March Madness Leads to Broken Bone

I was sitting at my in-laws’ house Easter Sunday allowing the delicious Ham and Cheesy Potato dinner to settle, when it almost decided to come right back up. I’ve seen some very gnarly things in my three years of residency, but this was gruesome.

Midway through the first half of the Louisville vs. Duke Elite Eight basketball game, Kevin Ware made a leaping attempt to block the shot of a Duke shooter. When Ware came down, his right leg landed awkwardly, turning inward and causing torque to the midshaft of the large bone of the leg, the tibia. The thick bone snapped and, because of the entirety of Ware’s body weight being over this break, the bone pushed outward and punctured through his skin.

This type of injury where a fracture breaks through the skin is known as a compound or open fracture. Open fractures are dangerous because of the high risk of infection to the exposed bone. You’ll notice the trainer immediately covers the wound with a (hopefully clean) towel. When open fractures occur they are classified based on the size of the wound, the amount of time the bone is exposed and the contamination the wound is exposed to.

The longer the time, contamination and size of the wound the greater the risk for a bone infection. Bone infections are very dangerous because of the difficulty in treatment. Intravenous (IV) antibiotics (standard care for infections) are less effective against bone infections as they cannot penetrate the bone easily. The more common treatment for bone infections is resection and amputation of the bone.

In Ware’s case, the wound was only exposed a short time before he underwent medical treatment. According to reports, he did have approximately six inches of exposed bone which would put him at a higher risk for infection. More than likely, he was immediately started on antibiotics. He then quickly underwent surgery to reduce the fracture ends back into alignment, place internal fixation by way of plates, screws or pins. The wound was then probably washed out with copious amounts of saline mixed with antibiotics. It is interesting to point out that Ware’s injury could actually have a better long term prognosis given that it didn’t effect any joints. If the bone ends were reduced back into normal anatomical position, the bone will heal in 4-8 weeks. Since no joint was directly effected by the fractures, he could have good results.

I wish Louisville’s players the best of luck. My bracket was busted after the first weekend so good luck to Louisville and to their coach Al Pacino.

But Ill be cheering for my alma mater, Michigan! Go Blue!

The image below may be disturbing. Proceed at your own risk.

For more information on this blog please contact:
Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman
Houston Foot Specialists
(713) 467-8886
1140 Business Center Dr. #510
Houston, TX 77043

2013 Jeff Bowman., All Rights Reserved

Category: Sports Injuries

Tags: Antibiotics, Bone Pins, Bone Screws, Fractures, Infections, Kevin Ware, Sports Injuries