Swimmer with Foot Trauma Comes Back for the Win
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
Montz, Louisiana resident Jesse Lynn LeBoeuf had spent the last eight summers swimming competitively for two hours or more a day. She practiced with the Crescent City Swim Club of Metairie and the Sun Villa Sharks of Norco. However, a freak accident over the summer threatened to cut her season short. “I absolutely love to swim,” the 14-year-old told her local paper.1http://www.heraldguide.com/details.php?id=15946 “Swimming is my one sport and a big part of who I am.” The teen’s story is something our NYC podiatry practice would like to share because it has the potential to empower others who are recovering from a devastating foot or ankle injury.
What Happened to Jesse Lynn’s Foot?
On June 12th, a cinderblock fell three feet off the porch steps onto the girl’s left foot, smashing the big toe. She suffered a crushed toenail so bad the nail fell off, and a fracture at the tip of the bone. Jesse spent three hours in the emergency room and left with 25 stitches. The doctor said she’d spend the next month or two on crutches and cautioned that getting the wound wet would risk infection — so no swimming!
How Does One Recover from Foot Trauma?
The first two weeks for Jesse were filled with physical pain, depression, and frustration. We know recovering from a severe injury can be difficult, and here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC, we always spend time counseling patients and listening to how they’re feeling about the injury. We provide practical tips on how to cope with the limited mobility and suggest products — like a hands-free crutch or waterproof leg cast protector — that will make day-to-day life a bit easier.
An Unlikely Outcome
By the third week, Jesse Lynn had gone against her doctor’s wishes and returned to practice, even though her wounds were far from healed. With her parents’ help, she found a way to wrap the foot to waterproof it. She attended daily practice and participated in two meets. One month after her injury, she participated in the River Parishes Swim Invitational Meet and won first place in the 50-meter freestyle, 50-meter backstroke, and 50-meter butterfly events! She also helped her team break the 100-meter freestyle record set in 1998. At the end of the competition, the young swimmer with the big toe injury took home a trophy for the 13-14 girls age group.
“My toe was swelling the entire meet,” she recalled. “I had to deal with the discomfort of that, as well as having to continuously unwrap and re-wrap my toe.” However, her personal achievements and record-breaking relay was thrilling and a true testament to her grit and determination.
A few weeks later, she earned third place in the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter butterfly at the Louisiana State Long Course Championship Swim Meet. “To accomplish 3rd place at State with a broken, lacerated toe felt incredible,” she said.
As of August, Jesse was still walking with a boot and nursing the stitches in her toe. However, she felt much better knowing that she hadn’t let the injury prevent her from living her life. Though we don’t advise going against your doctor’s wishes, there’s something to be said for having a positive spirit of determination while recovering from foot trauma. That in itself can speed up healing.
Broken Toe Healing Time and Risks
Most toe fractures will heal in four to six weeks. If you’ve lost a nail, it could take nine months before the nail fully grows back. Some people try to nurse their own injuries at home without professional care, but the risk of complications is great because there is no way to know whether your foot trauma is healing properly or not.
While you heal, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine will check on your progress to make sure the toe does not become infected or develop arthritis. Rather than seeking short-term care at the emergency room, New Yorkers can get more comprehensive care at our Manhattan and Westchester offices.
[ + ]
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. 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.