During the Super Bowl LVII, Kansas City Chiefs fans were on the edge of their seats when quarterback Patrick Mahomes aggravated a preexisting high sprain to his right ankle in the second quarter of the game he’d go on to help win against the Philadelphia Eagles. He’d injured it three weeks prior during a playoff game and right after he limped off the field in Scottsdale, he could be heard telling trainers and coaches that he was alright, although clearly in pain. 

After the game during a press conference the next morning with head coach Andy Reid, Mahomes said, “The only time that it had the real hurt was when I got tackled. It kind of rolled to the outside a little bit. And once you have that high-ankle sprain, any little tweak like that happens, it just really magnifies it. Coming into the game, I felt way better than I did in the Cincinnati game. Obviously, that happens there, and luckily, we were able to get into halftime and get some new tape on and some movement to try to get some mobility back. And then, we talked about it, my offensive line, they protected me enough, where I was able to sit in there and make the throws. It was something that I was going to play through, but I’m glad I get a little rest on it now.”

While this situation is particularly extraordinary, it does highlight the risks of aggravating foot and ankle injuries by not staying off the foot and giving it enough time to heal. While Mahomes continued to play successfully, it could have gone the other way and cost the team the game, but also, the health of his ankle. 

For most people and athletes the timetable to return is six to eight weeks at minimum as high ankle sprains are very painful to return to specific sport activity. Patrick Mahomes didn’t miss a single game.

Many times, when patients come to see us and we begin treating the ailment, they start to feel better, or their pain is reduced or goes away but we still want them to stay off their feet, or the affected foot. When you don’t follow the doctor’s instructions, it can backtrack your healing and reaggravate an injury or the healing process. 

High ankle sprains come with a high reaggravation rate when returning to sport or activity earlier than the 6-8 week timetable. These reaggravations usually cause you to risk even more time.  Bracing and physical therapy is key to reduce the chance of reaggravation and get you back to activity the quickest.

We see many athletes at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists who participate in all kinds of sports. If you’re an athlete, or just someone who’s experienced a similar injury, taking care of your feet and ankles is very important to long-term success and positive outcomes, on and off the field. While winning a Super Bowl and being an MVP of an NFL team is unlikely to happen to you, everyone is susceptible to ankle injuries and getting the rest and treatment you need is crucial, as is following your doctor’s advice instead of trying to walk it off or shake off the pain. 

If you have any kind of ankle injury or pain or need to see a podiatrist that specializes in athletic care, contact us at 847.639.5800.