It’s no exaggeration when we say that an ankle injury needs to be treated properly and healed completely with rest and physical therapy before you go back to your routine. Yankee Derek Jeter is a case in point.
If you recall, last October Jeter broke his left ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS. For about thirty days prior to the break, he was playing while nursing a bone bruise in the same area. Since then, he’s had surgery and physical therapy to repair the fracture. In March, Jeter reported that his ankle was fully healed and that he would be in the Yankees lineup opening day.
But on April 12, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reported that Jeter now has a crack in his ankle in the same area as the previous injury and is benched until the all-star break. Jeter said he was unsure when he suffered the new fracture, which is in the same bone he broke during last season’s playoffs.
Jeter is 39 years old – just about over-the-hill if you play professional sports. During games, the demands on his feet and ankles are intense and the older we get the more difficult it is for our bone structure to hold up under this pressure.
“When we took the (two) CT-scans before spring training started, the bone had healed,” Jeter said. “I’m not one to complain about something being sore, so you just go out there and play, which I did. It just never went away. I wasn’t able to run. I wasn’t able to do things that I wanted to do. I had it checked out again and that’s when they found out that it was fractured again. I would assume it has probably been like that for quite some time… There’s no way to tell.”
Exactly, there’s no way to tell. Jeter describes a typical scenario for many professional and weekend athletes: playing with pain, dismissing a potential injury. That’s never a good idea, especially when you’re already injured.
So the lesson here is that if you feel pain in your ankle, don’t assume it’s just a little soreness that will go away. Have it checked out by a podiatrist at your first opportunity for a thorough diagnosis. Perhaps it is just a little irritation that will clear up with rest, but it might also be a fractured ankle… again.