• How Ankle Injuries Can Take You Out of the Game

    by Dr. LaMour
    on Oct 21st, 2015

A career-ending injury is every serious athlete’s worst nightmare. After an injury occurs, the first thought on many athlete’s mind is, ‘how long before I can get back in the game’? Unfortunately, the prognosis isn’t always bright after a serious sports injury, and despite their best efforts to heal, some athletes never return to their former glory and eventually have to make the difficult decision to call it quits for good.

Such was the case with University of Texas’ starting center Dominic Espinosa who suffered a serious ankle injury in the Longhorns’ 2014 season-opener against North Texas. A broken ankle not only kept him from finishing out his senior year at UT on the field, it also dashed any hopes that fans and speculators had that Espinosa would return for a sixth season.

Foot and ankle injuries are common for many athletes, but early treatment and proper diagnosis of the injury usually increase the chance that a player can recover and return to his or her sport. Before recovery can begin, however, a comprehensive physical exam must be performed to determine exactly what kind of injury has been sustained. Diagnostic tools like MRIs, x-rays and ultrasound can accurately pinpoint the location of the injury and determine whether the injury affects the bones, muscles, or ligaments. From there, doctors can develop a customized injury recovery plan which may include anything from physical therapy to surgery. Depending on the severity of the ankle injury and the recommended treatment, rehabilitation can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months.

Yet, even with all of today’s advances in diagnosis and treatment protocols for foot and ankle injuries, there’s no guarantee that the worst-case scenario won’t come true. Even high-level professional athletes who have access to top doctors and trainers have had to hang up their jerseys after failing to recover fully from ankle injuries.

Yao Ming, the 7-foot-6-inch NBA All-Star from China, was expected to have a long and impressive career with the Houston Rockets. But a fractured left ankle along with stress and hairline fractures in his left foot caused him to miss over 250 games and retire after only 8 seasons.

Recurring ankle problems were also behind the premature end to Grant Hill’s sports career. Multiple ankle surgeries caused his performance to suffer after an initially strong career, and long recovery periods often kept him out of the game. Though Hill played in the NBA until he was 40, he never recovered the star power of his early years.

Even if you’re not a professional or high-level athlete, ankle injuries can seriously and permanently affect your ability to play the sports that you love. Causal athletes may not have access to the million-dollar trainers and therapists that the pros use, but that doesn’t make seeking proper medical attention for an ankle injury any less important.

If you’ve suffered even a minor ankle injury, don’t ignore it! Contact us todayfor an appointment. The earlier you get treatment for your injured ankle, the more likely you are to recover without suffering long-lasting or permanent damage.

Author Dr. LaMour

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