Puzzling Foot Injury Sparks Lifelong Passion

Dr Jason Morris, University Foot and Ankle Institute, Beverly Hills

Dr. Jason Morris

Many people can vividly recall a particular moment or puzzle in their young lives that led them to seek out answers through their career choices. Growing up as an athlete, I certainly kept my trainers, physical therapists and doctor’s offices busy.  Wrist fractures, knee injuries, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, and sprained ankles were just some of the battle scars endured during my time in both high school and collegiate levels of basketball, cross country and track & field.

It was a combination of specific injuries that ultimately lead me to become a physician specializing in foot and ankle medicine.  During my days as a high school runner, I had developed knee pain which became worse as I continued to run through the pain.

My family physician diagnosed me with a litany of maladies: tendonitis, capsulitis (inflammation of the joint) and a Baker’s cyst (fluid filled cyst behind the knee).  As none of these improved with treatment, I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in the knee.  He developed a couple potential diagnoses for my injury, ran a few more tests, and I finally had an answer; a stress fracture had developed in my knee where the cartilage and bone connect.  With the correct diagnosis in hand, the treatment plan was modified and I was on the road to recovery.

You would think that with my experience of a knee injury, I may have wanted to become an orthopedic physician specializing in the knee or sports medicine.  But there was no mystery to that experience.  Everything worked out logically. My primary doctor referred me to the knee specialist and, ‘poof!’ I recovered as planned.

It was my next injury that triggered my passion for podiatrics.  I quit running cross country to play basketball, but immediately developed pain in my foot.  This pain wasn’t going away and limited the running, jumping and quick movements I needed to play. My trainer referred me to a primary care physician, who took x-rays.  Nothing.  I was then referred to the next physician, my old friend the orthopedic specialist who operated on my knee years before.  Though I admired him, I had my doubts about seeing him for my foot pain. I was sent to a knee specialist for a knee injury; shouldn’t I see a foot specialist for a foot injury?

Stress Fracture, metatarsal fracture

X-ray showing stress fracture of the 2nd metatarsal.

He agreed with the previous doctor that it must have been a soft tissue injury, since the x-rays were negative.  Nerdy athlete that I was, I hit the books to research foot injuries.  When I finally met with a foot surgeon, we discussed the injury pattern and he mentioned stress fractures.  But, the x-rays had been negative, I thought, so how could it be a fracture?  He ordered another set of x-rays and, lo and behold, I had a stress fracture to the 2nd metatarsal bone in the foot. He explained that stress fractures can take a few weeks to show up on x-ray, and a negative test does not preclude the diagnosis of a fracture.

I realized at this moment that I wanted to go into medicine and specialize in treating the very same injuries that had seemed to pop up throughout my years as an athlete.  I wanted to treat athletes and get them back on their feet as soon as possible, minimizing the time away from the court, field or track.

Dr. Morris is available for consultation at our Beverly Hills and Torrance locations.  Please call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

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