Professional Athletes’ Broken Ankles Capture Headlines in Early 2015

Professional Athletes’ Broken Ankles Capture Headlines in Early 2015In early 2015, a number of professional athletes were temporarily put out of commission thanks to broken ankles. Among them were University of Kentucky’s Janee Thompson and Los Angeles Kings’ Tanner Pearson.

Thompson reportedly broke her tibia and Pearson, as it later turned out, actually broke his fibula. Both are two of the three bones that make up the top ankle joint. The other is the talus. It should also be mentioned that there is another joint in the foot that connects the ankle bone to the heel bone. It’s called the subtalar joint but apparently neither athlete broke that one this time around.

When the tibia, fibula or talus breaks, it can be quite traumatic for athletes and everyday Joes alike. In most cases, swelling and severe pain are immediately present and the injured person can no longer stand up without assistance. As time goes on, bruising is also likely to appear on and around the broken bones. After the injury, it is extremely important that the accident victim’s broken ankle is examined and repaired. Otherwise, the deformities could become permanent, thereby rendering the person disabled.

Furthermore, if the person who sustains the broken ankle hasn’t finished growing yet (e.g. child), he or she will need to be closely monitored for bone or joint weakness and deformities long after the initial injury has been treated. The extended monitoring period is crucial to ensure that the broken ankle doesn’t interfere with the leg and foot bones’ normal growth as time goes on. In most instances, the extended period will last at least two years, maybe more depending on the individual’s normal growth rate and unique circumstances.

The severity of the injury will dictate which treatment methods are used. Options often include, but are not limited to emergency surgery, casting and post-surgery rehabilitation. Depending on the situation, full recovery from broken ankles may take two months or more. As such, the two athletes that we mentioned earlier are likely to be off of their respective courts for at least part or all of a full season. To speak with a St. Louis podiatrist about broken ankles and best practices to ensure the bones heal properly, please click here.

Best Post-Foot Surgery Recovery Tips for Nervous Podiatry Patients

Best Post-Foot Surgery Recovery Tips for Nervous Podiatry PatientsFoot surgery is often followed by a long recovery process that may be helped or hindered by a patient’s actions. The list of common actions that may waylay a podiatrist patient’s road back to foot health includes, but is not restricted to tobacco use, weight-bearing too soon, comorbidities, secondary infections, age, poor nutrition and medication regiments that include immunosuppressants. With that said, we’ve assembled some general, post-surgery recovery tips for podiatry patients of all ages:

  • Stop smoking at least one month prior to the scheduled surgery, if at all possible. To do that effectively, speak to your doctor about which smoking cessation products may be best for your unique situation. In addition, make sure that if medications are involved in the smoking cessation plan, they won’t interfere with bone remodeling, bone production and blood clotting.
  • While you are at it, speak with all members of your healthcare team to ensure that the medications you are on for unrelated comorbidities won’t interfere with the healing process either. If the products are prone to inhibiting the mending process, ask if it is safe to change medications, reduce dosage or stop taking those pharmaceuticals until your bones have sufficiently healed. Should making changes to existing medication regimens be impossible, ask what may be done to counteract the products’ negative effects and promote bone health.
  • Contemplate investing in mobility aids that are in line with your existing comorbidities, physical abilities, age and recovery environment too. There are many non-weight bearing options to choose from including knee walkers, rollators, motorized wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, shower chairs and crutches. As long as they are deemed medically necessary, the cost of purchasing or renting the items may be covered by insurance plans. It may also be wise to make a few home modifications and hire an aide to at least run outside errands.
  • Furthermore, work with your doctor, in advance, to purchase additional items needed to keep your foot clean, dry and healthy during the recovery process. For example, people that have comorbidities which negatively impact circulation may need to wear compression stockings or inflatable boots. Others may have to don custom orthotics like walking boots or adjustable sandals. However, don’t buy any of them until you’ve spoken with your podiatrist and had the items fitted. Otherwise, the mobility aids could end up doing more harm than good.
  • Finally, work with a nutritionist to come up with post-foot surgery menu options that are conducive to speeding up or supporting healthy bone production and remodeling. Such diets generally require an increase in calories, protein, minerals, anti-inflammatory nutrients and vitamins. Some of the ones podiatry patients typically need to bulk up on are vitamins K, C and D as well as calcium, zinc, copper and phosphorous. Oh, and by the way, ask about taking dietary supplements too.

  • Image courtesy of Praisaeng/

    Broken Ankles Can Be Successfully Treated By Podiatrists

    Treatment for Ankle InjuriesBroken ankles are one of the most common, worrisome injuries that can occur among active individuals. Broken ankle injuries typically occur when an individual falls, trips or ends up in some form of accident (i.e. bike crash). Most of the damage is generally caused by the initial impact or moving the ankle in an awkward way. On a positive note, a Missouri podiatrist visit may help resolve ankle fractures and breaks.

    Upon arriving to the office, your podiatrist will ask for a recap of what happened and conduct a visual examination of the ankle. He or she will be looking for areas of inflammation, pain, tenderness, bruising, weakness and deformity. Besides the visual exam, your Missouri foot doctor may also order a stress test, MRI, X-ray or CT scan to help determine the severity of the break.

    Afterward, he or she will recommend either a series of surgical or non-surgical treatments that will treat the damaged areas. Both have notable downtime periods attached. For example, posterior, lateral and medial malleolus (bony bulge on either side of the ankle) injuries may be treated non-surgically and generally take up to 10 weeks to heal completely. Oftentimes, the list of non-surgical measures used will include the following:

    • Pain medications (OTC or prescription)
    • Compression bandages or splints
    • Cold compresses or cold therapy
    • Removable braces or boots
    • Range of motion exercises
    • Orthopedic footwear
    • Rest and elevation
    • Ankle or leg casts

    Bi- and tri-malleolar fractures, on the other hand, usually require surgical intervention. If ankle surgery is needed, the podiatrist may either perform it alone or with the assistance of an orthopedic surgeon. In some instances, the surgical procedure involves the insertion of permanent hardware. The list of hardware frequently used to repair broken ankles tends to include pins, wires, plates and screws. Depending on the individual, the post-surgery recovery period could last 12 weeks or more. During that period, return visits to your Missouri foot clinic are needed to monitor the healing process and make any adjustments to the care plan as needed.

    Tips for Making Foot Surgery Recovery a Breeze

    Professional Foot CareSo you’ve decided to get foot surgery to repair that broken ankle. Good for you. Have you thought about what you are going to do after the foot surgery is complete? If not, there is never going to be a better time to prepare for the post-surgery recovery period than now. Here are a few recuperation tips from our Missouri podiatry team:

    Remember that foot surgery will limit your mobility for many weeks. Thus, it is crucial to order durable medical equipment for delivery and prepare your home. The list of durable medical equipment that you may want to have on hand after undergoing foot surgery includes, but is not constrained to the following:

    • Shower chair, hand-held shower head and waterproof foot protectors
    • Orthopedic footwear with adjustable Velcro straps
    • Walker, wheelchair, scooter, cane or crutches
    • Reclining chairs with foot rests
    • Gait belts and transfer benches
    • Lift slings or bed pulley hoists
    • Hospital bed with side rails
    • Grabber extension tools

    When it comes to preparing the home, have it assessed for fall hazards and potential mobility issues (e.g. stairs and high thresholds). If such problems exist, make arrangements to have them corrected prior to your return home.

    It might also be a good idea to hire an in-home care caregiver that is willing to do laundry and run errands too. Doing so will ensure that you won’t run out of clean clothes or other items while you are recuperating from foot surgery. Many times, the cost of in-home care and durable medical equipment for home use will be covered by healthcare insurance providers.

    If you don’t want to hire a caregiver, at least think about stocking up on easy-to-prepare meals, medications, toiletries and other items that you’re likely to need during the recovery period. Should you have limited storage space, setting up a series of home deliveries may help the situation as well. For example, you could order your medications from a CVS Pharmacy. Many of them will let customers order online and request home delivery. There are also stores like Net Grocer, Walmart, Peapods and Vons that are willing to deliver groceries to customers’ doors too.

    Lastly, for communication purposes, be sure to have a cordless phone as well as an Internet connection established. That way, you will be able to communicate with your Missouri podiatrist, pharmacy, family members and other people that may be able to provide assistance during your post-op recovery period.