• UT Longhorn’s Espinosa Suffers Season-Ending Ankle Fracture

    by Dr. LaMour
    on Sep 9th, 2014

For at least one University of Texas Longhorn, the season has ended as soon as it started. UT senior Dominic Espinosa suffered a devastating ankle injury in last week’s season opener against North Texas. During the game, a defender rolled over Espinosa’s right leg, leaving him with a broken ankle and little chance of recovering in time to play again during his final season. Though the Longhorns pulled out a victory, the injury is a big blow to the team, as well as to Espinosa – who has started in every game since the beginning of the 2011 season.

How Football Ankle Injuries Occur

An ankle fracture occurs when one of the 3 bones that make up the ankle joint sustain enough force to be broken. A broken ankle can be caused by either indirect or direct contact. Indirect fractures usually occur without outside contact and are instead caused by over-rotation of the joint or ‘rolling’ the ankle. These types of ankle traumas can be sustained in almost any sport. However, significant direct trauma in contact sports such as football can result in ankle fractures and are often more severe.

How Doctors Diagnosed the Injury

Soon after Espinosa sustained the injury, he was unable to put any weight on the injured ankle and had to be carted off the field. This is often one of the first signs of a broken ankle. To confirm the injury, doctors ordered an x-ray of Espinosa’s ankle, as well as an MRI to rule out the chance of an ankle sprain.

The Road to Recovery

Ankle fractures can either be treated surgically or non-surgically. Non-surgical treatment usually involves restricting the movement of the ankle for a period of time with an ankle brace or cast to allow the bones to heal properly. But in Espinosa’s case, the fracture will be treated surgically. During surgery, a metal plate and screws will be inserted to hold the bones in place. After surgery, the ankle will be protected with a splint until post-surgery swelling goes down, and will later be replaced by a cast. While the brace and cast are still on, Espinosa will likely have to use crutches for about 4-6 weeks to maintain his mobility without placing pressure on his healing ankle.

Once the cast is removed, the long process of rehabilitation will begin. During rehab, Espinosa will work with a physical therapist who will perform an evaluation of the ankle’s post-surgery performance including assessments of:

After a thorough evaluation, the physical therapist may use heat, ice, or electrical stimulation to help treat swelling or pain around the ankle, as well as exercises to improve range of motion and strength. Scar tissue massage may be used to help improve mobility around any post-surgery scars.

The time it will take for Espinosa to return to full weight-bearing activities and on-the-field action will depend on a number of factors, but the typical recovery period for an ankle fracture can be anywhere from 4-6 months.

The best chance for a quick recovery after an ankle injury is getting a speedy and accurate diagnosis by a qualified medical professional. If you’ve had a foot or ankle injury while playing football, schedule an appointment with us to have it examined.

Original Source: http://www.drjefflamour.com/sports-injuries/ut-longhorns-espinosa-suffers-season-ending-ankle-fracture/

Author Dr. LaMour

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