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A Closer Look Into Kelly Slater's Broken Foot

July 25, 2017  |  F. Ray Nickel, MD

Last week, the world of professional surfing was dealt a blow when Kelly Slater found out he will miss significant time from competiting due to a broken right foot. Initially being told the fracture would sideline him for only six weeks, Slater will now most likely miss the remainder of the 2017 season after further evaluation. An 11-time world champion, Slater injured his foot while freesurfing between contest heats at J-Bay in South Africa.

After viewing the x-ray of Slater’s injury, Dr. F. Ray Nickel, Ventura Orthopedics' foot and ankle specialist in West County, said, “I am so sorry to hear about the injury to Kelly Slater's foot. I believe that there is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that this is likely to be a much more significant injury then what is seen on the x-rays. The good news is that with the advancement of both knowledge of this type of injury as well as the techniques for treating it, it is likely that his foot can be restored back to almost normal function.”

Dr. Nickel continued by saying, “Mr. Slater is a superb athlete and I would anticipate that he will be able to return to full surfing competition ability. It would furthermore be anticipated that he would be able to return to competition in approximately six to eight months. Having said that, restoration of complete function and becoming as good as he is going to be will take approximately one and a half to two years.”

Dr. Nickel advises for any serious foot injury to seek evaluation and treatment with a fellowship trained foot and ankle or trauma specialist orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible and, in the meantime, keep your foot elevated to minimize swelling.

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