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Ankle Injury

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02-06-2010, 03:36 PM
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SERE 24
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Ankle Injury

This is obviously not the best place to ask this, but I'm too stubborn to go to the doctor right now, especially since I don't think anything but an MRI can confirm/negate my fears, so I figured if anyone here has real experience with this kind of injury or a strong medical background, I'd see what others think before I decide to spend my evening at the doc's.

I imagine everyone will suggest one of two things (R.I.C.E or go get it looked at) but I'm just hoping to see if anyone can estimate, based on the details, whether I should bother getting an MRI or if I should just stay at home and rest it.

Last night playing in a DIII college game I went to crossover while standing still off a faceoff (right over left, strafing to my left) and my right foot came down on the blade of a defenders stick, my ankle rolled inward badly (to say my leg + foot made a 90 degree ankle is no exaggeration) and I came down with all my weight on top of the joint. I heard a pretty big pop and rolled around for a few seconds in agony before my brain kicked in and remind me we were on a 5-on-3. I tried to get up and skate to the front of the net but couldn't push off. I coasted to the front picking my leg up so not to put any weight on it except for when using the other leg to push and as soon as the other team cleared I went to the bench.

Sitting still on the bench it hurt in a resonant kind of way. I could feel pain up on the side and back of my calf but I knew it was originating at the ankle. It wasn't the same severe pain though that came from putting pressure on it. When the whistle blew I got out on the ice to see if I could skate on it. Just staying between our blue line and the red line I took a few weak strides than stopped with my right ankle forward (weight on the inside left foot) - no pain - then repeated to the other side, stopping with my left foot forward (weight on the injured inside right foot) - excruciating. I barely had any speed while I did these back and forth stops to test the foot and it was clear that I couldn't handle normal skating. I was sure that if I even tried to stop or put pressure on the ankle at game speed I would collapse again.

I left the bench and went to the lockerroom. I'd say 10 minutes had passed since I first rolled the ankle. One of the assistant coaches went to get me ice and I didn't untie my skate until he brought it so that I could ice it right away without giving it time to swell. I iced it the entire bus ride back and hobbled around on it for the remainder of the night (walk to the bus/from the bus, around my apartment - nothing major).

In the middle of the night I woke up to go to the bathroom. By the time I got back in bed, just from walking to the bathroom, I was in agony. Just laying in bed with the ankle immobilized (it had only been hurting badly when I turned it, put weight on it, etc.) the pain was shooting up my leg and making it very hard to go back to sleep. This morning when I woke up it hurts like crazy if it's not perfectly straight - any twisting, bending or pushing off results in the kind of pain that only last for a few seconds but causes you to yelp immediately after moving it. I can "limp" around the house at best, but calling it a limp is generous.

It's not very swollen at all, but there is a small bump on the outside of the ankle that you can see. It's looks and feels like a tendon sticking out a little, but I have no idea if that's the case - that's just the rough size and shape of it. The ankle pops a little when I move it certain ways. What are the odds that I've actually done some damage and is it more likely that I'm just being a baby about a badly sprained ankle and I should just rest it for a few days and not spend the time/money at a doctor who is probably going to conclude the same?

My experience with doctors is that if you're not bleeding, dying or have a clearly broken bone, they humor you about your injury and suggest R.I.C.E without offering to look into an MRI, etc. If the ankle isn't swollen and the bone's clearly not broken, they dismiss it as "probably just a sprain" (which, sure, it *probably* is, but what if its not? I'd like to handle this in one trip, you know?) and tell you to do everything you already knew to do before you wasted 2 hours in their office. They dismissively nod when you try to explain things like "well, I kept the foot in my skate until ice was available to minimize the swelling" and than tell you "well, it's not very swollen..." 20 minutes later when telling you to go home and rest it.

Edit: I apologize for the generalization about doctors. That's just been my limited experience in instances I've need attention for a sports injury. I've never broken a bone (knock on wood) but I had some pretty bad ligament damage in my elbow that took 3 doctor trips before they ran MRIs and stopped dismissing the problem. I also was sent home from the ER with a badly separated shoulder saying it was just bruised and to rest the arm.


Last edited by SERE 24: 02-06-2010 at 04:05 PM.
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02-06-2010, 03:53 PM
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Anthony Mauro
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From an exercise science POV, if you're having an issue with your calf in this instance you've most likely got atleast a problem with your achilles tendon. If it was just structural damage to the ankle joint or foot complex, you likely wouldn't feel the pain in your calf that you do. It'd probably be more fatigue and soreness rather than pain because of the way you're compensating for the injury in movement.

Any chance you can see someone like an orthopedist?

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02-06-2010, 04:08 PM
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I recommend you go see an orthopedist as well. I've got a little bit of a medical background. It sounds to be that you may have torn one of the ligaments in the ankle or you may have broken either your tibula or fibula. Judging by how much pain you are in it would benefit you more to go see a doctor/orthopedist than rather keep walking on it and maybe hurting it even more.

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02-06-2010, 04:13 PM
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Doesnt your school have trainers?

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02-06-2010, 04:25 PM
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Doesnt your school have trainers?
Yep. Incidentally one of our players broke his collarbone and had to be stretched and taken via ambulance so to avoid the whole bus having to wait at the ER all night we sent our trainers with him. Both injuries were in the third. If I'm gonna drive to campus to see the trainers now (too late today) I might as well go to a real doctor.

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02-06-2010, 04:26 PM
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Yep. Incidentally one of our players broke his collarbone and had to be stretched and taken via ambulance so to avoid the whole bus having to wait at the ER all night we sent our trainers with him. Both injuries were in the third. If I'm gonna drive to campus to see the trainers now (too late today) I might as well go to a real doctor.
Im not to familiar how the NCAA works with injuries, but you really shouldnt be paying for any medical care.

Unless it is only the time you will spend at the docs that keeps you from going.

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02-06-2010, 05:18 PM
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I recently experienced a similar ankle injury about 4 weeks ago while playing hockey, but at the time it happened, I couldn't put any weight or pressure on my ankle. My experiences with pain and the location of the swelling seem identical as well.

I went to the doctor and he determined it was a sprained ankle without an MRI. He said it was a sprained ankle because of the areas of pain. If your bones do not hurt on contact then it is probable that your bones are not broken.

Another thing to note is there are different degrees of sprains, mine was a level 2, level 1 being the least damage. I couldn't imagine anything higher because level 2 was excrutiating pain.

Oh and I haven't been able to skate since and the pain is still here, albeit a lot lighter, so I'd prepare for a long time off skates...

But, that's just my experience so a visit to a doctor wouldn't hurt, they don't always have to run tests to see what's wrong.

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02-06-2010, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mikegoalie View Post
I recently experienced a similar ankle injury about 4 weeks ago while playing hockey, but at the time it happened, I couldn't put any weight or pressure on my ankle. My experiences with pain and the location of the swelling seem identical as well.

I went to the doctor and he determined it was a sprained ankle without an MRI. He said it was a sprained ankle because of the areas of pain. If your bones do not hurt on contact then it is probable that your bones are not broken.

Another thing to note is there are different degrees of sprains, mine was a level 2, level 1 being the least damage. I couldn't imagine anything higher because level 2 was excrutiating pain.

Oh and I haven't been able to skate since and the pain is still here, albeit a lot lighter, so I'd prepare for a long time off skates...

But, that's just my experience so a visit to a doctor wouldn't hurt, they don't always have to run tests to see what's wrong.
What concerns me the most with his injury is how far it bent. The 90 degree angle bend really concerns me as my past expirences seeing and halfing ankle injuries. An ankle should not bend past a 45 degree angle normally. Also that pop is something that should be ingnored. If I were you I would be going to see that trainer As soon as possible.

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02-06-2010, 07:39 PM
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Well I'll definitely go get it checked it out. It's just killing me. I have insurance through the ncaa for doctors outside of the program but have had a copay in the past. My hesitance to visit a doctor lies more in my suspicion that he will simply tell me that it's not broken, which I already know, and suggest that I rest, ice, compress, elevate, which is all I've been doing already without looking into possible ligament damage. I'm not suggesting I have some major damage - I don't know jack about diagnosing these things - but I already know that I have an "ankle sprain without much swelling and no broken bones".

If that's all a doctor is going to determine for me than I don't feel like wasting my time. I would like for someone to recognize the possibility of ligament damage, even if it's not severe, and look into it beyond a naked eye analysis and get me into an air-cast or whatever is necessary ASAP if it is indeed more than just a sprain (which I believe it is, based on the angle my foot bent at, the way I came down on it and the volume of the pop that I heard) so that I don't do any more damage to it and can back on the ice as quickly as possible.

I'll get it checked out Monday morning. There's no orthopedist in the area that's available tomorrow and I'm not going to bother with the ER.

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02-06-2010, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kovalchkin71 View Post
Well I'll definitely go get it checked it out. It's just killing me. I have insurance through the ncaa for doctors outside of the program but have had a copay in the past. My hesitance to visit a doctor lies more in my suspicion that he will simply tell me that it's not broken, which I already know, and suggest that I rest, ice, compress, elevate, which is all I've been doing already without looking into possible ligament damage. I'm not suggesting I have some major damage - I don't know jack about diagnosing these things - but I already know that I have an "ankle sprain without much swelling and no broken bones".

If that's all a doctor is going to determine for me than I don't feel like wasting my time. I would like for someone to recognize the possibility of ligament damage, even if it's not severe, and look into it beyond a naked eye analysis and get me into an air-cast or whatever is necessary ASAP if it is indeed more than just a sprain (which I believe it is, based on the angle my foot bent at, the way I came down on it and the volume of the pop that I heard) so that I don't do any more damage to it and can back on the ice as quickly as possible.

I'll get it checked out Monday morning. There's no orthopedist in the area that's available tomorrow and I'm not going to bother with the ER.
Shouldnt your team be setting this up for you?

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02-06-2010, 07:55 PM
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Shouldnt your team be setting this up for you?
I haven't talked to coach about it since the bus ride last night. Might sound stupid (almost definitely is stupid) but I don't want to rule myself out of our next game until I know there's something wrong. I can play through pain. I won't play if there's damage that can be increased. I know reality is that I'm likely to miss a game or two, minimum, but unless someone tells me I can do further damage, I'm not the type to miss a game.

I'm sure I'll have to answer questions about it on Monday and if I'm still hobbling around like an amputee I'm sure I'll get an earful. I don't know what protocol there is for whether or not the team sets up appointments for us with outside doctors... my worst injury in college has been a concussion and chipped tooth. We have a lot of guys complaining of hyper-extensions, strains and sprains between practices and games and most of it is inconsequential and doesn't require medical attention. Last night the attention was on our player with the broken collar bone and me icing my ankle in the locker room is a pretty common thing. If I'm not complaining about it, it's going to be viewed as just another minor bump/bruise - I left a game with 8 minutes left, on my own accord; I don't think they're going to think twice about it until I say something more.

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02-06-2010, 08:30 PM
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In juniors if we didnt tell that we were injuried and it came out later, we would be sitting.

let the coach know, even if you can "play through pain", you probably wont be skating the same which can lead to numerous problems on the ice.

PS in my experience, you leave a game you better be extremely injuried.

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02-06-2010, 08:47 PM
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In juniors if we didnt tell that we were injuried and it came out later, we would be sitting.

let the coach know, even if you can "play through pain", you probably wont be skating the same which can lead to numerous problems on the ice.

PS in my experience, you leave a game you better be extremely injuried.
We got blown out. I left with 8:14 left. It wasn't a good night.

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02-06-2010, 09:15 PM
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We got blown out. I left with 8:14 left. It wasn't a good night.
That sucks, what school you play for?

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02-06-2010, 11:27 PM
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Ok so I just talked to one of the doctors I used to work with, and unfourtunatly he just saw an injury just like this, the ankle bending 90 degrees and hearing the pop and the guy tore is Achillies. He said you need to stay off of it as much as possible until you know for sure.

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02-07-2010, 12:12 AM
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For doctors who are family physicians they are not experieinced in tendon and muscle traumas. They can tell you did something but tell you to see an Orthopedic specialist.

What concerns me about your injury OP is that you had the POP you felt or heard.

Those are NEVER good and it means you have definitely injured something with a tear of some sort. Either your Achilles tendon or something else you need for stability. The ankles have a lot of support elements to it that consist of ligaments and tendons.

I tore my bicep tendon in June and it made the infamous POP we as players do not want to hear or feel. I knew immediately it was a severe injury because I did not feel pain right away just like when I tore a hamstring 20 years ago doing a sweep chack and catching a rut with my skate.

See an orthpedic doctor guy.

The unfortunate thing about injuries that are tears is that you have a short window to get surgery on it if you need it before it starts to heal. You could still have surgery after it is healing but the best results are immediately after the injury.

I opted for no surgery because I could physically tell it was a partial tear and not a complete one. The doctor told me chances are it would heal fine and I would lose 25% of the strength of my bicep which is exactly what happened. he said because I was 41 and not playing hockey to get a career out of it that I could just leave it like that and the other muscles would pick up the slack and would not hamper everyday life. he explained it was the distal muscle that was affected and the muscle is used for doing things like using a screwdriver more than anything.

I am right as rain right now and it is strong again.

Basically though don't screw around with your ankle or legs, be sure to get it checked out properly.

Money was a big issue with me and no insurance but I was fortunate in my case. I hope you are fortunate as well, good luck and good healing my friend. if you have doctors available at your school for this stuff or insurance then see a doctor .... you would be extremely foolish not to.

Injuries are a part of hockey that really sucks and unfortunately NOBODY can play hockey for a long length of time without getting something serious at some point.


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02-07-2010, 12:39 AM
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For doctors who are family physicians they are not experieinced in tendon and muscle traumas. They can tell you did something but tell you to see an Orthopedic specialist.

What concerns me about your injury OP is that you had the POP you felt or heard.

Those are NEVER good and it means you have definitely injured something with a tear of some sort. Either your Achilles tendon or something else you need for stability. The ankles have a lot of support elements to it that consist of ligaments and tendons.

I tore my bicep tendon in June and it made the infamous POP we as players do not want to hear or feel. I knew immediately it was a severe injury because I did not feel pain right away just like when I tore a hamstring 20 years ago doing a sweep chack and catching a rut with my skate.

See an orthpedic doctor guy.

The unfortunate thing about injuries that are tears is that you have a short window to get surgery on it if you need it before it starts to heal. You could still have surgery after it is healing but the best results are immediately after the injury.

I opted for no surgery because I could physically tell it was a partial tear and not a complete one. The doctor told me chances are it would heal fine and I would lose 25% of the strength of my bicep which is exactly what happened. he said because I was 41 and not playing hockey to get a career out of it that I could just leave it like that and the other muscles would pick up the slack and would not hamper everyday life. he explained it was the distal muscle that was affected and the muscle is used for doing things like using a screwdriver more than anything.

I am right as rain right now and it is strong again.

Basically though don't screw around with your ankle or legs, be sure to get it checked out properly.

Money was a big issue with me and no insurance but I was fortunate in my case. I hope you are fortunate as well, good luck and good healing my friend. if you have doctors available at your school for this stuff or insurance then see a doctor .... you would be extremely foolish not to.

Injuries are a part of hockey that really sucks and unfortunately NOBODY can play hockey for a long length of time without getting something serious at some point.
The doctor I used to work for is an orthopdic surgeron. He used to be the orto for the san antonio rampage. I used to work for him and he performed the surgery on my torn pectoral muscle about a year and a half ago. Like he said and you said the pop is the biggest concern in this case.

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02-07-2010, 01:21 AM
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That sucks, what school you play for?
SUNY Cortland

All this talk about the significance of the "pop" has me more worried than before. I've heard "cracks" and "pops" in the past that have amounted to absolutely nothing so I figured as much was the case with this incident but considering how much this hurts after the fact and how much trouble I'm having just getting around I'm thinking I've done more than just sprain an ankle. I won't deny, I've often thought injuries I've had were worse than they turned out to be and made more of them than I should have (as I mentioned before, I've never even broken a bone), but this is really quite painful. My foot quite literally folded underneath me and unfortunately my full weight came down on top of me. I won't be surprised if I've finally suffered my first serious injury.

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02-07-2010, 01:53 AM
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SUNY Cortland

All this talk about the significance of the "pop" has me more worried than before. I've heard "cracks" and "pops" in the past that have amounted to absolutely nothing so I figured as much was the case with this incident but considering how much this hurts after the fact and how much trouble I'm having just getting around I'm thinking I've done more than just sprain an ankle. I won't deny, I've often thought injuries I've had were worse than they turned out to be and made more of them than I should have (as I mentioned before, I've never even broken a bone), but this is really quite painful. My foot quite literally folded underneath me and unfortunately my full weight came down on top of me. I won't be surprised if I've finally suffered my first serious injury.
Things pop when they tear or break badly. A strain is a muscle that is oversretched and injured. A sprain is something torn. A sprained ankle can be a torn thingamahoozie like a ruptured Achilles tendon or ankle ligaments that will need surgical repair because they will not heal on their own. it depends on the severity of the in jury.

But be aware a sprain is a tear and a strain is a stretched muscle or ligament. Many people with bad sprains need surgery to repair what was torn. basically you cannot say you did worse than a sprain when a sprain is the worst injury meaning you did rip something. I would imagine if you completely tore away a ligament you may be feeling that sticking out on the wide of your ankle and mistaking it for a tendon as you mentioned earlier.

Tendons by the way bleed when torn and you can see blood as purple bruising under the skin. This picture shows my fore arm where there is no injury, the purple is blood from my bicep tendon that tore and gravity did what it does. it bled into my fore arm. The same thing happened with my torn hamstring, i had a solid purple stripe from my ankle to my tear.



Do you see anything like that on or around your ankle?? If so you tore something muscular or a tendon. This is not a guarantee that you did not tear a tendon if you do not see blood okay. GO SEE A DOCTOR.

The bottom line is you know you injured it badly when you can't do normal movements without being in serious pain.

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02-07-2010, 02:33 AM
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Good luck man I hope for the best. Let us know what it is when you find out.

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