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Common Ankle And Foot Injuries

HEALTHWATCH - Visits to the emergency room involve foot and ankle injuries. Now a new study shows patients are often misdiagnosed, leading to all kinds of long term health problems.

Athlete Paul Picinich always played hard, until an intense flat football game landed him on the sidelines last year, “Tried to grab the flag and felt something rip in my ankle.”

The next day he couldn’t walk, so he headed to Urgent Care. “He said, ‘We’re probably looking at a sprain, but the x-rays are pretty inconclusive. You’re probably going to need to get a MRI if you really want to assess this sprain.’”

It was much worse. Turns out Paul had multiple ligament tears in his ankle. “My foot was disconnected almost fully from, you know, the rest of my leg.”

A new study from the American Osteopathic Association finds primary doctors often misdiagnose many common foot and ankle injuries.

“That’s a pretty, pretty serious injury that we don’t want to miss.” Dr. Naresh Rao says a second opinion from an orthopedic specialist and additional imaging can be critical.

“Long term effects can be unfortunately painful, debilitating, can lead to osteoarthritis, can lead to possible surgery, can lead to possible need for a brace the rest of their life.”

With the right diagnosis and intense therapy, Paul had a shorter recovery than expected and was back on the field in a month and a half. “I think the treatment regimen actually helped make it strong.”

Strong enough that just weeks after his injury, he took the plunge of a lifetime.

Experts say delayed diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle injuries can also lead to recurring ankle sprains.

Segment Sponsored by: Mercy Health System