Derek Jeter’s Back! But Is His Ankle Ready to Play Again?

The New York Yankees Athletic Icon, Derek Jeter, is getting ready to get back into the game after suffering a broken ankle last season.  But is the end near for Jeter?  He recently discussed whether he’s getting too old for the game at a press conference and has openly admitted he may not been the young athlete he once was in the beginning.

Although Jeter underwent surgery for his ankle and now has a plate and several screws, he has been a couch-potato for 4 months to allow the injury to heal.  He is just now starting to run on a treadmill and pushing his ankle to the condition it was prior to the injury.

Ankle fractures can be a debilitating injury depending on the severity of the fracture and whether surgery is required for treatment.  It can take anywhere between 6-8 weeks for the bone to heal after being broken and an additional 4-6 weeks of rehabilitation is needed afterwards.  Complications afterward include ankle instability, chronic swelling, and post-traumatic arthritis. 

Most ankle fractures regardless of whether they are surgically treated, will develop post traumatic arthritis because the cartilage of the ankle joint is damaged during the injury.  Original cartilage in the ankle joint, unfortunately, cannot be regenerated; however, the body will attempt to lay-down a different type of cartilage called “fibrocartilage” which is a replacement for the origianl cartilage that was damaged. 

With proper treatment and rehabilitation, post traumatic arthritis can be delayed for years after an injury.  Jeter’s trainers know it is imperative not to push him too hard initially and continue to let the bone and soft tissue heal during his rehabilitation period.  We will all have to wait and watch Jeter’s comeback from such a devestating injury.

If you are suffering from ankle pain or have suffered an ankle fracture previously that has developed pain in the ankle joint now, call Advanced Podiatry and talk with one of our doctors about different treatment options, nonsurgical and surgical that you may be a candidate for.  It’s never too late to treat your ankle pain!