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Monday, October 31, 2011

Ethan Johnson and His Nagging High Ankle Sprain

Denard Robinson Meets Ethan Johnson
Trying to keep up with Team injuries is a losing proposition.  Coach Brian Kelly only reports the obvious and if the reporters are not smart enough to ask during the infrequent press conferences, a lot goes unsaid.  You have to respect coaches that keep key injuries close to the vest for fear of giving an advantage to the other team.
We try and keep up with injuries on the left side of the Blog.  It’s never fun posting those, especially when it involves a starter.
Defensive end Ethan Johnson went down early in the Purdue game on October1st with what was originally reported as a knee injury.  Turned out to be a “High Ankle Sprain”.  Ouch, that type injury can linger worse that a low ankle strain.
We called in our Physical Therapist expert Alex Brenner to give us the low down on high ankle sprains.  (Sorry bout the pun) 

Alex has over 15 years of physical therapy experience in the military, private clinics and the U.S. Public Health Service. He is rated as a DPT, Doctor of Physical Therapy. Alex jumped on the Red Line and came right over.
High Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries seen in sports medicine. A high ankle sprain is a little bit different than usual ankle sprains seen on the playing field. Most ankle sprains involve the ligaments that run along the side of the ankle and foot but a high ankle sprain involves the ligamentous structure between the two lower leg bones called the syndesmosis or syndesmotic membrane. A high ankle sprain involves more of a rotation injury of the ankle versus an inversion type of mechanism.  This rotation causes a tear to the sydesmotic membrane between the two bones.

Rehab considerations are not too different from a normal ankle sprain meaning that they are treated relatively the same. The big difference between the two types of ankle sprains is the healing time. A high ankle sprain takes longer to heal and it is not unheard of that these types of injuries can be nagging throughout an entire season. I remember a few years ago the Tight end for Baltimore Ravens, Todd Heap, suffered a high ankle sprain and it limited him the entire 16 weeks of the NFL season. Depending on severity of a normal ankle sprain, these usually heal within 2-3 weeks. A syndesmotic ankle sprain can last 4-6 weeks, depending on the severity. They unfortunately heal much slower.

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