Stress fractures need rest…even if you play for the Bills!

Many football fans are aware that Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins suffered a foot injury, but don’t know the extent of the injury. Every week fans were wondering if he was going to play the entire season. On Sept 30th an official decision was finally made- Sammy was placed on the injury reserve list for 8 weeks. Certainly his skill and talent is a loss for the Buffalo Bills, but it was the best decision for Sammy’s injury.

Back in May, Sammy had surgery on his left foot to fix a 5th metatarsal stress fracture. The fifth metatarsal is the bone in your foot adjacent to your “baby” toe. A stress fracture means that there is a small crack in the bone from overuse/repeated movements like running when the muscles are not strong enough to handle shock absorption. So, for someone whose job it is to run, run, run and who is constantly hitting his feet on the ground, a stress fracture could occur.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the best form of treatment for a stress fracture is 6-8 weeks of rest so the bone can heal. Another treatment option is surgically placing a screw in the bone to help stabilize the foot. This is more commonly what professional athletes will do, and what Sammy had done in May. Unfortunately, Sammy started experiencing pain from the metal screw when he got back to full activity at training camp and earlier in the season. However, more complications can arise if he gets the screw surgically removed.

Sammy started training camp and the season playing through his pain tolerance, but for now the decision was made for him to rest. Although it is an option, there is no current plan for Sammy to have surgery. He needs time to rest and take stress off his foot to heal. Bones are still bones, even in professional football, so this short term rest will hopefully help Sammy to recover and prevent reoccurrence.

As always, Go Bills!