Study: Foot, ankle injuries often misdiagnosed - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Study: Foot, ankle injuries often misdiagnosed

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Athlete Paul Picinich always played hard until an intense flag football game landed him on the sidelines last year.

"Tried to grab the flag and felt something rip in my ankle," he said.

The next day he couldn't walk, so he headed to urgent care.

"He said, 'We're probably looking at a sprain but the X-rays are pretty inconclusive. You're probably going to need to get an MRI if you really want to assess this sprain,'" Picinich said.

It was much worse. It turns out, Picinich had multiple ligament tears in his ankle.

"My foot was disconnected almost fully from, you know, the rest of my leg," he said.

A new study from the American Osteopathic Association finds primary doctors often misdiagnose many common foot and ankle injuries.

"That's a pretty, pretty serious injury that we don't want to miss," said Dr. Naresh Rao, a sports medicine physician.

Rao says a second opinion from an orthopedic specialist and additional imaging can be critical.

"Long-term effects can be, unfortunately, painful, debilitating, can lead to osteoarthritis, can lead to possible surgery, can lead to possible need for a brace the rest of their life," Rao said.

With the right diagnoses and intense therapy, Picinich had a shorter recovery than expected and was back on the field in a month and a half.

"I think the treatment regimen actually helped make it stronger," he said.

Strong enough for bungee jumping. Just weeks after his surgery, he took the plunge of a lifetime.

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