If you are one of the millions of Americans who plays Fantasy Football, you are all too familiar with football injuries. While they don’t directly affect us sitting on the couch on Sunday, we always feel awful for those who get injured for our entertainment. As the foot and ankle doctor in my family fantasy league, I receive messages and videos of injuries every week. These are often firmly within my scope of practice in fact right now, there are 90 athletes on injury reports because of their foot, ankle, Achilles tendon, heel, or toe, according to the NFL.
Starting tight ends Tyler Eifert and Delanie Walker were recently lost for the rest of the season with what appears to be fracture dislocations of the ankle joint. In an injury that the network would not replay, Eifert was tackled by a defending player and rolled over his own ankle. Walkers injury appeared to be almost identical. I often tell my own ankle sprain patients that they got off lucky; an ankle fracture is simply a sprain that kept progressing. His injury required surgery, but certainly not all foot and ankle injuries do.
Achilles tendon ruptures are also shockingly common in the NFL, based on the ballistic motion of these athletes. Richard Sherman, star cornerback for the Seahawks at the time, lost almost a full season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in 2017. We often hear of this injury as not being exquisitely painful initially, rather a strong popping sensation is felt in the back of the heel and ankle, like a hatchet strike. Thankfully, Achilles injuries are often successfully treated, to the point that there is a peer-reviewed article on 95 NFL players who underwent Achilles Tendon Surgery, 73% were able to return to sport. Running backs and line backers may suffer most after surgery, but the good news is even these elite athletes are able to get back on their feet.
Finally, even day-to-day injuries can keep players off the field. Several players are on the injury report at any given time because of heel pain, which is the most common problem we see at Eagle-Summit Foot and Ankle. I tell my patients they are able to perform activities as tolerated with heel pain, as it is hard to make worse, but at the high level of play in the NFL, plantar fasciitis can keep these players off the field. Even Peyton Manning was sidelined with a plantar fascial tear when playing for the Broncos.
If you have a foot or ankle injury, an NFL player is likely dealing with the very same problem, and no matter your station in life, here at Eagle-Summit Foot and Ankle, we are able to help improve your function.