Teddy Bridgewater and High Ankle Sprains

Teddy Bridgewater and High Ankle Sprains

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Teddy Bridgewater and High Ankle Sprains 

Ankle sprainIf you’re like me (a Vikings fan), you can’t help but be excited about what the future may hold for Teddy Bridgewater – He’s calm in the pocket, seems to make good reads, is an accurate passer, and, perhaps most importantly, isn’t Cristian Ponder.   He definitely had a stellar debut for his first NFL game.  Unfortunately, that wonderful debut ended prematurely after he injured his left ankle.  We’ve heard X-rays are negative, and apparently Bridgewater had an MRI Sunday night.  Early reports are that his injury is a “high ankle sprain”.  So what the heck is a high ankle sprain, and how is it different than a regular ankle sprain?  And what is the likelihood Teddy will play on Thursday against that Green and Gold team to our East? Well, I’m glad you asked:

A high ankle sprain (AKA a syndesmosis sprain) occurs when the foot rotates or collapses out relative to the lower leg.  If you haven’t seen the video of Teddy, here is the actual play where he injured his ankle.  Notice how his foot gets caught behind the rest of his body?  Here is another good video showing former University of Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi suffering a high ankle sprain.
Anyways, high ankle sprains are typically considered worse than the much-more common lower ankle sprain (AKA inversion sprain), because instead of just injuring ligaments on the outside of the ankle that connect the fibula to the foot, a piece of tissue called the syndesmosis that helps hold the two lower leg bones together gets injured.   High ankle sprains are called “high” because this syndesmosis extends from just above the ankle joint, all the way up to the knee.  In fact, Derek Carr (the QB for the Oakland Raiders), suffered a high ankle sprain AND a knee injury yesterday as well, which sometimes occurs when the high ankle sprain is really severe.  Here is a good visual comparing these two types of sprains:
ankle sprain 2

ankle sprain

After suffering a high ankle sprain, it is normally very painful to even put weight on the foot, so the initial treatment is to rest, ice, and minimize the swelling and discomfort.  This is often accomplished by wearing a boot on the foot.  Once the swelling is down, then rehabilitation starts.   Most of his rehab will consist of working on balance, lower leg strength, and getting him comfortable planting and cutting on that injured ankle.   While the typical recovery time is 2-6 weeks for a low ankle sprain, a high ankle sprain usually takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months to completely recover!  Now, Teddy was seen walking on his leg right after the game with a minimal limp.  Therefore, I think he will recover quicker because it didn’t seem like a severe injury, and the Vikings have a phenomenal rehab team.  My guess is that he will be unable to play this Thursday against Green Bay, but may return for either the next game against Detroit, or the following week at Buffalo.  However, this is an injury that may linger (and affect his mobility) for weeks to come.

While Teddy is surrounded by a great rehab team and has a couple million reasons to get back into action as soon as possible, your average Joe Schmoe might not be as motivated to rehab an ankle sprain injury, and may take the “I’ll just walk it off approach”.  However, you should know that there is a ton of evidence that points towards the fact that rehabilitation, especially rehab consisting of manual therapy and functional balance/strengthening exercises, both speeds up the recovery and prevents recurrence of the ankle injury.  So if you’re nursing an ankle injury, just know the quicker you get into PT, the quicker you will be back into action, and the less likely you are to re-injure.  That’s all I’ve got for now, but if you have any more questions about ankle injuries, feel free to email me or give me a call up in Forest Lake.  Have a good one, and Skol Vikings!

– Pete


Peter Larson

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