Injuries often get in the way of athletes’ dreams. For Tennessee State waterskiing champion Coleman N., problems with his ankle almost got in his way—twice.

In June 2019, the three-event water-skier started feeling ankle pain, particularly when completing flips. Eager for a solution so he could keep skiing and competing, he sought the help of local foot and ankle specialist Dr. Christine Seaworth at University Orthopedic Surgeons. 

Coleman had X-rays and an MRI taken and was diagnosed with marrow edema, or a buildup of fluids in the bone marrow, in his os trigonum (a small bone behind the ankle joint) and ankle impingement of the left ankle. Dr. Seaworth created and delivered a comprehensive treatment plan, including a steroid injection and a controlled ankle motion boot to help the ankle heal. 

After his treatment was successful, Coleman was able to place second in slalom, first in trick, first in jump, and first overall in the Tennessee State Championships that year.

“Coleman's ankle began to bother him again once the next ski season started,” explained Angie N., Coleman’s mother and X-ray technician at University Orthopedic Surgeons. “Dr. Seaworth treated him again, and he was able to go on to ski that season pain-free as well.”

With some rest, hard work, and another successful treatment, in 2020, Coleman placed first in trick, slalom, jump, and overall in the Tennessee State Championships; placed third in trick, fourth in jump, and third overall in the Southern Regional Championships; and placed fifth in trick in the Water Ski National Championships. 

“Dr. Seaworth has been fantastic. She was able to see him quickly, and the staff in the office was friendly and professional,” said Angie. “Dr. Seaworth was very attentive to Coleman's complaints. She questioned all his activities and had specific instructions on how she wanted him to proceed in those activities pertaining to his ankle pain. She spent a lot of time answering questions and explaining everything to him and to me.”

Coleman went on to be named the Tennessee Water Ski Federation Junior Athlete of the Year in 2020. Now, Coleman has been accepted into The University of Alabama and hopes to compete for their collegiate waterskiing team.

With extensive training and experience as a foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Seaworth has proudly helped athletes and patients from all walks of life get back on their feet. If you have pain or limitation in your foot, ankle, or heel that is holding you back, Dr. Seaworth is here to help at our UT Medical Center and West Knoxville offices as well as in Sevierville. Call (865) 546-2663 for an appointment or request an appointment online.