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Podiatry in Sports: Roethlisberger wise not to play through mid-foot sprain

The return of Ben Roethlisberger was short lived for the Pittsburgh Steelers as the veteran quarterback exited Sunday’s win over the Oakland Raiders after suffering a mid-foot sprain in the fourth quarter after getting sacked by defensive end Aldon Smith.

Roethlisberger, 33, had completed 24 of 44 passes for 334 yards and two touchdowns before getting hurt.

In the meantime, backup Landry Jones is poised to start under center for the Steelers in their Week 10 matchup against the Cleveland Browns while Roethlisberger recovers.

“We are evaluating Ben. He will continue to be evaluated today. We’re preparing to play with Landry,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said at Tuesday’s press conference. “The door is ajar for Ben, but slightly ajar.”

The Steelers are already playing without star running back Le’Veon Bell, who was lost for the season with a torn MCL and other leg injuries suffered in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and will need Roethlisberger to make a speedy recovery if they hope to remain in the playoff picture.

As of right now, a confident Roethlisberger isn’t ready to rule himself out for the upcoming week.

“The [Week 11] bye will come at a good time, but I’m not even going to rule myself out this week,” Roethlisberger told 93.7 The Fan, via NBC Sports. “I’m going to take it one day at a time. I can walk on it. I’m not running around or anything but the smart thing to do, from what doc has told me and the trainers is just to kinda keep ice on it and get the swelling out and just kind of rest it, let it heal.”

A mid-foot sprain is a common type of foot sprain that affects ligaments in the middle of your foot. These ligaments attach your five, long metatarsal bones to four smaller bones at five tarsometatarsal joints. The combination of all five tarsometatarsal joints is called the mid-foot joint.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, has seen many mid-foot sprains walk, or should I say hobble, through the doors of his office in Delray Beach and believes that Roethlisberger should be back on the field in no time based on the current information available.

“He’s probably dealing with some myositis, neuritis and inflammation of the nerve in muscle,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “It just needs to rest over a short period of time before he can get back to playing. They’ll keep him off of it with some light walking, elevation and compression.”

Luckily for the Steelers, Roethlisberger dodged a bullet when it was announced that his mid-foot injury was not a Lisfranc fracture as that would have certainly ended his season. When the Lisfranc’s ligament is torn or sprained, the bones in the middle of your foot can fracture and dislocate.

Despite this favorable diagnosis, however, Dr. Goldbaum cautions that Roethlisberger’s injury could worsen if he attempts to return to the field too soon.

“You can either crack a bone or rip the soft tissue more,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “The injury becomes more unstable and weak. You don’t want to play through a mid-foot sprain. It’s kind of like having a weak link in a chain. When you pull on that weak link, the whole thing can break apart. He’s smart for wanting to strengthen that weak link rather than pulling on it.”

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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