Kevin Ware: A Devastating Injury

Devastating.  Gruesome.  Catastrophic.  Grotesque.  Just a few of the words used to describe the injury sustained by University of Louisville guard Kevin Ware on the night of March 31st.  Most of us have seen the footage by now - Ware coming down from a jump onto his right leg and then collapsing onto the floor, followed by reactions ranging from terror to tears among the players and the fans.  So what happened, and what is next?

As the footage shows, Ware landed primarily on his right leg, generating up to 2500 lbs. of force.  It’s hard to say without seeing the footage up close, but it would seem that his leg was planted just slightly forward.  The tremendous downward and forward force on his leg was transmitted through his tibia and fibula and resulted in the bones cracking in the middle of the shaft, to the extent that the tibia protruded through the skin.  This is what is known as an open fracture, and surgery must be performed as quickly as possible to restore proper blood flow to the foot, if indicated, and restore the alignment and soft tissue coverage of the bone to avoid a bone infection, which can be very difficult to treat.  As reported, surgeons placed a rod through the shaft of the tibia to hold the bone in place while it heals.  And as with any musculoskeletal, orthopedic, or podiatric leg, foot or ankle injury, the body wants to heal, we just have to let it do so.

So will he be OK?  Most likely yes.  This injury did not involve a joint, so post traumatic arthritis, which can develop around 10 years after a fracture involving a joint, will likely not be an issue.  And since the injury occurred in the middle of the shaft of the leg, stiffness of the knee or ankle should not be a problem either.  Kevin’s homework now is to rest, probably for the next 6 weeks, and then if the bone is healed, start physical therapy to restore the muscles and tendons that will have atrophied.  Remember that muscle atrophies at a rate of 3% per day of inactivity.

And how does this affect my NYC podiatry patients?  Probably not directly.  I must admit, not a ton of open tibial fractures limp into the NYC office, and in general open tibial fractures occur at a rate of 2 per 1000 injuries, so maybe not that many anywhere.  And what is gruesome to the public, is sort of interesting to any practicing podiatric or orthopedic surgeon, and especially to the residents in training.  Kudos to those who skillfully cared for Kevin Ware, and a speedy recovery to Kevin.  Go Blue! (Sorry, Kevin)

See you in the office.

Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson

Ernest Isaacson Dr. Ernest Isaacson is a graduate of the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. After completing two years of comprehensive training in various medical specialties including internal medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, plastic surgery and podiatric medicine, Dr. Isaacson completed a comprehensive one-year podiatric surgical residency. Dr. Isaacson is active in research and publication in basic and clinical science. Dr. Isaacson is also a dedicated family man who enjoys running, reading and spending time with his family.

You Might Also Enjoy...

When Should I Get Bunion Surgery?

Here’s a question I get pretty often: why feet?  And I answer, because I love feet. And usually I’ll add a comment about how it’s a good thing I’m not a gastroenterologist or a urologist or something along those lines.

Heal the Heel

Ok kids time for a little word association. Tell me the first thing you think of when I say - plantar fasciitis. If it starts with an F no need to articulate the sentiment, but you might want to read on.

And I Thank You

Shocking, yet not surprising, the year is coming to a close and it’s already time to shop bargains on turkey and squash.

Why You Should Call Your Podiatrist (even after hours)

It’s relatively late at night in the city as I write this, and many of my dear Manhattan podiatry patients may be wondering what it is I’m doing at this late hour, other than filling the annals of this most holy and sacred blog with more consecrated verbia

Heal Thyself

Summer’s over now kids, although if you’re like me summer is just winter with heat. Still, I do get a little pit in my stomach as Labor Day looms large on the calendar and the waning days of summer transform into the crisp breezes of autumn, and other line