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Jeremy Maclin Injury

Jeremy Maclin Injury: High Ankle Sprain

Kansas City Chiefs stud 1,000 yard receiver Jeremy Maclin went down in Saturday’s playoff win in Houston with what was feared to be a knee injury, but it turns out, the MRI showed he suffered a high ankle sprain.  Chiefs nation was happy to hear that it wasn’t the dreaded ACL tear, but “just an ankle sprain” – or is it?

What’s a high ankle sprain?

Between your tibia and fibula in the lower leg is a membrane known as the interosseous membrane and the joint it helps form is the “syndesmosis.”  Think of it as a sheet of tissue connecting the two bones. High ankle sprains are also known as “syndesmosis sprains.”  In a high ankle sprain, this membrane gets a tear in it as well as the ligaments that connect the two bones.  This is problematic because when you walk or run, your body weight pushes up into the joint between the tibia and fibula and can stress the injury.  In the picture below, the tibia and fibula basically “sit” on top of the ankle. If those ligaments and the membrane are torn, every step you take, the ankle “jams” into the joint above.
syndes 300x138 Jeremy Maclin Injury

How do you get a high ankle sprain?

Most of the time, a high ankle sprain happens when the athlete is weight-bearing and has a twisting injury to go along with it.  Typically dorsiflexion (foot flexed/pointed up) + weight-bearing + twisting = high ankle sprain.

What’s the difference between that and a “rolled ankle” or inversion sprain?

No doubt, it would be much more preferable if Mr. Maclin had a “rolled ankle.”  A “rolled ankle” typically sprains the anterior talofibular ligament on the outside of the ankle.  Depending on severity, more ligaments can be involved.  However, even a more severe inversion sprain can be taped up, braced, and the athlete can get through it.  High ankle sprains are different.

inversion injury33 with text new 300x182 Jeremy Maclin Injury

“Rolled ankle.” Note the difference in the injured anatomy. It’s not as “high” up as the high ankle sprain

Seriously, can’t he just suck it up and go? This is the playoffs!

No, not with a high ankle sprain.  These are really painful and take a while to recover from.  Like all injuries, there is a degree of severity.  The problem with this injury, contrary to a “rolled ankle,” is that with every step he takes, the ankle joint “jams” into that torn membrane.  Even basic walking and going down stairs is painful.  There’s a loss of stability there as well along with the pain.  These injuries can take up to 12 weeks to heal.  That doesn’t mean this is how long his will take, but no question, these are a challenging and perplexing injury.

So will he play or not? What’s the SSOR prediction?

Well, this is actually a little odd.   He has a history of ACL injuries and they seemed to be checking the knee, turns out it’s ankle.  Both are very different injuries.  Without knowing severity, this is tough to predict.  Plus, he has the luxury of having every resource at his disposal to get well.  All that said, we’re not very optimistic he’ll be ready to go.  He’s only got 5 days basically to get ready after this injury.  What makes this challenging for him specifically is that he needs to run and cut at top speed and tolerating landing on one leg.  Might be different if he wasn’t a wide receiver.  In 5 days, this will be a daunting task.  If the Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl, he would have a legitimate shot.  However, we’re not too optimistic for this weekend.  Stranger things have happened though, and well, we’re playing the Patriots.  Maybe it’s time to do Sprain-Gate and lie and cheat like those bloody Patriots!!  Let’s be optimistic – this was all by designed and planned in advance!  Glass is half full people!
Here’s to a recovery faster than your 40 Mr. Maclin! Good luck Chiefs and congrats to you for bringing home a playoff win.  Beat those Patriots!!!

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