Tomorrow is one of my favorite days...Super Bowl Sunday! Always bittersweet since, as a big football fan, it also indicates the end of another football season. I'm hoping it's a good game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. Not a fan of either team and I don't have a particular aversion either....so I'm hoping I get to see a good game here in Houston.
One thing that I'm following is the Indianapolis Colts' defensive end Dwight Freeney's severe right ankle injury. Now, I wouldn't play on it and wouldn't advise my patients to do so either, but professional sports is a different story. They professionally beat their bodies up and push them to the limits for our entertainment and get paid royally to do so. So it certainly is possible, even though he hasn't participated in any recent workouts, that he probably will play in tomorrow's game.
From what I read, he sustained a grade 2-3 ankle sprain, which is a complete tear of some of the ligaments that support the ankle. This leads to severe pain and swelling and a very significant instability in his ankle. Of course, with anti-inflammatory medication, possibly a cortisone injection, taping, and bracing, he can be pieced together to play.
Of course, there is some very real risk to him playing as well. Without good sensation in his ankle, he will not be very sure-footed and his speed and reaction time will be affected. Also, there is the good possibility of worsening his injury, rupturing the remaining ligaments that are supporting his ankle. In fact, he is putting his career at risk, but so is every football player when they walk on the field. Best case scenario, after the game, he will be immobilized followed by physical therapy to restore strength and balance. Worst case would be surgery to stabilize his ankle, again followed by physical therapy
If you twist or sprain your ankle, get it examined immediately. Ligaments do heal, but are quick to heal in a stretched position that will provide less stability in the long run. Even for moderate sprains, studies have shown that a period of immobilization is best to ensure more complete healing of the injury.