By Loren Colon, D.P.M.
Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery
If you have not heard, the season did not end well for the New York Yankees’ short stop, Derek Jeter.
This durable captain broke his left ankle in the 12th inning of the AL championship series opener on Saturday night and is out for the rest of the postseason. Jeter was making a play to his left and as he leaned down to glove the ball, his left ankle appeared to roll. Indications are that Jeter’s fracture is to the tibia, the larger bone of the lower leg. That bone — the “shin” — is thick and stable, but bears almost all the weight of the body. The injury won’t jeopardize Jeter’s career, but the recovery will be about three months.
Even though not all ankle injuries can be avoided in athletes, there are steps you can be taken to help prevent them from happening.
I recommend the following steps to help prevent a sprained ankle:
- Warm up before you exercise or play sports.
- Be careful when walking, running or working on an uneven surface.
- Wear shoes that fit well and are made for your activity.
- Don’t wear high-heeled shoes.
- Don’t play sports or participate in activities for which you are not conditioned.
- Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility.
- Practice stability training, including balance exercises.
When an ankle sprain does happen, immediately initiate the R.I.C.E. approach:
- Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort.
- Ice. Even if you’re seeking medical help, ice the area immediately. Use an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake, for the first 48 to 72 hours. Cold reduces pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles, joints and connective tissues. If you have vascular disease, diabetes or decreased sensation, talk with your doctor before applying ice.
- Compression. To help stop swelling, compress the ankle with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Don’t wrap it too tightly or you may hinder circulation. Begin wrapping at the end farthest from your heart. Loosen the wrap if the painincreases, if the area becomes numb or if swelling occurs below the wrapped area.
- Elevation. To reduce swelling, elevate your ankle above the level of your heart, especially at night. Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.
If your sprain is severe you need to see a doctor who specializes in sports medicine and foot and leg injuries for an evaluation, possible X-ray, and treatment.
The next step is to see a doctor specializing in foot and ankle injuries for an evaluation, possible x-ray and treatment.
If you have suffered a sports injury, call us at Atlanta area podiatrist at American Foot and Leg Specialists.