In case you missed it, Dwight Freeney, the All-Pro defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts had a very good game during the Superbowl, despite a torn ligament in his right ankle. But wait, he only injured his ankle 2 weeks ago...how is he playing football when my doctor told me that my ankle sprain would sideline me for 3-6 weeks? In short, why do football players heal faster than regular people like you and me? The answer is that they don't heal faster than we do. Ligaments take 3-6 weeks to heal in anyone. Elite athletes just so happen to be in incredible physical shape as well as an ability to tolerate pain that is beyond the average person. Dwight Freeney is a professional football player. He has played countless games in high school, college and the pro's. He has played through pain.
On Sunday you can bet that his ankle was heavily braced with tape and strappings to limit the motion of his injured ankle. He was also most likely injected with a drug called Marcaine which is very similar to the Novacaine used in a dental office. This type of medicine causes a few hours of painless numbness, but it does not repair or heal tendons or ligaments.
Dwight Freeney had a great game. He even sacked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees in the second quarter. He is not a superhuman. He is a professional athlete with the best medical care at his disposal and he may have made it through the game, but his ankle is not healed. He does not heal faster than you or me. He just knows that Superbowls are once in a lifetime and he can heal in the offseason.
If you sprain your ankle, don't expect to get back to full activity for 3-6 weeks. You will need to ice, elevate and rest your ankle as well as taking anti-inflammatory pills and wearing a brace. But don't worry, if by some chance you need to play in the Superbowl in 2 weeks...we could get you ready.
Committed to your health,
Dr. Craig Conti
Sarasota Foot Care Center