Recovery From 'Devastating' Ankle Injury

With all the twists and turns many professional football and basketball players make on the field and on the court, an ankle injury can happen quickly. And with the intense contact often made between players of these two sports, an injury or broken bone can sometimes be severe. But professional athletes aren’t the only ones who can have an injury that sidelines them.

Tracy Baker, M.D, a plastic surgeon in Miami is an avid sportsman who enjoys hunting, fishing and all things outdoors. On July 9,2016, during one of his hunting trips in northern Florida, he fell from a ladder on a tree stand and had what he described as a “devastating” fracture (pictured above) of his tibia, fibula and ankle joint.

Immediately after the injury, Dr. Baker called his friend, an orthopedic surgeon, and asked who he should see. The friend mentioned he needed to see expert Christopher Hodgkins, M.D., an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon with Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute.

(The Baptist Health South Florida News Team hears from Christopher Hodgkins, M.D., an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon with Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, and Tracy Baker, M.D, a plastic surgeon in Miami. Video by George Carvalho.)

Dr. Baker endured an excruciating five-hour car ride from the hunting ground to Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables where he met Dr. Hodgkins.

“I didn’t just want to be able to stand and walk. I wanted to be able to run and hunt and fish and be on boats and get my life back…and honestly I never thought it would be possible,”  Dr. Baker recalls.

Dr. Hodgkins, however, was amazed at Dr. Baker’s recovery. “He was incredibly motivated…so we were able to put him on an accelerated program.”

A pivotal moment in Dr. Baker’s recovery came when he first was cleared for weight-bearing exercises, including running. “I was on the treadmill with tears streaming down my face,” recalls Dr. Baker. “And the progress that I’ve made in 8 months, I can tell you, I am 98% recovered. There is nothing I can’t do that I couldn’t do before I was injured.”

Dr. Baker also credits Doctors Hospital for his recovery. “I am on staff at Doctors Hospital. I love that hospital, it’s a fantastic surgical facility from everyone from the department of anesthesia to the nursing to the physical therapists.”

Dr. Hodgkins was grateful that Dr. Baker came to see him. “For a physician to trust another physician, that means a lot to me and I’ll never forget that.”

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With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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