Podiatry in Sports: How Severe is Greg Olsen’s Broken Foot?

Carolina Panthers tight end tight end Greg Olsen is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks after breaking his foot in the first half of Sunday’s 9-3 win over the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“I broke my foot. It’s tough. It sucks,” Olsen told reporters via the team’s official site.

On Monday, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told reporters that Olsen has already undergone surgery to repair the damage.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, has treated numerous fractures of the foot and ankle at his office in South Florida. And although not much information is known at this time, can offer insight into what exactly Olsen’s treatment and recovery could entail.

The foot is designed to withstand the considerable forces placed on it by walking, running, and jumping. There are 26 bones of the foot, connected by joints and supported by thickened ligaments to absorb the impact of movement.

As of right now, it is not known exactly what bone or bones Olsen broke in his foot, which unfortunately leaves much to the imagination and limits the public’s ability to accurately diagnose the injury from afar.

“There are 26 bones in the foot and a lot has to do with whether or not the fracture is displaced,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “If it’s a Jones fracture then he would need surgery to put it back together. If it was only a partial fracture of one of his metatarsals he likely could have attempted to play through the injury or treat it non-surgically.”

A Jones fracture occurs at the base of the fifth metatarsal bone (the one connected to the pinky toe), at the metaphyseal-diaphyseal junction, ¾ of an inch away from the base of the fifth metatarsal. These fractures do not heal easily due to the lack of adequate blood supply to the area. However, almost 75 percent of all Jones fractures eventually heal properly and do not recur.

In order to repair the damage, a screw is typically inserted into the foot to restore the bone and tendon to their natural position. A variety of devices can be used to fixate a Jones fracture including bone plates, wires, or pins, but in most cases a screw is a doctor’s weapon of choice.

“After surgery, patients are typically in a cast for three weeks,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “After that, we start physical therapy in order to bring it back around. A 4-6 week recovery is really the norm for an average patient, but given the physical demands of his profession that recovery time can often be extended.”

Recently, Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker, who fractured his fifth metatarsal prior to his senior season at Louisville, missed roughly seven weeks with a Jones fracture.

So could this be what is ailing Olsen? Given the estimated recovery time it’s certainly possible. But with limited information currently available, this diagnosis will remain speculation.

Follow Dr. Goldbaum on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from www.DelrayBeachPodiatry.com without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:

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