Its the time to put up Christmas lights, but aspiring Clark Griswolds need to watch themselves, says Dr. David Gonzales with the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group.


  Griswold was famous for his '250 strands of lights' draping his home in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,' but Dr. Gonzales tells 1200 WOAI news that putting up Christmas lights is a leading cause of visits to the Emergency Room, and for painful sessions with the Ortho doc.


  "There are about 90,000 E.R. visits per year, but about 12,000 of them take place in November and December," Dr. Gonzales said.


  He says the single biggest danger is getting up on unsteady ladders, or climbing on ladders while you are unsteady.


  He says people don't realize how dangerous ladder falls can be, even from just a few rungs up.


  "This last Christmas season I treated somebody who fell just two feet from a ladder," he said.  "You hit wrong, and all of a sudden, you have a major injury."


  He says people who don't climb on ladders regularly think it looks easier than it really is.  And he says they also often under estimate the risks involved in ladder climbing.


  "We see a lot of broken bones, joint injuries, even occasionally a spine injury which can have long term effects."


  Dr. Gonzales says the problem is not the distance, he says landing awkwardly or unexpectedly from any height can cause significant joint and bone injury.


  He says hire a professional to create your Clark Griswold fantasy.  It's a lot cheaper than a visit to the E.R.