Olympic athletes may seem super human but they unfortunately aren't exactly immortal Gods. If you too are glued to the screen to catch Team USA's figure skaters twirl and leap towards hopeful victory, then you definitely caught ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates shimmy across the ice. The latest news out of PyeongChang is that ice dancer Madison Chock's foot was actually injured during her performance in the short dance on Monday. But, what is Madison Chock's foot injury? It's surprisingly common — and a lot of people may not even know they have it.
Even if you're not following the events of your local ice rink year round, the Olympic winter games will have you tempted to sharpen your skates. 16.2 million viewers have been tuning into NBC to catch a glimpse of the glory of the Winter Games. Maybe it's the hypnotizing flash of figure skater's costumes that has us tuning in. Perhaps it's just that figure skating and ice dancing is more thrilling and mesmerizing than we realize. Whatever your reason for curling up close to the Olympic Winter Games broadcasting ice dances on TV, imagine those elegant, flashy swan like athletes doing that while injured. It might not be completely safe, but according to Chock while speaking to reporters after her short dance performance with partner Bates, it's not something a little ice can't fix. And it's not severe enough to keep her from leaping towards gold.
In case you aren't so familiar with sports on ice, there is a distinct difference between figure skating and ~ice dancing~. Skating pairs in both sports might share a similar affinity for sequins, but the rules vary. The Washington Post explained, "Ice dance is sometimes maligned by the casual viewer as a tamer version of pairs skating. No, jumps are not part of the competition and partners can’t lift each other with their arms fully extended above their heads. But ice dance is its own distinct challenge, a study of edges and angles." Evan Bates might not be able to lift Madison Chock over his head as pairs in figure skating might be able to, but that doesn't mean the drama isn't there. And the proof is in the podiatric injury.
Evan Bates and Madison Chock's routine landed them in seventh place on Monday's (or Sunday night's if you're stateside) ice dancing event at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. PEOPLE reported that, "Chock has for months been dealing with a foot injury that flared up again during their warmup, minutes before they took the ice." Apparently Maddie fought on, ice dancing in pain, thanks to an osteochondral lesion in her foot. Regardless, she braved her injury and the press room saying, "I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing, just maybe a little extra ice and PT today."
What is an osteochondral lesion, though? It sounds scary, but it's actually fairly common: Podiatry Today cites the cause of the injury as typically "from a crush or injury to the surface of the bone during the abnormal motion of the ankle in a sprain." The injury is further explained, "the talus and tibia and/or fibula will contact each other with a massive stress, resulting in a compression or shear stress on the surface of the talus and underlying injury." I know this all sounds like medical gibberish, so the gist is basically: An ostrochondral lesion is basically when a piece of cartilage from But, Podiatry Today elaborates by mentioning how a person is not typically diagnosed with osteochondral lesion at first. And that person, as a matter of fact, might increase their activity because the initial discomfort will fade.
But, alas, though this particular foot nuisance might not seem too severe, skipping, gliding and twirling on it might activate the stress and pain can flare right back up. To not wince through your entire performance while skating on a fractured foot deserves a medal in and of itself.
What's the doctor's recommendation? Podiatry Today says, "treatment will require either casting of the ankle to allow the fracture site to heal or pinning and open reduction of the fracture in cases of a loose lesion." I'm pretty sure a skate isn't a good substitute for a sturdy cast. And ice might not do enough. But an Olympic ice dancer must do what an Olympic ice dancer must do and I wish Bates and Chock the best of luck as they compete for gold.