Is anyone else as amazed as I am with the quick foot work and incredible leaps of figure skaters? Not to mention the “dizzy bat” spins they go through and skate away with seemingly no affect, its hard not to be impressed with the talent of these athletes. One skater in particular USA’s Nathan Chen took the ice for the first time Thursday night. If you are like me you were tuned in eagerly awaiting the olympians first skate, watching the whole broadcast. As a podiatrist what stood out to me was the large amount of duct tape Nathan used to reinforce his ankles before skating. This is no surprise seeing as he is spinning multiple times only to land on a thin metal blade! As a foot and ankle specialist of course I was intrigued by him reinforcing his ankles, because I see ankle instability regularly in my office. This is not something that needs to be treated with duct tape!
Ankle instability is typically due to a history of ankle sprains which can rupture or stretch the ligaments in the lateral ankle. Traditionally, a combination of physical therapy and bracing techniques are used to re-stabilize an ankle. This is often a very good approach however for elite athletes or patients that do not find success with these treatment options I often use an internal brace. An internal brace is, as its name suggest, a surgical procedure that allows me to to re-stabilize the ankle from the inside! During the procedure I fix the damaged ligaments and for extra stability control an internal brace is place over top of the repaired ligament. This brace has two bone anchors which are connected by very strong suture. Its function is not to replace your ligament, rather it is to provide support for the ligament so the ankle can no longer reach a range of motion that would damage it again! If you find yourself thinking about using duct tape on your unstable ankles, give us a call at Healthy Feet Podiatry for your same day consultation.
Go Team USA!