Argentine leader broke ankle by slipping on wet floor

Buenos Aires – A wet floor caused Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to slip and fracture her left ankle, the government said on Monday, providing the first details of the South American leader’s latest of several health setbacks.

The president, 61, fell on Friday at her home in El Calafate, in the southern province of Santa Cruz, where she was spending a few days resting, Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich said at a press briefing.

“The president has had a domestic accident,” said Capitanich, adding that it happened because Fernandez didn’t see that the floor was wet.

Fernandez suffered a “bimalleolar fracture”, and initial treatment would include immobilizing the foot and limiting movement, according to a statement from the president’s medical staff. Such breaks are commonly associated with stepping incorrectly or a blunt impact to the foot, such as in a car accident, and can require surgery, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Sore throat

Fernandez has since cancelled several activities planned for early January, including a trip to the Vatican to commemorate a peace treaty with neighbouring Chile on the Beagle Channel in Patagonia. Fernandez had planned to commemorate the treaty, signed in 1984, with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Pope Francis, an Argentine native.

Fernandez, less than a year away from finishing her second and final term, has been frequently sidelined with ailments over the past year. In November, she was hospitalised for several days for inflammation of the colon. She was obliged to suspend her presidential activities for a few days in October due to a sore throat.

In January, she was treated for hip pain and sciatica, and in July she missed Independence Day celebrations to continue recovering from an acute throat infection. Last year, she underwent head surgery to remove a blood clot.

Her predecessor and husband, Nestor Kirchner, died of a heart attack in 2010.

The latest health setback didn’t appear to be a cause for concern for Argentines, many of whom are heading to the beaches at the beginning of the summer season.

“This isn’t a big issue and Cristina has been through bigger [health] problems,” said Roberto Bacman, director of the Centre for Public Opinion Studies, a South American research firm.

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