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When Your Doctor Hurts His Foot...

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute
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I really enjoy playing soccer, and have been playing in a Highland Co-ed Adult league for 3 years (only in the summer).  This league is designed to let people enjoy soccer and often includes "newbies" (players playing soccer for the first time).  It was in this game last Saturday that everything happened.

As a defender, I take it personally when a goal is scored.  I had been beat 3 times by this player and decided I wouldn't let it happen again.  As he moved with the ball, I reached and took controll of the ball with the right foot, while planting the left.  As with many soccer fields in Utah, the surface was uneven and I twisted my foot under (the typical mechanism of an ankle sprain).  It hurt, but I rarely ever truly sprain my ankle.  I distributed the ball and then hobbled back to my position on the field.  This hurt much more than usual and I was unable to run as completely for the last 10 minutes of the game. (Special note:  If you hurt your ankle or foot, it is not recommended that you run through the pain as this can make any injury worse.)

As I went home after the game, here is the process I underwent in treating my injury:

- Limiting activities initially:  Walking caused increased pain, so I wanted to protect it for several hours and see how it recovered.

- Ice to area:  Ice is designed to reduce swelling and can often decrease pain significantly.  This is a key part of treating any injury.

- Heat to area:  Ice was helping, but was insufficient to decrease the pain.  Heat (as opposed to ice) increases the blood flow to the area and can help remove "junk" that the body has after an injury.  Alternating hot and cold is usually a great idea, but cold should be final or the foot will swell significantly.

-  Compressive Wrap:  Placing an elastic or ace wrap to the foot and ankle helped support it and decrease the pain.  RICE is the best acronym (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).

- Vibration:  On a soccer field, a football field or by a track, it is easy to test an injury for bone involvement by using a tuning fork and testing the injured area.  When a bone is broken, it usually will hurt more with vibration.  In my case, however, it didn't hurt to vibrate.

- X-ray:  With the above treatments, and the addition of ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory, often the pain improves.  Since mine was getting worse over time, I knew it was time for an X-ray.  Taking my own x-ray revealed a broken bone in the foot.

- Protection in a Cast Boot:  There are multiple options for treating a broken foot, from a ankle brace to a post-op shoe to a cast or boot.  I chose the boot as it provides the protection of a cast but the ease of showering without keeping the foot dry (Besides, it is hard to cast your own foot.)  The boot, however, is to be utilized as a cast, except removal for showers (ie. I am sleeping in the boot too.)

Other things that can be done include pain medications, but I wanted to see the progress of the healing and didn't want to interfere with the sensations.  This is for my learning (and the pain hasn't been that bad).

Continue to watch this blog and I will post the progression of the fracture healing also.  Question is how good a patient I am?
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