Hit the Waves Without Breaking Your Feet

Those seeking the thrill of surfing in Columbus this summer are going to have to take a vacation beyond Lake Erie if they want to experience some waves. Throughout the summer big wave surfing competitions are occurring, with the next big stop being the Billabong Pro Teahupoo in Tahiti starting August 16th. Footing is crucial for maintaining a steady balance and control of the board and unfortunately for one of the world’s top ranked surfers, Kolohe Andino, has lost that steady footing and number one world ranking due to a foot injury.

While training with his father, Andino suffered both a high ankle sprain and tore a ligament in the top of his midfoot called the Lisfranc ligament. Andino landed an aerial 360 before landing on his foot in such a way that it strained the connective tissue holding the tibia and fibula together known as the “tibial-fibular syndesmosis” and the lisfranc ligament. Lis franc injuries occur most commonly in 30-40 year old males and can be caused in a variety of ways. Football players are a group that more commonly experiences a Lisfranc injury, but falling off a bike or a horse can also cause similar damage. After the injury, an ecchymosis, or bruise may appear on the bottom of the foot and the entire foot may become swollen and painful. While Andino has been taking a break from suffer to recover for more than 10 weeks now, many Lisfranc injuries require surgery in order to return the stability of the structure of the foot.

18-year-old Andino is certainly not the first surfer to suffer a season damaging foot injury. World famous surfing pro Kelly Slater suffered a major foot injury to the joint at the base of his big toe, or hallux (where bunions develop) during his 2010 surfing season. Surfers can do their best to prevent injuries by purchasing a board with a hard plastic or rubber tip to soften the blow of an unbalanced landing or “wipeout”. Some surfers also utilize special booties to protect their feet from cuts and wounds. Stretching and strengthening the feet can also help to avoid lower extremity injuries. Like any foot and ankle injury in an athlete, wounds should be treated immediately to avoid infection, and painful injuries should not be ignored in order to continue enjoying the sport.

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