Kobe Bryant’s Ankle Injury Experiences Some Madness in March

As everyone in the Columbus area, and all around Ohio focuses on Ohio State’s win against University of Texas-San Antonio in the NCAA March Madness tournament, Kobe Bryant had a much less successful NBA game last Saturday.  Late in the third quarter, Kobe landed a jump and appeared to severely roll his ankle.

For anyone watching the game it was clearly a painful injury and resulted in a sprained ankle. Kobe Bryant’s ankle injury occurred when his foot was in the position most commonly associated with a sprained ankle, where the foot is “inverted”.  When this happens, the arch portion of the foot moves rolls upwards from the ground and the bottom of the foot faces the opposite foot.  This will overstretch or tear the ligaments located on the outer surface of the foot and result in a sprain.  Two of the ligaments that support and stabilize the ankle joint, the calcaneofibular ligament and the anterior talofibular ligament, are the two most commonly injured ligaments in an ankle sprain.

After rolling his ankle, Kobe immediately fell to the ground in pain and eventually struggled to stand up and call a timeout.  With a sprain, swelling, tenderness, pain and bruising around the ankle will occur immediately.  For a severe sprain, other immediate effects can include an inability to put weight on the affected foot, numbness, and stiffness.  Luckily, Kobe’s sprain may not have been as serious as it looked because he was able to get up and walk with only a slight limp. He even ended up reentering the game in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks.

Ankle sprains and injuries are an especially common injury for basketball players to look out for.  Proper fitting basketball shoes that feature a high top or three-quarter top can help to give additional support to the ankle.  Ironically, in 2009, Kobe was featured in a viral video campaign for Nike jokingly selling “Ankle Insurance” against broken ankles to advertise for Nike’s “Zoom Kobe 4” basketball sneaker.  While the viral video may have been humorous, treatment of a sprained ankle, especially for an elite athlete is serious business.  Ankle surgery can be necessary in some sprains to ensure that the tendons are correctly aligned and attached to allow for complete and healthy healing of the ankle joint.  Even in sprained ankles not requiring surgery, the injured foot should at least be iced and elevated to bring down swelling.  A period of rest should also be allowed for the tendons to strengthen and re-grow.  This may be an issue for Kobe, who should have sat out for the entire rest of the game to allow the healing process to begin and not cause any further damage.

Not properly caring for his ankle could lead down dangerous path for both Kobe and the Lakers.  If Kobe does not follow the proper course of treatment for the best healing of his ankle, he could end up experiencing chronic lateral ankle pain and ankle instability.  By allowing for the healing time recommended by a skilled podiatrist, Kobe will save himself future ankle sprains and extra recovery time down the road and thus get back to helping out his team more effectively!!

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia