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Podiatry in Sports: Ravens’ Alex Lewis suffers high ankle sprain

The Baltimore Ravens will be without left guard Alex Lewis for around six weeks after the rookie lineman sustained a high ankle sprain in last week’s victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Lewis, 24, suffered the injury in the third quarter of Thursday’s game and was carted off the field with an air cast on his right leg. And although the initial x-rays were negative and didn’t revel any broken bones, the former fourth-round pick is expected to miss a substantial amount of time.

“That’s usually about a six-week injury,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, via the team’s website.

(Podiatry in Sports)

(Podiatry in Sports)

At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, has seen numerous high-ankle sprains throughout his tenure in medicine and can offer some insight into Lewis’ situation based on the information currently available.

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.

According to Dr. Goldbaum, 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.

“When looking at the information that is out there in the media right now, it’s safe to say that Lewis is likely suffering from a mild Grade 2 sprain,” Dr. Goldbaum said. “Although high ankle sprains often prove to be difficult for athletes to overcome, the fact that he likely has no serious tendon or ligament damage bodes well for his future.”

As for when he’ll be able to return to the field, Dr. Goldbaum thinks that Harbaugh’s initial report of “six weeks” is a sound prediction, placing Lewis’ return sometime around the first round of the playoffs.

“It’s important to remember that injuries such as this are always worth keeping an eye on even after he returns,” Dr. Goldbaum said. “There is a reason that football players often re-injure the same muscles, bones and tendons, and it’s because the initial injuries are never quite return to 100 percent after they’ve occurred. Going forward, it’ll be up to the training staff to make sure that he remains healthy through preventative measures such as ankle taping.”

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 33484



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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