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Curt Schilling Shares Photo of His Stitched-Up Ankle from 2004 World Series

13 Nov

curt schilling pitchingDo you remember when Curt Schilling pitched for the Red Sox? When he led them to their first World Series win in over 100 years?

Now do you remember the bloody sock spectacle when his ankle appeared to be hemmoraging while he stood on the plate?

 
 

CHILLING BLOODY SOCK

 
 

Some naysayers said it was only ketchup, and that Schilling was putting on a show. But this week, Schilling put those rumors to rest when he tweeted this image of his stitched-up ankle from 2004.

 
 

curt schilling ankle injury 2004

 

Now we know what it looked like under that famous sock. And that it was for-real ankle injury. Wow.

We can’t even imagine the pain that Schilling endured during that spectacular game. Pitching requires an extraordinary amount of precision and control, not only from your ankles, but from your entire body. And to pitch such a legendary game with an ankle in that condition is just… SUPER HUMAN!

‘Nuff said. Back off, haters.

Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera has surgery for bone spurs and stress fracture

27 Oct

cabrera hits a homer

Miguel Cabrera, legendary first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, surprised everyone – or no one at all, depending on who you ask – by announcing that he had right ankle surgery to remove the bone spurs which dogged him all season, and to repair a stress fracture of the navicular bone. The navicular bone lies on the top of the foot near the front of the ankle, and plays an important role in maintaining the arch of the foot.

If you’re a baseball fan, you no doubt heard that Cabrera struggled with these injuries the second half of the season this year, even though he hit .313 with 25 home runs, and 109 RBI’s (that’s a crap season for Cabrera, even though anyone else would be breaking out the Cristal and re-negotiating their contract with those numbers). By comparison, in 2013 Cabrera hit .348 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI’s, which won him his second consecutive American League Most Valuable Player award. By the end of this season however, Cabrera could barely run on the ankle due to the excruciating pain.

navicular bone fracture

Arrow points to the Navicular bone.

“It was a surprise, I’d say, for all of us,” team president Dave Dombrowski said. “We were not aware [the stress fracture] was there. I’m not sure how long it was there. He did have a couple of screws inserted. They cannot even believe once they went in there and looked at it that he could play with the ankle that he had. It’s worse than what we ever would have anticipated.”

Cabrera’s ankle will be reevaluated in 3 months, late in January, just a few weeks before the Tiger’s spring training is to begin.

What’s up with the spate of foot and ankle injuries in the NFL?

25 Sep

We’re only going into the 4th week of the regular football season and already we’ve seen a huge percentage of below the knee injuries. Why? Who knows, perhaps it’s just bad luck. But we do know that the NFL team trainers have a lot to deal with this season.

Here’s a list of foot and ankle injuries suffered by NFL players so far, and this may be the biggest list we’ve seen this early in the season.

DeAngelo-Hall

DeAngelo Hall of Washington is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

The most significant injuries, which will cause each player to miss playing time are:

DeAngelo Hall, Washington, ruptured Achilles tendon, out for the season

Robert Griffin, Washington, dislocated ankle

Kam Chancellor, Seattle, bone spurs in ankle

Geoff Schwartz, New York Giants, dislocated toe

Danny Woodhead, San Diego, high ankle sprain

Tramaine Brock, San Francisco, sprained toe

Vernon Davis, San Francisco (they’re just saying “ankle injury”)

Manti Te’o, San Diego, right foot fracture

Rod Streater, Oakland, foot fracture

Tyvon Branch, Oakland,  Jones Fracture

Jon Beason, New York Giants, foot fracture

Matt Cassel, Minnesota, fractured foot – multiple bones

Koa Misis, Miami, ankle injury

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City, high ankle sprain

Arthur Jones, Kansas City, high ankle sprain

Jonathan Goodwin, New Orleans, high ankle sprain

Matt Tobin, Philadelphia, high ankle sprain

Khaled Holmes, Indianapolis, high ankle sprain

Joe Reitz, Indianapolis, high ankle sprain

 

And there have been less serious foot and ankle injuries to:

Brandon Bair and Wesley Woodyard, Tennessee; Dri Archer, Pittsburgh;  Miles Burris, Oakland; Chris Johnson, New York Jets; Tamba Hali, Kansas City; Damien Williams, Miami; Husain Abdullah, Cyrus Gray, and Eric Berry, Kansas City, Storm Johnson, Toby Gerhart, Mickey Shuler, Paul Posluszny, and Allen Hurns, Jacksonville; T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis; Johnathan Joseph, Garrett Graham, Andre Johnson, Houston; Calvin Johnson, Detroit; Brandon Marshall, Chicago; A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, Cincinnatti; Robert Woods, Da’Norris Searcy, and Lee Smith, Buffalo; Harry Douglas and Devin Hester, Atlanta; and Andre Ellington of Arizona.

See our point? That’s a long list, and we’re especially curious about the number of high ankle sprains. We don’t recall having ever seen that many at one time – especially in week 4.

Jamaal Charles and Arthur Jones Out With High Ankle Sprains

19 Sep

Your fantasy league is under great duress this week.

jamaal charles high ankle sprain

Jamaal Charles doing what he does best.

High ankle sprains have become an epidemic in the NFL lately. Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Arthur Jones, Khaled Holmes, and Joe Reitz of the Indianapolis Colts are all on the bench with high ankle sprains. Charles and Jones sustained their injuries in games this week, and Holmes and Reitz have been sitting out since pre-season games in August.

How does a high ankle sprain differ from a normal ankle sprain?

In the more common lateral ankle sprain, the ligaments that surround the ankle joint are injured through an inward twisting, causing pain and swelling around the ankle. A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic sprainis an injury to the syndesmotic ligaments above the ankle which join the two bones of the lower leg together. A high ankle sprain is caused when the lower leg and foot twists out (externally rotates). See a diagram of a high ankle sprain here.

arthur jones high ankle sprain

The Colts’ Arthur Jones gets carted off the field during their game against the Eagles.

The tibia (shin bone) and fibula run from the knee down to the ankle.  If the injury is a stable high ankle sprain, the tibia and fibula stay in their normal orientation, and the athlete may be out for as little as five or six days.

If the injury is an unstable high ankle sprain, two or all three ligaments above the ankle are torn and the tibia and fibula are free to move. A podiatric surgeon may need to place a screw between the tibia and fibula to hold the bones in proper position while the ligaments heal, and may require the athlete to be sidelined for as long as 6 months(!). High ankle sprains pose a bigger challenge to healing than common ankle sprains, which is why athletic trainers are very cautious about returning an athlete to the lineup too quickly.

NY Giant Geoff Schwartz Catches Lucky Break With Dislocated Toe

27 Aug

Those of us who aren’t pro athletes just can’t appreciate how critical foot and ankle health is.

Sprained ankle? I’ll “walk it off”

Stubbed toe? I’ll wear looser shoes for a week

A little heel pain? It will pass….

You may think that professional athletic trainers are “babying” their players at times, but they know from experience that a seemingly innocuous, minor injury that’s left unattended, can develop into an injury which costs the team a championship, and end a player’s career.

geoff schwartz

Geoff Schwarts is carted off the field Friday night.

For instance, Geoff Schwartz, starting left guard for the New York Giants, was carted off the playing field last Friday night during their preseason game with the Jets. Trainers believed the toe was dislocated, but had no idea as to its severity.

A dislocated toe is nothing to take lightly, because if serious enough, it can be a season-ending injury for an athlete. Fortunately for Schwartz, tests revealed that it’s only a minor dislocation which won’t require surgery. Geoff will be back on the field by the end of September if his rehab goes as planned.

“This is just a minor setback,” Schwartz said. “I plan on attacking the rehab program so I can get back on the field as soon as possible with my teammates and help us win games.”

How your toe becomes dislocated – and what to do about it

When the ligaments and tendons which hold the toe joint together are torn, the bones move apart and out of place. This is what’s called a dislocated toe. This can be a minor injury, as in Schwartz’s case, or quite severe, as when the toe is visibly out of joint. When the joint is properly realigned, it takes about 6 weeks for the ligaments to heal.

How can you tell the difference between simply stubbing your toe, spraining it,  breaking it, or dislocating it? You probably can’t, which is why you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible after you injure it. If the toe is dislocated, you’ll feel immediate, intense pain, extreme pain if you try and bend the toe, swelling, bruising, tenderness, or numbness, and possibly a very visible deformity. Some of these symptoms are also consistent with sprains and fractures, which is why a podiatrist’s opinion is necessary.

Never – and we mean never, ever, ever try and “pop” the dislocated toe back into place by pulling on it. That’s strictly Hollywood stuff. A dislocated toe is frequently accompanied by a fracture, so if you pull on it, you can do a lot more damage. If you suspect that your toe has been dislocated, seek immediate medical attention from a podiatrist. He or she will take x-rays, make a diagnosis, and then if it is indeed dislocated, realign the toe and provide you with a walking boot to protect the toe while it heals. Physical therapy may also be recommended to get the toe back in shape after the ligaments heal.

Take your foot and ankle health as seriously as pro athletes.

If you had a choice, would you request an amputation? This guy did.

18 Jul

Joseph Phleban of Fredericksburg, Virginia is a guy who likes adventure. Soccer, competitive swimming, football, wakeboarding, snowboarding, rugby, he did it all in his 23 years.

ankle amputation

Joe Phleban’s “Please Cut Here” tattoo.

In 2008, the day after he graduated from college, Phleban injured his ankle for the umpteenth time while wakeboarding. He wasn’t too concerned about it, was quite used to it in fact, as he’d been plagued with painful ankle problems for 6 years –  a side effect of being a daredevil.

He expected the surgery to repair his ankle to be routine, but surgeons discovered that Phleban had developed a rare disease called Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis. PVS usually affects the knee, but in about 2 percent of cases it appears in the ankle, causing inflammation and tumors in the joint lining. Phleban’s PVS was far advanced, with tumors, dangerous inflammation, and extensive bone and tissue damage.

Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis produces malignant non-cancerous tumors which damage cartilage, causing painful, degenerative arthritis.

ankle amputation

Phleban uses mirror therapy to adjust to his amputation

Doctors performed a second operation to remove the tumors in Joe’s ankle, but they reappeared inside of six months. In 2010, Phleban underwent surgery yet again to remove more tumors, followed by radiation therapy. At that point, Joe’s doctors informed him that because his ankle had been so badly damaged, playing sports would be impossible. Phleban was crushed.

In March of this year, doctors ordered an MRI, which revealed that tumors had once again returned. His doctors recommended that they fuse the bones of the ankle, which would have meant periodic lifelong surgery and limited activity. Phleban didn’t care for that prospect, so he asked his doctors to amputate his lower leg. He figured he’d wear a prosthetic device and be able to do some sports afterward, and not be resigned to a life of surgeries, recoveries, walking boots, and canes.

ankle amputation

Phleban goes skydiving, checking one more thing off his bucket list.

In an interview with the U.K.’s Daily Mail Online, Pleban said, “Over six years I had to give up all of the sports I loved. Although taking my ankle away was a big sacrifice, the chance to regain the ability to play those sports again meant it was a no-brainer. It came down to either going through surgeries for a good portion of my life or have one surgery to end them all and be as active as I want on a prosthetic.”

And then he made a bucket list. A one-last-time run at unfulfilled adventures. All of it chronicled, from the point of view of his soon-to-not-be-there appendage, on a Facebook page called The Last Adventures of Joe’s Left Foot. Paintballing, go-karting, watersliding, a Caribbean vacation with his girlfriend, skydiving, and concerts. He even got a tattoo – a dotted line that wrapped around his intended amputation, with the words, Please Cut Here. Which he emailed to his surgeon.

In June, Phleban’s foot was amputated at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. “Right before the surgery, I was definitely freaking out a bit,” he said. “It was such a ‘no turning back’ decision. But as soon as I woke up from the surgery and looked down, I knew I had done the right thing.”

exercising after ankle amputation

Phleban exercising with his girlfirend after his amputation

Phleban shared at least one plan for the future. This Halloween, he’s planning to dress up “as a surfer, my girlfriend as a shark.”

Which physician is best to treat foot and ankle pain?

25 Jun

We sure take our feet and ankles for granted, don’t we?

best doctor for foot pain ankle pain toe pain

That is, until the Millenium Falcon breaks our ankle, or a foul ball clips our right foot. Ouch.

When your feet are painful, you’re miserable. Your lifestyle is instantly affected – pain forces you to dial back or give up walking, running, dancing, standing, or your favorite sports. Prolonged pain might even cause you to go from star athlete to couch potato.

It’s appropriate to visit the ER if you have an unusual amount of pain in your feet or ankles, especially if the pain is sudden and intense, is accompanied by bleeding or swelling, or if your foot and ankle have been involved in a trauma like a fall down the stairs. Or if you tried to break a cement block in half with absolutely no martial arts training.

For less painful events, like a suspected fracture, or wounds that won’t heal, many people choose to see their primary physician, which may or may not be a good choice, depending on that  physician’s field of expertise.

And for even less worrisome injuries, like a minor sprain, or minor heel pain, some seek no medical attention at all – which is never a good idea, as both injuries can develop into more complicated conditions, especially for athletes.

Which doctor is expert in treating foot and ankle problems?

When you have trouble with your ears, you should see an ENT. Trouble with your knees, an orthopedist. When you have pain or discomfort in your feet, toes, or ankles, you should see a podiatrist.

Podiatrists and podiatric surgeons are trained exclusively in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders – they do nothing but study the foot and ankle, it’s diseases and deformities. After all, 1/4 of all of the bones in your body are in your feet, and there are many conditions unique to this area of the body. That’s a lot of ground to cover in med school. If they choose to be a podiatric surgeon, they complete further schooling to study surgical techniques to correct these problems.

In 99% of cases, a podiatrist can resolve your ankle, toe, or foot problem much faster than a general physician. Podiatrists are also expert at spotting the early signs of diseases you can easily overlook, like diabetic foot disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

Without your feet in good working order, your life can be…. well, challenging. Don’t take them for granted.

Giants’ Jon Beason Sidelined With Sesamoid Injury

16 Jun

Here’s some potentially bad news for Giants fans: Middle linebacker Jon Beason injured his right foot during off season training Friday. It appears he suffered a ligament tear and a fracture of the sesamoid bone.

jon beason foot injury

Beason at work against the Redskins in 2013

“You have freak injuries,” Beason said. “I was just changing directions… the movement was a little unorthodox, I was flexing with the big toe in the ground and then I pivoted on it all the way around. It’s a movement that I often do… I literally felt like I stepped in like a sprinkler head hole. I just felt it give right away.

“I really felt that I that I had torn the extensor, which is the tendon with the muscle, it’s how your big toe functions. That would have been season-ending.”

After limping to the sidelines and huddling with the training staff, Beason was carted off the field and taken to the Hospital for Special Surgery where he underwent an array of tests: MRI, CT, and x-rays. A definitive treatment plan has yet to be announced, but Beason’s status for the Giants’ regular season opener in Detroit is up in the air, as an injury like his typically requires a 12 week recovery period.

Beason, a 3-time Pro Bowler, was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2007. He played only one game for the Panthers in the 2011 season when he ruptured his left achilles tendon, and in 2012, played in just four games before suffering a microfracture in his right knee, requiring surgery.

Beason was traded to the Giants in October of 2013, and played in all 12 remaining games. At the end of the season, he was second on the team with 93 tackles. The Giants re-signed him in March and expected him to be a cornerstone of their defense this year.

So what’s a sesamoid anyway?

Most bones in our bodies are connected at joints, but not the sesamoids, which are connected only to tendons or embedded in muscle. Your kneecap is the largest sesamoid in your body, and the smallest are those found in the foot, two tiny, pea-shaped bones in the front of each foot that most people are unfamiliar with until they’re injured.

Located just behind the big toe, the sesamoids act like pulleys, providing a smooth surface over which the tendons glide, increasing the leverage of the tendons controlling the big toe. The sesamoids also assist with weightbearing and elevate the bones in your biggest toe. But that’s assuming you have sesamoids – some people are born without sesamoids in their feet and experience no problems.

Read more about sesamoiditis

If you damage the sesamoid bones in your feet, you’ll feel the pain in the ball of your foot, just behind the joint of the big toe. You may simply have an irritation of the tendons around the bones – called sesamoiditis, or you may have actually broken one of the tiny bones.

If you suspect an unjury to the sesamoids, seek an evaluation from a podiatrist, the most knowledgeable physician to treat this uncommon injury. Before your appointment, stop the activity which caused the pain, take over the counter pain medicine like advil or aleve to manage the pain and soreness, and use ice to reduce swelling.

If after a diagnosis, your podiatrist confirms an injury to the sesamoid bones, she or he may recommend any of the following:

  • custom orthotics to shift your body weight off of the forefoot
  • steroid injections to relieve swelling and pain
  • immobilization with a surgical boot
  • physical therapy
  • strapping or taping the big toe
  • surgery to remove or repair the sesamoids

The podiatrists at PA Foot and Ankle Associates are experts at treating sports injuries and are the best qualified physicians to diagnose and treat uncommon injuries of the foot and ankle.

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