Yankees (and Star Player) Suffer from Ankle Fracture
By Dr. Jeffrey Frederick
October 25, 2012
Category: Sports Injuries

Derek Jeter, a shortstop and captain of the 27-time World Series champion New York Yankees had to miss the last three games of the playoffs against the Detroit Tigers due to an ankle injury.  Last week in the first game of the American League Championship series, the 38-year old player fractured his left ankle in the first game where the NY Yanks lost to the Tigers 4-6 in 12 innings.  The Tigers went on to sweep the Yankees, who were left to face a great team without their best player.

Jeter has had many injuries to his ankle, including being hit by a foul ball last season. The ankle injury last week is likely related to previous trauma to the ankle, which may have affected Jeter’s footwork and stability. Ankle injuries are common in sports, and are often under-treated in sports medicine. Repeated ankle injuries can permanently weaken ligaments, which leave athletes more susceptible to twisting injuries and fractures.Joe Girardi, the manager of the Yankees, reportedly admitted that Jeter was given at least one cortisone injection to help him play through the pain in the first game of the playoffs. Cortisone injections are commonly given in joints, and usually include a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic.  The cortisone acts to reduce inflammation in the area, which also aids in controlling pain.  Cortisone injections are used in other areas of podiatry, including plantar fasciitis, capsulitis, arthritis, and Morton’s neuroma. The injections are limited to a small number of shots per year due to risks of complications. Because the steroid acts to reduce inflammation, it also shrinks the healthy tissue surrounding the area of concern, which can lead to tendon weakening or rupture, damage to bone and nerves, and whitening or lightening of the skin around the injection.

Jeter underwent surgery this past Saturday, just one week after the fracture. Giardi has said Jeter will need approximately four to five months to recover, and the injury is not career ending. The Yankees announced that Jeter would hopefully be ready to return sometime between the start of spring training in mid-February and late spring training in mid-March. As for now, the Tigers are competing in their first World Series championship since 1984. 

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