With the return of Fall sports, namely contact sports like hockey and football, you can expect to see traumatic injuries. Most recently, Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys sustained a right ankle fracture dislocation while being tackled.
Dak had notable deformity to his right ankle, and you could see the shock in his eyes as he looked down to see his foot turned the wrong direction.
So the questions many of you ask is “What do you do next?” and “Will he ever play again?”
On the field and immediately after the injury the teams’ orthopedic physician will reduce the ankle back into place by pulling traction, exaggerating the deformity, and then placing it back to where it belongs. The ankle will then be maintained in that position with an air cast or form of splint. The ankle itself is very unstable and if the reduction is not maintained it will likely dislocate once again.
The next step is for operative fixation. Surgical fixation will most frequently entail the placement of plates and screws to reduce and maintain the position of the bones that were broken while allowing them to heal. If the fracture is open, meaning the bone comes through the skin, the patient may need to be placed into an external fixation device until the soft tissue injury heals. Ultimately, they will then undergo removal of the external fixator device with placement of internal hardware.
The patient will then remain off of the extremity completely for at least 6 weeks depending on physician protocol. They are then transitioned into a walking boot which immobilizes the ankle and allows for weight bearing and walking. This is usually done for 2-3 weeks before finally being transitioned back into a normal shoe with an ankle brace for added support and stability.
When all is said and done, one can expect about a 3 month recovery which will most likely include a course of physical therapy to get the patient back to their pre-injury activity level.
If you or a family member sustains an ankle injury, call us at 727-209-6677 to get your same day appointment with Dr. Troxell.