompson is not only back to being active again, he explains why Martin was the best choice to give him that chance.

Young athletes and baseball injuries

pitcher delivers a fastballIf you drive by any park across the country, you will probably see athletes throwing a baseball around.

It’s a sport more and more young athletes are playing year-round, and that means it comes with its share of injuries.

According to two recent studies, young baseball players feel pressure from parents or coaches to play despite arm pain. Additionally, most pitchers’ parents are unaware that safe pitching guidelines exist.

“When these young athletes pitch too many games a week and throw too many pitches during a game, or play in multiple leagues, it’s going to cause overuse injuries,” said Dr. Shelden Martin with OrthoArizona. “I see a lot of these patients in my office between ages 10 to 18 because they’re overusing their arms, causing shoulder and elbow pain.

“They’re not allowing enough time for their body to rest and recover,” Martin continued.

Rest is one of the best things a young athlete can do when they feel pain.

“By playing through pain, these athletes are causing further injury, typically to the cartilage growth plates in the shoulder and elbow. At some point, if they continue to play through that pain and just keep pushing it to the point where they can’t throw, they can cause serious injury.

Martin went on to say, “Although these athletes rarely require surgery, their recovery period can be prolonged by playing through pain and not seeking medical intervention.”

“What is especially helpful for baseball pitchers while recovering from injury is getting them into sports performance therapy to focus on their pitching mechanics, core training and strengthening” Martin said. “This ensures that they have appropriate throwing form and pitching mechanics which leads to longevity in baseball.”

“If they have poor throwing form and mechanics, they’re not going to last long in baseball,” he continued.

Martin said educating parents and athletes on the guidelines to safe pitching is an important step to decreasing rates of player overuse injuries.

“Dr. James Andrews, founder of American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, has been a leader in this area in terms of trying to educate parents, athletes, coaches and trainers about what is safe,” Martin said.

Pitch Smart is a program that has implemented guidelines for safe pitch counts and appropriate rest between outings for youth athletes.

“There are very well defined parameters in terms of how many pitches a pitcher may throw based on the age of the athlete,” Martin said. “The younger they are, the less pitches they should be throwing per outing and the less frequently they should be pitching.”

These guidelines can help put parents at ease.

“The majority of parents want the best for their kids and they want to do the right thing,” Martin said. “Once I see these athletes in my office with the parents and educate both the athlete and the parents, usually the parents even want to error on the side of making their child rest longer than they might need to because they care about them.”

Martin has additional advice for young baseball players.

“The best advice I give to them is to cross train and don’t play the same sport year round,” Martin said. “We see more super specialize athletes now that play only one sport year round, especially in the warm weather states like Florida, California and Arizona.”

“You can play another sport during one season to give your body a break from using the same muscles continuously without rest, thus decreasing the risk of overuse injury.”

“You’re going to have more longevity in a sport with less risk of injury by cross training and playing multiple sports,” Martin continued.

For more information, please contact Dr. Martin at

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy Offers an Alternative

Physical exercise can be rough on joints, whether you’re a professional athlete or a recreational jogger. An active lifestyle can sometimes result in natural wear and tear in the form of tendonitis, ACL or MCL tears, or an increased risk of osteoarthritis. Surgery, while a solution to these physical ailments, can still interfere with a person’s athletic lifestyle due to potentially long recovery times and the risk of infection or other complications, leaving injured athletes with less-than-favorable solutions to their ailments.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy offers a safe, more affordable alternative to orthopedic surgery. With a shorter recovery time and minimal invasiveness, PRP therapy is now a viable option for injured athletes looking to get healthy and back on their feet as soon as possible.

Typically when the body suffers an injury, it sends a rush of blood to the site of the wound in order to start a natural healing process. However, blood has more limited access to particularly ligamentous regions like joints, making recovery for these areas much more difficult.

With PRP therapy, the procedure sends plasma-rich platelets to the joint injury to allow for rebuilding ligaments and expedited healing. The therapy entails the injection of the injured athlete’s centrifuged blood into the joint in question. The procedure takes less than an hour and leaves little to no room for infection or complication due to lack of incision and the use of the patient’s own blood.

PRP therapy offers a more comfortable, less invasive alternative to orthopedic surgery. The procedure is less expensive than typical surgery and shaves several weeks off a patient’s rehabilitation or recovery time. PRP therapy is a smart option for all individuals suffering from joint pain, be it from vigorous activity or osteoarthritis.

The Importance of Joint Care

Joints are the body’s hinges. They provide a wide range of motion throughout the body, allowing us to swing, bend, rotate and more. Each joint is made up of cartilage, ligaments and a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid which all work together to cushion the area between bones and support comfortable movement.

Without healthy joints, bones can rub together and make even the simplest movements painful, which is why properly caring for joints is so important. Take care of joints to avoid damaged joints that can lead to injuries, discomfort and joint disease such as arthritis.

How to Protect Your Joints

Maintain a healthy weight with diet and exercise

Keeping a healthy body weight is one of the simplest, but most effective and important ways to keep joints working right. Every excess pound forces the body, especially joints, to strain to accommodate the extra weight.

Eating healthy foods contributes greatly to weight loss and weight maintenance, but remember to also think about nutrients. Calcium builds strong bones, which leads to strong joints, so consuming calcium rich vegetables like broccoli and spinach will build strong bones and strong joints as well. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Include fortified milk, cereal and fish into your diet so the body can fully soak up the proper nutrients.

Exercise is another component to a healthy body weight. Building muscle and flexibility supports joints and protects them from injury. Swimming and biking are great ways to get the heart rate up and burn calories without straining joints.

Find balance

Although exercise is helpful to joints, don’t over exasperate the body with excessive workouts. Remember to acknowledge the body’s limits and find a balance between physically challenging yourself and allowing the body to rest and recover, especially if a certain area is in pain.


Stretching loosens up the body. Stretching before and after exercise is important to avoid injury and stress. Know the body’s limits and take it easy when stretching before a workout because the body isn’t loosened up yet.

Stretch and move around throughout the day, not just during a workout. Sitting in one place for too long causes stiffness in the joints, leading to pain, so get moving every hour and stretch daily.

Make use of proper technique

Your back and other joints experience wear and tear and are prone to injury. Find ways to to do tasks like pushing and pulling and lifting heavy objects using proper technique, incorporating the legs and core muscles to lift.

Proper training

Be sure to incorporate cardiovascular exercise as well as resistance training into your personal workout regimen.  Cardiovascular exercise trains your heart and lungs to deliver oxygenated blood more efficiently to your muscles and entire body.  Resistance training helps strengthen your muscles, bones and joints and helps prevent injury.  Attempt to avoid impact exercise, which decreases the stress through your joints.  Non-impact exercise such as bicycling, elliptical training and swimming are excellent exercise without the impact stress to your joints.

Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon Helps Treat, Prevent Common Elbow Injuries in Baseball Players

Young athletes are working harder to reach their goals and the harder an athlete plays and practices, the easier it is to develop elbow problems early in their athletic career.

The leading orthopedic surgeons with OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates, including Phoenix orthopedic surgeon Dr. Shelden Martin, are here to help athletes young or old prevent sports injuries and get back in the game.

The most common elbow injury in young baseball players is medial epicondyle apophysitis, which is known as “little league elbow.” This is an overuse injury to one of the growth plates on the inside of the elbow. Injuring the growth plates, especially at a young age may prevent them from throwing longer distances and decreases the ability to throw hard, according to Nationwide Children’s.

In order to help avoid injuries throughout the season, “It’s essential to get a pre-participation physical, wear appropriate equipment and perform essential offseason conditioning before beginning the season.  These simple steps will help ensure that these young athletes are ready with regards to their physical conditioning and safety preparedness,” Dr. Martin said.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, preventing athletic injuries at an early age will lead to a greater chance of athletes continuing to compete at higher levels of competition. While many injuries can be treated with ice and ibuprofen and will improve with rest, more serious injuries, if left untreated, can cause permanent impairment and compromise young athletes potential to continue playing sports at a higher level of competition.

The doctors at OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates give patients the proper medical care and attention they need. With the excitement of the summer baseball season, young athletes, particularly pitchers, can overwork their elbow by throwing to many pitches and to frequently.  This does not allow the elbow to rest and recover and causes microtrauma that becomes additive over time.  This is particularly a problem in warm states such as Arizona, California and Florida where athletes can play year round, and never adequately rest their throwing arms.  The doctors at OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates are here to treat and educate the athletes and help get them back on the field.

While staying active is important, resting is just as important. As discussed, the most common overuse elbow injury in skeletally immature athletes is medial epicondyle apophysitis.  This condition can also lead to stress fracture through the growth plate, or a small crack in the bone caused by fatigued muscles transferring the overload of stress to the bone.  As athletes reach skeletal maturity later in their teenage years and enter adulthood, this condition will manifest as an ulnar collateral ligament injury.  If rest and non-operative treatment fail, this condition can require a ligament reconstruction surgery commonly known as “Tommy Johns surgery” to continue throwing.

OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates surgeons are all board-certified orthopedic surgeons with extensive training and experience with sports related injuries. Dr. Martin recommends for any athlete to start their season with a physical and seek medical help at the first sign of injury.

To schedule an appointment or consultation, please call (480) 750-0303.

For more information about OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates, please call (480) 750-0303 or Find out more about OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates on Facebook and Twitter

About OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates
OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates strives to improve the quality of life of its patients and their families through outstanding orthopedic care. OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates is committed to excellence by pledging to provide the highest quality of orthopedic care possible. Along with the treatment of immediate or chronic problems, top-rated and board-certified orthopedic surgeons strive to integrate the doctrine of prevention in all treatment plans as a way to alleviate possible future difficulties.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. Turns to Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Shelden Martin

When TORC driver and former Indy Car Series racer Arie Luyendyk Jr. broke his clavicle at the beginning of April, the former contestant on The Bachelorette turned to Phoenix orthopedic surgeon Shelden Martin, MD to repair the break. Just two weeks later, Luyendyk Jr. took home his first podium finish at the April 25 TORC race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Shelden Martin Announces Office Move to Two New Valley Locations

PHOENIX – Dr. Shelden Martin, a leading orthopedic surgeon with OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates, has announced the relocation of his office to Phoenix and Mesa effective March 17.

Dr. Martin is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with extensive training and experience in orthopedic and sports injuries. He has worked with professional, collegiate and high school athletics teams and his research has been recognized both nationally and internationally.Dr. Shelden Martin Flier (FINAL)

His office will move to OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates’s Phoenix office as one of two convenient locations for Valley residents.

“The two new locations will give patients an even better experience with added convenience,” Dr. Martin said. “The move will allow us to provide the same specialized care, now with two accessible locations across the Valley.”

The Phoenix location will be near the southwest intersection of Loop 202 and SR 143, at 3033 N 44th St, Ste 100, Phoenix, AZ 85018,

The East Valley office in Mesa will be located at 3130 E. Baseline Rd. Suite 101, Mesa, AZ 85204, a mile south of U.S. 60.

Patients and professionals continuously praise Dr. Martin’s expertise and attentiveness, as well as his innovative and personalized approach to each individual patient’s treatment plan. Patient James McKelvy, who received a shoulder replacement from Dr. Martin in 2012, was pleased with the care and knowledge Dr. Martin delivered throughout the process, as well as the success of his procedure.

“I really do have confidence in Dr. Martin’s abilities,” McKelvy said. “He knows what he’s doing. He fully informed me of what outcomes I should anticipate, and he was very forthright.”

Dr. Martin, and the staff at OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates, can handle any orthopedic injury and offer minimally invasive options for athletes and non-athletes. Dr. Martin specializes in complex arthroscopic surgery, including ligament reconstruction, cartilage transplants, shoulder and elbow joint replacements, and reverse shoulder replacements.

To schedule an appointment or consultation, call (480) 750-0303.

For more information on OrthoArizona – Arizona Orthopaedic Associates, please call (480) 750-0303 or visit Find out more about Arizona Orthopaedic Associates on Facebook at and Twitter at

Learn more about Dr. Martin on his website and follow him on Facebook at and Twitter at