Custom orthotics and physical therapy are a winning combination that enabled Oakville junior Chaz Flecke to keep playing soccer.
Fit to Kick
Physical Therapy Keeps Oakville Soccer Player in the Game
If any injury is not improving or an old injury keeps recurring, consider physical therapy.
Chaz Flecke is all smiles after scoring his first goal for the Oakville Tigers varsity soccer team. On the disabled list and benched for eight weeks, starting before and continuing through the first half of the fall soccer season, the junior was worried about both his power and speed, after severely spraining his ankle.
“I was downtown with some friends, jumped over a bench and turned my ankle sideways,” he says. “I used crutches and an ankle brace for awhile to walk.”
When it came to running, however, pain was constant. “My foot hurt for hours if I tried to walk fast or jog,” he says. “It was so frustrating.” Scheduled for his annual sports physical at St. Anthony’s Urgent Care Center in Lemay, Flecke asked for help. “Anytime someone tells you that an injury is not improving or an old injury keeps recurring, you need to consider physical therapy,” says Kurt Jaeger, MD, a board-certified physician. “PT not only helps people resolve acute injuries, it also can aid in treating chronic issues, such as spinal degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, even dizziness. It also can help an athlete's performance by focusing on sports-specific strength and flexibility."
After a thorough evaluation and a few physical therapy sessions focused on treating his sprained ankle, therapists noticed Flecke also complained about pain when he pushed off with his foot. “After trying to run, he had fluid build-up on the side of his foot, coupled with bruising, which told me that he had some kind of soft tissue being pinched in one of the ankle joints,” says Maureen Blackburn, PT, Dip, MDT, a certified physical therapist at St. Anthony’s Sports and Therapy Services.
Testing to see if she could improve Flecke’s foot mechanics, Blackburn placed a rolled washcloth under his foot and watched as he stood. “You could actually see him roll his foot while moving,” Blackburn says. “He needed strengthening to get him in shape to run and kick a soccer ball and custom orthotics to prevent that roll.”
Flecke headed out for a run after getting his orthotics. “I ran for a mile with no pain,” he says.
With his mom on the sidelines and his coach watching intently, Flecke powered down the soccer field after sitting out for several weeks. “After the game, the coach told me ‘I think you finally got your game back,’” says Flecke. “Now I can concentrate on running and scoring. It’s a great feeling.”
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