Recently a U.S. football team made headlines because of a dispute between the head coach and one of his players The cause of the drama? An injury. A wide receiver revealed to members of the press that he had suffered a broken ankle during an offseason workout.
The disappointed head coach subsequently spoke to the media about the injury saying that he felt the player should not have spoken about his injury publicly. In fact, the coach and his team had previously said the player, who had a history of ankle problems, had only suffered an insignificant ankle injury, not a break. The situation brings a lot of important questions to light. For example, how important is it for athletes to disclose an injury? And why are there stigmas around getting hurt?
Calling out an injury when it happens is important — and so is treating it for what it is, not what you wish it were. Here are a few reasons why.
First and foremost, delaying treatment can cause more extensive problems down the line. When players “push through the pain,” they risk making an injury worse than it was, to begin with. Furthermore, putting off an evaluation can add to the complexity of any needed surgery and even extend the time patients are forced to sit out from activities. For example, what might start out as an overworked hamstring could develop into an Achilles tendon rupture, which usually requires surgery. Ouch! In some cases, seeking care sooner can lead to a positively surprising diagnosis and treatment plans, like a sprain instead of a tear or physical therapy instead of surgery.
It’s understandable that some individuals, including those who play sports for a living, would be hesitant to be upfront about a condition that requires surgery and recovery time. But with today’s advances and surgical procedures, recovery can be pretty quick — and it’s important for proper healing both immediately and long-term. Ultimately, the handful of benefits of putting off treatment for a foot or ankle injury are far outweighed by the numerous benefits of proper care in a timely manner.
My hope is that patients, whether they are professional athletes or “average Joes,” keep these points in mind and feel comfortable talking about their foot and ankle concerns. This is especially important for teens and children who are participating in sports and look up to professional coaches and athletes as examples and role models. Explaining the significance of reporting injuries is essential for youngsters’ overall development and growth.
Today, there are a variety of treatments that can treat your foot and ankle situation and/or prevent it from becoming worse, including physical therapy, surgical procedures, and regenerative therapies. I would be happy to discuss your options in greater detail over the phone or in my office. Don’t hesitate to reach out today!