The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NBA Update: Orlando’s Aaron Gordon Deals with Fractured Foot Like a Champ

Posted by on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

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Rookie Aaron Gordon, following a stellar performance and meteoric rise at Arizona State, was drafted by the Orlando Magic as the fourth overall first-round pick. The 19-year-old had led his team to three title games in a row, became one of 30 finalists nominated for Naismith College Player of the Year, and was named the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year by USA Basketball. But just a few months after his NBA debut, Gordon got sidelined with a fractured foot. As a rising star from a basketball family–his father, brother, and sister all played college and pro ball–it would have been understandable for Gordon to feel discouraged, even defeated by this ill-timed injury. But Gordon’s attitude, and his treatment and recovery process, could help other foot injury sufferers meet their goals.

aaron gordon foot
Aaron Gordon, gold medal Olympic basketball player signed to Orlando Magic this year, suffered a fifth metatarsal this month. Image Source: Wikimedia.org

What Happened To Aaron Gordon?

The Orlando Magic lost the match against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, November 15th, but they also lost much more. Power Forward Aaron Gordon landed six points and captured three rebounds in 14 minutes of court-time, but soon headed to the bench citing foot pain. Now he will be out “indefinitely” to get evaluated and undergo a treatment program for his fractured foot.

What Does A Fractured Foot Feel Like?

It’s a common misconception that a fractured foot is a sharp, severe pain. A broken bone can feel shocking and serious if it’s an acute fracture caused by tremendous force. Snapped bones that protrude through the skin (often called “compound fractures”) are horrifically painful. In that situation, a trip to the emergency room is definitely in order. However, thin stress fractures can be much more deceptive and harder to treat.

Aaron Gordon initially seemed to shrug off his foot pain. “It’s been a sore foot,” he told reporters. “It didn’t really feel like much at all. It was a little bit painful, but it wasn’t anything really at all.” Only after Orlando Magic Athletic Trainer Keon Weise insisted the player get an x-ray did they realize the full extent of the injury. Sure enough, the fifth metatarsal–the long bone connecting the foot to the pinky toe–showed a break.

What Causes A Fracture In The Fifth Metatarsal?

As we’ve discussed in the past, this type of fracture (called a “Jones fracture”) is very common among basketball players. Kevin Durant was one of the recent high profile players to take time off for this injury. Players may crack the metatarsal when they land poorly or roll an ankle. Other times, the injury develops slowly from actions like repetitive jumping. While the injury itself doesn’t seem very serious, this part of the foot tends to heal very slowly because it doesn’t receive a lot of blood and oxygen.

How Are Foot Fractures Diagnosed & Treated?

X-rays are a start, but most people require an MRI to determine the full extent of the injury. Players can treat a fractured fifth metatarsal with an immobilizing cast or boot–what Aaron Gordon has now–but many professional athletes eventually opt to have a screw surgically inserted until the bone is fully healed. Once the healing process has started, it could take months for athletes to return to regular training. Fortunately, they can still lift weights to improve upper body strength and practice shooting hoops from a chair to keep their skill set.

Another treatment option is bone stimulation, which players sometimes use to speed their recovery time. At The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we offer extracorporeal shockwaves and low-pulse ultrasound to heal NYC basketball players and athletes more quickly. For fractured foot treatment in NYC, book with our podiatrists and sports medicine doctors online. We have experience working with basketball players at elementary and high school levels, all the way up through college and pro leagues.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.