The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

CFL News: Calgary Punter Suffers Severe Toe Infection

Posted by on Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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“I think in the whole off-season, I only had about two or three full healthy weeks. The rest of the time I was dealing with something else,” said Calgary Stampeders’ punter Rob Maver. During his career at the University of Guelph, he had earned all-star honors as placekicker and punter; He became a Canadian Football League player after the Amateur Scouting Bureau ranked him highly and the Calgary Stampeders drafted him fifth overall in 2010. At one time, he boasted a league-leading average of 36.2 yards per kick.

It’s been a difficult year for the footballer, though. One day he was playing his best against the Hamilton Ti-Cats at the Grey Cup, and the next he was struggling to get up following a hit from Justin Hickman.While most players would bounce right back from a bit of turf toe, the Calgary punter struggled with a lengthy recovery, largely due to a dreaded toe infection. The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC has experience dealing with toe infections and facilitating successful recoveries for star athletes.

rob maver cfl
Rob Maver hopes to get back to full kicking strength to enjoy another five years in the CFL. Image Source: TheKickersCorner.net

 What Happened To Rob Maver?

“It was interesting,” Maver recalled. “I wasn’t feeling that good after the game. A little bit foggy and woozy. After that, I caught a flu in Mexico and I lost (22 pounds). Then I had rib problems. Then I had a foot cellulitis infection.”

The Mexican flu took him down to 178 pounds, he told The Calgary HeraldThough he was feeling good by April, his right foot “puffed up grotesquely in a matter of hours” after a trip to Tennessee.

“It was a touch alarming,” he explained. “A lot of blisters. I had a big stripe up my leg. Swollen lymph node. The team doctor saw me and sent me to emergency. I had an I.V. plugged in me for a few days.”

Maver is working on drills and getting back to full health again. “It makes you appreciate your health — and when you have your health, this is what you’re able to call work,” he told his local newspaper. He added, “I had to be smart with my off-season and make every single day count. That was a valuable learning tool itself.” He says he hopes to have another good five years in the CFL before retiring with his 10 in.

Cellulitis Toe Infections

Cellulitis is a common bacterial infection of the skin and underlying tissue that afflicts athletes, especially when the immune system is already weakened (as was the case with flu-stricken Rob Maver.) Football players may develop a cellulitis infection from something as seemingly minor as a bruise, cracked toenail, blister, scar, dry and cracked heels, or patch of athlete’s foot fungus.

The first symptoms of cellulitis include skin that becomes red, hot, swollen and tender to the touch. Chills, fever and nausea are tell-tale signs of a rapidly progressing infection. Like Maver described, red streaking up the leg and blistering are other commonly reported symptoms. While there are many home remedies that will help with healing, it is important that you see a medical practitioner (like a NYC podiatrist) at the first signs of infection because cellulitis does not simply “go away on its own.” Possible complications of untreated cellulitis include: abscess development, bacteria in the bloodstream, vein inflammation, connective tissue degradation, tissue death, and gangrene.

A diagnosis can be made through a physical examination and skin biopsy, if necessary, to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection. Antibiotics are generally prescribed — either orally or intravenously (in the case of severe infections). Topical antibiotics may also be needed. Since cellulitis spreads rapidly, the infection must be closely monitored by your doctor — usually 24 hours after treatment begins.

In addition to our prescribed treatment, we recommend that patients keep the feet adequately moisturized to keep the skin barrier in tact. Current studies are investigating the effectiveness of taking omega-3 essential fatty acid and Vitamin D supplements, but we have found them to be helpful complementary therapies in our practice. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, consider a good probiotic supplement to ensure that good gut bacteria is not depleted as well. If your cellulitis is causing pain, you may take an over-the-counter painkiller. Keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking water upon waking, before and after your meals, and after brushing your teeth at night. Keep the infected foot elevated above the heart as often as possible to reduce swelling.

NYC Foot Infection Treatment

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is fully equipped to diagnose and treat all manners of foot and toe infection. Some infections can be treated using antibiotics and wound dressing, but others may require draining, debridement, offloading and hyperbaric oxygen. Our experienced, board-certified podiatric surgeons have experience working with diabetic ulcers, cellulitis, gangrene, plantar warts, athlete’s foot and other types of foot infections. If you are living or traveling near Manhattan or Westchester NY, contact us to be seen immediately.

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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.