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Podiatry in Sports: Mets’ Wilmer Flores recovering from ankle fracture

New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores, who suffered a fractured left ankle after he was hit by a pitch during winter ball in Venezuela in December, is working out at full strength and said he’ll be 100 percent for spring training, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

“I was a little worried because I’ve never had a fracture before,” said Flores, who removed his walking boot a little over a week ago. “I thought it was going to take longer than that. But it’s healed. It healed really fast. I don’t know why, but like I said, I’m doing everything.”

Flores, 24, played primarily at shortstop last season, when he hit .263 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs in 137 games. Moving forward, he’ll likely serve in a super utility role to open 2016 with newcomer Asdrubal Cabrera taking over at shortstop.

“It should be different,” said Flores. “I’ve got to ask people who don’t play every day how they stay ready, how they approach it.”

One thing that will certainly play into Flores’ role within the Mets infield next season is his ability to shake off any ill effects of his recently healed ankle.

According to Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum of Delray Beach Podiatry, injuries to the ligaments of the ankle often take a substantial amount of rest to recover from, with the chance of re-injury and recovery time both affected by how much the ligaments were damaged.

“If the initial injury involved his ligaments than his recovery really depends on how many were taken out,” said Dr. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience. “Inside the ligaments there are sensors known as proprioceptors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension, which is integrated to give information about the position of the limb in space.

“For example, if he wants to cut to the right or to the left, it’s up to the proprioceptors to tell his brain that. That’s why it’s so important for them to be put into the proper position.”

The ankle is a hinge joint between the leg and the foot, and allows up and down movement. The bones of the leg – the tibia and fibula — form a slot, and the talus bone of the foot fits between them. The talus is held to the tibia and fibula by strong bands of tissue called ligaments. Each ligament is made of many strands or fibers of a material called collagen, which is extremely strong.

While it is unclear exactly what ligaments were damaged during the injury, Dr. Goldbaum notes that proper rest and stabilization likely played a big role in Flores’ recovery.

“The most important thing is for the tear to be rested,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “They likely had to make sure that the ligaments came back into their appropriate positions because of the proprioceptors so the brain can pick up exactly where his foot is in relation to the ground. If this isn’t done correctly, there can be recurring ankle sprains.”

As for additional treatment, Dr. Goldbaum notes that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is being used more frequently for its effectiveness in the treatment of injuries such as ankle fractures. PRP is plasma that contains more platelets than what is typically found in blood. These platelets contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors which are very important in the healing of injuries. This process has become especially popular in recent years with famous athletes like Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal using PRP to treat their injuries.

“We take the patients blood and we spin it,” Dr. Goldbaum said of the PRP process. “We take out the plasma part, which has all of the growth factors, so we can get it to heal faster. I’m not sure if they used that with (Flores), but that’s a big deal today.”

At this point, everything is looking pretty good for Flores in his return to the diamond and, according to Dr. Goldbaum, it’s unlikely that this injury will have too much of an affect on his play heading into next season if it healed properly.

“Once you break those ligaments, they’re never going to be 100 percent again in a structural sense,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “The goal is to bring them back as close to 100 percent as you can — that’s where the PRP and other treatments come in — and for the training staff to do everything they can once he’s healthy to keep him that way by taking special measures with it next season.”

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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