The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NCAA News: Duke Player Amile Jefferson’s Foot Fracture’s Dogging Him

Posted by on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

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Foot fracture care has come a long way. In the past, you were sentenced to three months in a hard plaster cast, but nowadays, a broken foot bone is more commonly treated with a walking boot, which is much more comfortable and flexible. Even so, the duration of time it takes to recover from such an injury is still about the same. Senior basketball star Amile Jefferson continues his slow rehab from a right foot fracture he sustained on December 12th that has cost him more than 15 consecutive games.

fracture healing
Foot fracture healing is a long process. (Image Source: Pinterest.com)

What Happened to Amile Jefferson?

According to ESPNAmile Jefferson injured himself while going after a loose ball during a December 12th practice. At the time, he averaged 11.4 points and 10.3 rebounds. Medical experts treating him estimated that he’d be out at least a month after spending a short period of time in a cast, and they didn’t think the injury required surgery.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski assured fans, “It’s healing well,” but adds, “He hasn’t gotten past the pain. There’s still pain there. If you compensate for that, something else goes.” Jefferson continues to wear the boot while participating in practice and working out “to relieve the stress,” his coach says.

Factors Affecting Fracture Healing

There are many possible factors that affect the rate a foot fracture heals, including:

  • Blood supply
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Excessive compression
  • Advanced age
  • Inadequate immobilization
  • Inadequate fixation
  • Nutrition
  • Smoking (which constricts blood vessels)
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, vascular disease or hormone problems
  • Use of drugs like corticosteroids or immunosuppressants

What You Can Do to Aid Bone Healing

Nutrition counseling is a big part of what we do for fracture patients here at The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, which takes a generally holistic approach to healthcare. Since fracture healing requires an enormous amount of energy, we make sure you consume enough calories to facilitate proper healing. Compared to a healthy male’s 2,500 calorie daily requirements, a bed-ridden male with multiple fractures may need as much as 6,000 calories to heal! These calories should be high in amino acids, so proteins are crucial.

  • We recommend upping protein intake by at least 10-20 grams a day.
  • In addition to meat, poultry, seafood and soybeans, we recommend protein supplementation and the consumption of Bone Broth.
  • You’ll want a variety of dark leafy greens like spinach and kale that are high in vitamins like K, C, D, and B6, which are crucial to fracture healing.
  • Eggs, enriched cereals, and liver will also get you the highest dose of B6.
  • Fatty fish and UV light from the sun will get you the vitamin D you need.
  • For vitamin C, we recommend Acerola cherries, red bell peppers, and the standard oranges we all know and love.

A more detailed discussion of the nutritional components in bone healing can be found here. On top of that, we recommend avoiding aspirin and ibuprofen for pain  choose acetaminophen (like Tylenol) instead, as it does not interfere with the mechanisms of healing. If you are a smoker, we cannot emphasize the importance of abstaining during the healing period. Studies show that smokers are less likely to achieve bone union and are more likely to suffer complications like infection.

Physical therapy is a crucial component in regaining full strength and mobility again. Contact us for details if you live in the NYC area.

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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.