Word is out this week that Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees’ star third baseman missed Wednesday’s game due to a bruise sustained after fouling a ball off his foot. Unless, of course, that is all a cover for A-rod’s secret desire to observe Yom Kippur. No, on second thought, I think that was Sandy Koufax.
So what’s going on here? A foot bruise is a non-specific injury and can vary in degrees of severity, from a minor injury to the foot from blunt trauma, a twisting motion, or a fall, to a severe injury from a serious accident. For the purposes of this blogpost, let’s discuss a foot or ankle bruise that does not involve a foot or ankle fracture, ligament tear or injury, or a torn foot and ankle tendon.
In the case of A-Rod’s injury, if an object strikes the foot with enough force, some of the superficial capillaries within the skin layers may become injured and leak blood into the skin. That blood settles within the skin layers, thus creating the “black and blue” appearance that is the hallmark of a bruise. The blood is then broken down into its individual components, and as the hemogolobin in red blood cells is further broken down by the body, the reddish tints emerge, until the blood is fully resorbed. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Ice is helpful in relieving the initial pain, but it won’t really accelerate the healing process. No matter what, it’s going to take time, and probably more time than most people would like. Just remember, the body wants to heal, we just have to enable it to do so. And as much as I hate to say it, sometimes a short term investment in downtime is necessary to prevent a mandatory long term recovery.
The good news is that most bruises will heal very well. It is of vital importance to treat the area initially with RICE- rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Don’t push it if your body is telling you otherwise and don’t delay making an appointment with your NYC podiatrist. The “bruise” you are resting and waiting out could be the stress fracture, ankle sprain, or torn ligament or tendon that keeps you from running, jogging, walking, and even baseball.
See you in the office.
Ernest L. Isaacson, DPM