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USC Cornerback Injures Ankles Saving Cousin’s Life

Josh ShawUSC Cornerback Josh Shaw makes a living preventing wide receivers from catching passes, but his best move came off the field this weekend when he jumped off a balcony to prevent his 7-year-old cousin from drowning in a pool.

Shaw, who had just been voted team captain that day, was on a second story balcony when he noticed his 7-year-old cousin, who doesn’t know how to swim, struggling to stay afloat in the pool below. Throwing caution to the wind, Shaw jumped from the balcony onto the concrete below and suffered injuries to both his ankles in the process. He crawled to the pool and was able to get his cousin to safety.

“I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew,” said Shaw. “My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible.”

The media reports that Shaw is dealing with high ankle sprains in both of his feet, but Dr. Silverman is hesitant to rely on the early reports. Here’s what he had to say about the story.

This is truly an inspirational story and I commend Shaw for his heroic actions, but I think the media may be overcharacterizing his double high ankle sprains. This is the proverbial over call of a high ankle sprain.

See, as we’ve detailed before, a high ankle sprain isn’t considered “high” because a person fell or jumped from a high height, it’s classified this way because it involves the syndesmosis joint, the highest joint involved in ankle motion and stability. These usually happen when a sudden and forceful outward turning of the foot occurs, not because of a fall from great heights. 

When you consider the physics of his fall, it’s unlikely that both of his feet twisted outward as he landed. It’s certainly possible that he sustained one high ankle sprain, but it’s more likely that one of his ankles sustained a regular sprain. In fact, I think it’s probably more likely that he’s dealing with two high-grade ankle sprains, not two high ankle sprains. Again, it’s possible that he does in fact have two high ankle sprains, but misinformation can occur when you have news outlets covering a story, not doctors or team trainers. 

I wish Shaw the best of luck in his recovery, and I hope he’s not dealing with two syndesmosis injuries. That would certainly force him to miss some games.

Related source: ESPN

Vikings’ Loadholt Avoids Serious Ankle Injury

CC image by Joe BielawaMinnesota Vikings offensive lineman Phil Loadholt injured his left ankle during Saturday’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but it appears he’s avoided a major injury.

The Vikings didn’t believe the injury was too serious, since Loadholt was able to return to the game after missing one offensive series, but they didn’t want to take any chances. Loadholt underwent an X-ray after the game and had an MRI on Sunday. The X-ray came back negative, while the MRI revealed a contusion.

For a large individual tasked with pushing against a charging defensive lineman, having strong ankles is a must. Team doctors initially thought Loadholt suffered a sprain, but it looks like it’s just a bruise.

“If it’s simply a bruise, Loadholt will just have to deal with some pain and discomfort over the next few days,” said Dr. Silverman. “Had it been a sprain, his mobility would likely have been limited, which would be problematic for any right tackle.”

Dr. Silverman added that Loadholt will have two full weeks to recover before the Vikings hit the field for their regular season opener against the Rams. The Rams have one of the best defensive fronts in football, so Minnesota will do everything in their power to ensure Loadholt is back to full health come September 7.

One such action is holding Loadholt out of Thursday’s preseason finale. Since the starters usually sit out the final preseason game regardless of health, it’s likely that Loadholt wouldn’t have been on the field anyways. With his minor injury, it’s all but certain he’ll be in street clothes come gameday.

Related source: ESPN

49ers’ Kaepernick Reveals Details About 2013 Foot Injury

Colin KaepernickIf the San Francisco 49ers want to make another run at the NFC Championship game, they’ll have to put their best foot forward. That foot may be the fully healed left foot of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Speaking openly for the first time about the injury, Kaepernick revealed that he suffered a chipped bone in his forefoot and a ruptured capsule in the ball of his left foot during a Week 2 loss to the Seahawks. Kaepernick said he believes the injury occurred when a linebacker landed on his foot after a running play, but he never detailed specifics about the injury to the media until this week.

When asked about the injury last season, Kaepernick repeatedly told reporters he was simply dealing with hangnails on both feet. Kaepernick was listed on San Francisco’s official injury report for a good portion of the season, but since he never missed any time with the injury, many bought the excuse that he was just dealing with minor discomfort.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh said he noticed that Kaepernick’s mobile ability was affected by the injury, so he decided to limit the number of designed running plays for the quarterback.

“I noticed it, especially in practice. I think anytime you have a foot, a hand or a finger, it affects you throwing and running,” said Harbaugh. “We didn’t want to see Colin get hit 12 times a game. Four or five? Maybe, and that’s it. That was a conscious effort.”

Harbaugh wasn’t the only one to notice that Kaepernick was struggling to match the rushing statistics he put up just one year prior. In the first four games after the injury, Kaepernick failed to eclipse 20 rushing yards in any game. Kaepernick only averaged 5.7 yards per game in the regular season, but his foot appeared to be fully healthy by the time the playoffs rolled around. He averaged 9.3 yards per carry in the postseason, but the 49ers fell in a close battle with Seattle in the NFC Championship.

Kaepernick said he knows the importance of playing through discomfort.

“I think that’s the kind of players we have on this team: You’re not going to let something that’s minor, that’s not a true injury, keep you off of the field. You’re going to hurt, yes. You’re going to have tweaks and problems. But you’re a football player; you can play through those.”

Dr. Silverman comments

Kaepernick had a down year running the ball last season, which makes more sense now that he’s speaking about the foot injury. His yards per carry fell by one full yard, and he had one less rushing touchdown last season than he did in 2013, despite playing in three more games last year.

When he’s fully healthy, Kaepernick is arguably the best duel threat quarterback in the league. Considering he’s made two consecutive NFC Championship appearances and another duel threat quarterback – Russell Wilson – just won the Super Bowl, it’s a good bet that San Francisco is poised to be great for the foreseeable future.

I wish I could take a look at his x-rays, but it sounds as if the damage was able to heal as expected. He’ll be one to watch in 2014.

Related source: The Sac Bee

Ankle Replacement Can Get You Back On Your Feet

Ankle ReplacementAccording to a report by ABC 30 in California, more than 50 million Americans are affected by some form of arthritis. Roughly 10 percent, or 5 million of those individuals suffer from arthritis of the ankle.

Arthritis of the ankle can cause a variety of different symptoms, including:

  • Pain, both while standing and in non-weightbearing positions.
  • Sensitivity or tenderness.
  • Feelings of tightness or pressure in the area.
  • Reduced range of motion.
  • Swelling.

Sometimes the pain and discomfort is so unbearable that patients are unable to preform daily activities, like working out, walking the dog, or even playing with their children. Thankfully, medical knowledge has progressed immensely in the last 50 years, and doctors can now offer ankle replacement surgeries that help people get back to their old lifestyle.

Ankle Replacement Surgery

Ankle surgery shouldn’t be the first option a person considers. Surgeons say that ankle replacement should only be considered if bracing, over-the-counter medications and physical therapy have proved fruitless. Also, the operation may not be possible if the patient is deemed too heavy. Since your ankles and feet are responsible for shouldering the weight of your entire body, the risks of failure or complications may be too great if a patient is too heavyset. Your doctor can work with you to develop a plan to get to you the optimal weight.

As for the process, ankle replacement surgery involves replacing the articulating surfaces of the tibia, fibula, and the talus. Surgeons insert a metal and plastic implant that mimics the movements and functions of a healthy ankle. Current statistics suggest that 90 percent of patients are satisfied with their replacement ankle during the first four years following surgery. The ankle implant currently lasts about 15 to 20 years, depending on activity, level of arthritis, and how the bones attach to the device.

No surgery is risk free, and ankle replacement isn’t any different. These complications are very rare, but they do occur:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Bone or device failure
  • Nerve injury

Although there are a few rare risks, it hasn’t dissuaded the public from electing to undergo the operation. Surgical data shows that between 2011 and 2012, the total number of ankle replacements doubled. For more information on the operation, check out our Ankle Replacement Webpage.

Related sources: Washington.edu, ABC 30

The Dangers of the Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice Bucket Challenge DangersDespite the overly ominous title of this post, the Ice Bucket Challenge is a pretty safe and fun way to raise awareness and donations for those battling ALS. For those of you who haven’t heard, the Ice Bucket Challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice cold water over your head. Once you complete the challenge you can nominate three friends to take the challenge within 24 hours.

If they decline, they are supposed to donate $100 to the ALS Association. If they accept, they are asked to videotape themselves completing the challenge and make a donation of their choosing to the ALS Association.

The trend is sweeping the nation, but there are some precautions you should take. We discuss the potential dangers below.

  • Cold Shock – The elderly, anyone with a heart condition and pregnant women should avoid the challenge as the cold sensation can cause your body to go into a temporary shock. If you’re really keen to participate, use warmer water or simply donate.
  • Eyewear – Goggles or protective eyewear are smart choices if you really load up the bucket with ice. You wouldn’t want to have your eye damaged by a rouge ice cube.
  • Hypothermia – Although you’re unlikely to suffer hypothermia from a second or two of ice cold water, avoid the challenge on particularly cold days, and always have towels and dry clothes nearby.
  • Head trauma – If done incorrectly, a person can suffer serious head injuries if they try to make the challenge more extreme. A simple Youtube search of “Ice Bucket Fail” shows people attempting to dump plastic bins from 10-15 feet in the air. As you can see in the video below, if the pourer has a loose grip, the unsuspecting challenger can be injured badly. Avoid dumping the bucket from high heights, avoid large bins that weigh a lot, and don’t use a glass container.

What is ALS?

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and it’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that weakens the nerve cells in the brain and throughout the spinal cord. As the ALS Association describes on their website, “Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”

ALS is an awful disease because a fully functioning person slowly loses his or her ability to preform even the simplest tasks. That’s why it’s so important we find a cure. For more information about ALS, or to donate, click here.

Buccaneers RB Sims Out 12 Weeks With Ankle Fracture 

Charles SimsThe Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without their third round pick in this year’s draft for at least a few months after Charles Sims suffered a broken ankle during practice last week.

Sims was expected to be a change-of-pace runner behind starter Doug Martin, but the new regime in Tampa wouldn’t have selected Sims in the third round of the draft if they didn’t have plans for the rookie. Head coach Lovie Smith spoke highly of Sims prior to the injury.

“I think you can tell, especially at skill positions, does a guy have it?” Smith said. “Charles Sims, I would say, has it. He hasn’t played a game and right now we’re not live an awful lot. But you can see enough in him to like his future with us. Just talking about it, that’s the last thing. He can carry the ball or he can catch the ball. Protections for any young back, that’s the thing that they will have the most trouble with early on. But he’s picked things up fairly well quickly.”

Unfortunately for Sims, he’ll have to put his development on hold for the foreseeable future. He suffered the injury in practice Tuesday, and although he was seen wearing a walking cast on Thursday, he needed to undergo an operation to stabilize the injury.

[It’s] unfortunate with his ankle injury, but that happens,” Smith said Thursday after practice. “You know, you saw him in the cast with the walking boot outside. He won’t play in the immediate future for sure.”

The injury may have been more severe that Smith initially realized, as the team announced on Friday that Sims would undergo surgery over the weekend to address the fracture. Team doctors said rehabilitation from this type of fracture takes roughly 12-14 weeks before a player can tolerate the rigors of professional football. If he were healthy enough to play exactly 12 weeks after the surgery, Sims would rejoin his teammates prior to their Week 10 contest against the Atlanta Falcons.

Dr. Silverman comments

Puns aside, this is truly an unlucky break for this young man. Many NFL insiders projected Sims to be one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 season, but now he’ll have to work his way back from an injury.

I don’t have access to his X-rays, but it sounds as if it was a pretty significant break, or at least in a significant location. 12-14 weeks is often on the longer side of the recovery spectrum when it comes to ankle rehab, but again, he’s not just looking to get back to the point were he is able to walk pain free, he’s trying to elude some of the NFL’s biggest and fastest players. He’ll want to adhere to his rehab schedule, as it’s important to make sure the affected ligaments heal as they should. I wouldn’t be surprised if he beat the 12-14 week timetable, but I understand that the Bucs will want to make sure their young running back is fully healthy before rushing him back on the field. Best of luck, Charles.

Related source: CBS Sports, Tampa Bay Times, SportsTalkFlorida.com

Foot Sensory Issues Could Be Precursor To Heart Attack

Foot SensoryResearch by medical students at St. George’s University in London found that the loss of sensation in the feet in diabetics could be a predictor of certain cardiovascular events like heart attack or strokes.

As we’ve documented in past posts, diabetes affects how blood flows throughout the body. Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves, especially if a patient struggles to control their blood sugar. Damage to the circulatory system can lead to poor blood circulation, typically in the hands and feet. If the circulation is extremely poor, a person may be forced to undergo an amputation.

Researchers sought to determine if there were identifiable precursors to more severe adverse events in an effort to prevent individuals from losing limbs or suffering related health issues due to poor circulation. For example, loss of sensation in the feet is often a precursor to development of a foot ulcer. Researchers wanted to see if other sensory issues put a person at greater risk for suffering a cardiovascular event.

Results

For their study, researchers examined 13,000 patients with type-2 diabetes and no history of cardiovascular disease. After comparing diabetics diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy (as diagnosed by their general practitioner) to those without peripheral neuropathy, researchers found that the individuals with foot sensory issues were more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack.

“While the risk of cardiovascular disease is known to be higher in patients with diabetes, predicting which patients may be at greatest risk is often difficult,” said researcher Jack Brownrigg, PHD. “We looked at data on individuals with no history of cardiovascular disease and found that those with peripheral neuropathy were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.”

Robert Hincliffe, co-author of the study, said the study was the first of it’s kind and could help general practitioners with their care of diabetic patients.

“This is the first study to show that it can also indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attacks or strokes,” said Hincliffe.”The good news is that peripheral neuropathy can be easily identified by simple tests carried out in GP surgeries. There is likely an unmet potential to reduce cardiovascular disease in this group of patients through greater monitoring and simple treatments.”

Dr. Silverman comments

Sensory deficiency is one of the side effects of diabetes that doctors and patients need to closely monitor. Thousands of Americans lose limbs each year because of circulatory complications caused by diabetes.

I’m glad the authors decided to study the impact of poor circulation on cardiovascular events. The results are more common sense than earth shattering, but the key here is that studies like these help improve social awareness about the potential deadly consequences of ignoring warning signs.

Related source: BMJ

Disabled List Likely For Machado After Knee Sprain 

machadoThe Baltimore Orioles are expected to be without young phenom Manny Machado for the next two weeks after the third baseman suffered a knee injury while batting Monday night.

Fans and teammates feared the worst after seeing Machado’s right leg give out during a swing. Although he stayed on the ground in pain for a short while after the injury, Machado was able to walk off the field on his own power. He was seen using crutches after the game, but reporters said he appeared to be in good spirits.

Machado is no stranger to knee injuries, as he suffered a torn patellofemoral ligament in his left knee last season when he landed awkwardly on a base. Thankfully for Orioles fans, an x-ray taken after Monday’s game came back negative, and a subsequent MRI revealed only a knee sprain.

The Orioles said they’d provide an update on the 22-year-old’s condition, including a timetable for his return, after their game Wednesday against the Yankees. Although nothing is official, sources close to the team say they believe the Orioles will place Machado on the 15-day DL and call up infielder Cord Phelps to fill his roster spot.

Dr. Silverman comments

As I noted when discussing Machado’s injury last season, I mentioned that it was probably better that the injury occurred to the left knee based on how each leg handles weight distribution and torque during the swing process.

Although this injury is less severe than a torn patellofemoral ligament, an injury to the right leg of a right-handed batter will tend to be more problematic than if the same injury had occurred on the left leg. It’s similar to a quarterback who suffers a foot injury. Your plant foot generates power, and your landing leg helps with accuracy and control as weight is transferred. If a knee injury gets in the way, a player will not be able to throw a football or hit a baseball as far as they normally would.

It sounds like Machado will be on the shelf for the rest of August, but my guess is he’ll return for a playoff push as the calendar turns to September. Hopefully the injury isn’t anything more than a sprain.

Han Solo Recovering Well After Ankle Fracture

han SoloHarrison Ford appears to be recovering well from an ankle fracture he suffered on the set while filming a scene for the new Star Wars movie.

Ford, who plays Millennium Falcon captain Han Solo in the series, fractured his ankle when a hydraulic door on his spacecraft fell on him during filming. The 72-year-old actor had to be airlifted to John Radcliffe hospital to have his fracture addressed.

During our initial prognosis, Dr. Silverman speculated that weight bearing and bone healing would show significant improvements roughly six weeks after the injury, and that proved to be a accurate diagnosis. Reporters said Ford showed no signs of pain or discomfort in his leg when he graced the red carpet for yesterday’s premier of the Expendables 3. Today marks eight weeks to the day since Ford suffered the fractured ankle.

Although it appears that his fracture and ligaments are healing as planned, Dr. Silverman noted in his original diagnosis that Ford’s biggest issue may be swelling near the fracture site. Swelling can persist for four months for even the simplest of ankle injuries, and an ankle fracture is no routine injury.

Luckily for Ford, the film’s producer were more than willing to adjust their shooting schedule so Han Solo could recover and the movie could still finish shooting as scheduled. The producers shot scenes that didn’t involve Ford in July, and they decided to take a two-week break at the beginning of August to ensure Ford had enough time to get back on his feet. Ford is expected to return to the set within a week to resume shooting.

“Harrison is doing well and is looking forward to returning to the set soon,” Lucasfilm said in a statement. “Shooting remains on track to wrap in the fall with the film scheduled for released on December 18, 2015.”

Dr. Silverman comments

I’m glad to hear that Ford’s recovery is where it should be at this stage. Now that he’s walking, I’d expect his next step, which he may already have begun, would be physical therapy. PT will help him strengthen the ligaments and tissues near the fracture site. Without physical therapy, Ford would be susceptible to re-injury.

Related source: DailyMail

Sports Drinks Have Few Health Benefits

GatoradeA study by researchers at the University of Otago found that sugary sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade offer few health benefits while putting kids at risk for diabetes, tooth decay and childhood obesity.

Staying hydrated is key to preforming your best during a game, but researchers feared that too many children are reaching for overly sweetened beverages loaded with sugar during sports matches. In an effort to determine the role sports drinks play in childhood health risks, researchers documented the consumption habits of 82 children between the ages of 10 and 12 during sports games. Researchers noted that nearly two-thirds of children consumed sport and energy drinks, while the rest opted for water or milk.

Lead researcher Moira Smith, MD, said parents and children may be oblivious to how much sugar is packed into common sports drinks.

“There are 11 teaspoons of sugar in some of these sports drinks,” said Smith.

Parents and Advertisers

Smith hypothesized that the problem of overconsumption of sugary beverages is two-fold. First, she noted that children see many of their favorite athletes in commercials for products like Gatorade and Powerade. She said that athlete consumption gives the false impression that these drinks are healthy for you, even though they aren’t.

The second issue is that parents are oblivious to just how much sugar is in one bottle of Gatorade. While the occasional sports drink won’t cause your child’s teeth to fall out on the spot, Smith urged parents to avoid purchasing it for every game, and to consider opting for the 12oz variety as opposed to the larger 20oz and 32oz bottles.

She concluded by calling for change from the FDA. She hopes sugar content on sports drinks will become more transparent in the not-so-distant future.

“[Put] warning labels on these drinks, to say that their consumptions increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay,” said Smith.

Dr. Silverman comments

I understand the appeal of Gatorade and Powerade. Kids want to emulate their favorite stars, and the bright blue, green and pink colored drinks are more visually stimulating than plain old water. But parents need to understand that water is the much healthier option. Sure, your child may get a short boost in energy from the sugar rush, but most 10-year-olds don’t need that boost to have fun on the soccer field. They are already bursting with energy as it is.

Sugar packed drinks like Gatorade and soda are helping contribute to America’s growing waistline, and it’s up to parents to reverse the trend. After all, they are the one’s stocking the pantry with cases of Gatorade. Swap out that Arctic Blast for an Aquafina and your child’s health will be better off for it.