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Foot Injury May Double After Concussion

According to Yahoo News, in the first year following a concussion, college athletes are nearly twice as likely to suffer from some form of leg injury or foot injury compared to the year prior to their head trauma.

The findings, which were authored by Robert C. Lynall of the exercise and sports science department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, showed of the concussed group, they were 95 percent more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal injuries such as ankle sprains, strains and fractures in the year after a concussion than the year before it.

The study, titled Acute Lower Extremity Injury Rates Increase following Concussion in College Athletes also suggests concussions may cause changes to your balance or walking.

In an email sent to Reuters Health, Lynall theorized the pathways in the brain related to muscular reaction time are slower as a result of the trauma sustained from a concussion.

“Our data shows increased rates of musculoskeletal injuries following concussion, but do not point to the exact cause of the increased rates,” said Lynall in an emailed interview with Reuters Health.

Foot Injury May Double After Concussion

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a board certified podiatrist with over 30 years of experience, isn’t surprised by Lynall and his colleagues’ findings. Dr. Goldbaum said when it comes to a concussion, patients need as much as time possible in order to properly heal from their injuries prior to returning to a physical activity.

A foot injury may double after concussion. (Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons)

A foot injury may double after concussion. (Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons)

“As far as concussions, I can’t stress enough how imperative it is to not only effectively heal after a concussion but to also take necessary precautions like abstaining from playing sports until a qualified physician says you’re healthy,” said Dr. Goldbaum, whose practice, Delray Beach Podiatry has locations in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. “It’s my opinion that it’s unsafe to resume playing any type of sports or even exercise after a concussion because you’re likely to enhance your chances of further injury or even experience balance problem.”

“After a concussion, a patient is likely to suffer an array of issues resulting from it such as memory and gait problems,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “Hence, why anyone who has suffered from a concussion must consult with a physician and be under some type of monitoring routine in order for a full recovery.”

According to Dr. Goldbaum a concussion could lead to long term affects to other areas of the body.

“As an athlete, you’re lower extremities are important for movement,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “If you’re equilibrium is off, you’re going to have foot problems, which may lead to issues in your back, pelvis and legs.”

Other professionals, such as Christina L. Master, support Lynall and his team’s research but shared current gait and equilibrium assessments don’t necessarily offer accurate readings. Although Master’s is a concussion researcher, she was not part of Lynall’s study.

“It looks like there is an increased risk of, to be honest, probably many injuries, including lower extremity injuries,” said Dr. Christina L. Master of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in an interview with Reuters Health. “Concussion can have wide-ranging effects on mental and physical health. No matter where you were before concussion, after is probably worse.”

 Lynall and his team of researchers studied 44 Division I college athletes who sustained a concussion and 58 college athletes who did not suffer a concussion. They included male and female athletes from a range of sports including football, lacrosse, soccer, cross country running and wrestling. The research also showed that At least a year after a concussion, the risk of musculoskeletal injury still increased in patients.

The data for Lynall’s study was obtained from electronic medical records inputted by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s athletics staff. The data included information on acute lower extremity injuries like ligament sprains, muscle strains, contusions and fractures, during sport play for the year before and the year after the concussion occurred.

The study, Acute Lower Extremity Injury Rates Increase following Concussion in College Athletes, was published in the Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

 Dr. Ian Goldbaum is a licensed podiatric physician who has practiced podiatry for the past 30 years. Although Dr. Goldbaum provides the latest news and first hand suggestions, you must consult with a professional and accredited podiatric physician for a trusty diagnosis. For a consultation with Dr. Goldbaum, click here more information.


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