From Minor Foot Injury to Amputation

Interesting article in the @NYtimes recently. And being the dinosaur I am, I read it on paper (remember, it is called a newspaper kids), and I still listen to a CD once in a while and even have a fax machine. Shocking! Anyway, the article details the tragic and ultimately fascinating story of a young swimmer whose relatively minor foot injury leads to a novel form of a below-knee amputation. 

As the article briefly summarized the injury and treatment, I can’t comment much on the details of the injury and subsequent treatment other than to say I see sesamoid injuries a few times per week in my office and thankfully have never seen any that could potentially lead to such devastating complications. However, I do have some thoughts on the matter.

  • Every injury, even the most minor ones, can be devastating, and should be evaluated and treated by your friendly neighborhood podiatrist.
  • I suspect that the patient in the article may have developed a very serious condition called chronic regional pain syndrome, formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, although I cannot be certain in the absence of the facts of this particular case. In any case, this is an unfortunate and fortunately rare complication that can happen even after a minor foot injury and is the source of considerable pain and disability, and must be recognized and treated early.
  • The doctor who treated this patient is amazing. He developed a new type of below-knee amputation and prosthetic leg in conjunction with some geniuses at MIT. This has the potential to restore mobility in revolutionary ways, and can have far reaching implications on the 73,000 diabetic patients who lose their limb every year in this country, among other patients.
  • The patient at the center of this story is even more amazing. Recognizing she had a serious problem, she took a very bold step to reclaim her mobility and life, and in doing so paved the way to help countless others who will benefit from the research.

Well kids, a bit more serious this week in our hallowed and sacred blog. As the former day prophets known as the Doobie Brothers said, “Every day there’s a new thing coming,” and my friends indeed there is. And who knows, the best new thing today may just be this blog post. But let’s hope there’s something better.

And don't forget: if you or someone you love suffers a foot injury, even a minor one, make sure to contact us immediately and make an appointment at either our Manhattan or Bronx location.

See you in the office.

Ernest Isaacson

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