Well, he’s at it again. Not only did Arian Foster leave Sunday night’s game due to a re-aggravation of his back issue, but he left so early in the 1st quarter that he dashed fantasy owners’ hopes and dreams for the second time this season. Foster is said to have re-injured the same back injury that he has been dealing with basically all season. This is also the same back that required an epidural injection to help decrease inflammation as he was having symptoms into his legs from a nerve impingement injury in his lumbar spine.
Injury Outlook: Well, we can safely say that this is not good news. Injuring your legs or back once is tough enough to deal with. But throw in the fact that he’s had re-injuries to both the hamstring and the low back and now we have to be seriously concerned.
Now, the big thing to understand from this recent flare up is that his hamstring and back issues are very, very connected. Injuries to either the musculature around the lumbar spine or the nerve roots themselves can cause tightness in the surrounding musculature, especially a muscle group like the hamstrings that has very similar attachment sites as the muscles of the low back.
In addition, when you deal with nerve issues, there is a chance that consistent irritation of the nerve roots can begin to affect the muscles that those nerves innervate, causing weakness, numbness and tingling, or pain. Oftentimes, what is thought to be a true hamstring strain can actually be related to a condition called neural tension, which is when the peripheral nervous system loses it’s mobility and freedom of motion due to tension of the surrounding soft tissue. Another cause of neural tension is irritation of the nerve root: once one point of your nerve is irritated, there is trickle down effect that begins to affect the rest of the nervous system associated.
Ok, that was a handful, but the main point to take from Foster’s condition is that when you have any irritation or inflammation surrounding a nerve of the low back, the symptoms and limitations more commonly effect the lower extremities more than the actual back itself. Until Foster and the Texans’ training staff can get a grasp on the root of the problem and how to keep it from flaring up, this issue will not go away. Up to this point, Foster has been managing his symptoms and not really getting down to the cause of all of these issues.
Expect this to be an ongoing story as we move forward. I don’t really know exactly how to put a timeframe to this most recent flare up, as this can cost him just one or two weeks if it’s purely a muscular issue and not related to the nerves of his back. It can also cost him the rest of the season if they find out that he needs more aggressive treatment like surgery.
As with Aaron Rodgers, I will be following this story as it develops over the course of the next week or two, so keep tabs on this post and I’ll update his condition as we know more.