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Podiatry in Sports: A closer look at Rocco Grimaldi’s high ankle sprain

As the Florida Panthers prepare for their opening night matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, it remains to be seen whether or not rookie forward Rocco Grimaldi will be healthy enough to crack the team’s 23-man roster.

Grimaldi, a second-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, suffered a high ankle sprain during the third period of a 3-2 pre-season victory over the Dallas Stars on Sept. 22.

“He’ll be out for at least a week, that’s for sure,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant told the Sun Sentinel. “When he gets back in he’ll go back and play again…You never know with those [sprains].”

Rocco Grimaldi [Image Credit: Jameson Olive]

Rocco Grimaldi [Image Credit: Jameson Olive]

He’s not wrong.

When a high ankle sprain occurs, there is the potential for several structures to be damaged. These include the syndesmotic ligaments that connect the tibia to the fibula, as well as a tissue known as the interosseous membrane.

High ankle sprains are described as high because they are located above the ankle. They are caused by an outward twisting of the foot and ankle and comprise approximately 15% of all ankle sprains.

The severity of this injury often depends on how many of these structures are damaged and recovery times can vary from a few weeks to a few months.

High ankle sprains are graded on a scale of 1–3 based on their severity:

Grade 1 (Mild): In mild cases, the ligaments are somewhat stretched, resulting in joint stiffness, muscle weakness or tightness with reduced balance and joint awareness. It takes approximately six weeks for ligaments to heal from a Grade 1 sprain.

Grade 2 (Moderate): In moderate cases, there is significant ligament stretching and sometimes partial tearing. It is far more painful than a mild sprain and can make it difficult to walk. A recovery time of 6 to 12 weeks can be expected.

Grade 3 (Severe): In severe cases, the ligament can completely rupture. There is severe swelling, extensive bruising, and immense pain felt with a Grade 3 sprain. In most cases, a patient will need a screw inserted into their ankle to stabilize the area while it heals. A recovery time of 3 to 6 months can be expected.

As a rookie, Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall missed eight weeks with a high ankle sprain, prematurely ending his season. Last year, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray missed approximately three weeks with a high ankle sprain of his own.

So how long will Grimaldi be out?

The good news is that he is likely only suffering from a Grade 1 (mild) sprain and was seen walking without the assistance of a walking boot before Florida’s pre-season finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 3.

That being said, he remains out of practice, and as of Monday, has yet to resume skating.

Grimaldi, 22, recorded one goal in seven games for the Panthers last season and is expected to play an important role in the team’s offense going forward.

Unfortunately, given the circumstances, he will likely be out for at least one more week and unavailable for the home opener.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from 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:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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