Argentina president broke ankle by slipping on wet floor, cancels trip to Vatican

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FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2014 file photo, Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez is helped up the stairs of the government house at an outdoor event celebrating the 31st anniversary of democracy's return to the country in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The 61-year-old leader has been sidelined with various ailments in recent months, the latest being a an ankle fracture. Doctors Marcelo Ballesteros and Daniel Fernandez said in a statement they signed Friday, Dec. 26, 2014 that they have recommended her ankle be immobilized, but did not specify what kind of blow caused the fracture. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A wet floor caused Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to slip and fracture her left ankle, the government said Monday, providing the first details of the South American leader's latest of several health setbacks.

The president, 61, fell 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.

Fernandez has since canceled several activities planned for early January, including a trip to the Vatican to commemorate a peace treaty with neighboring 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 hospitalized 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 Center for Public Opinion Studies, a South American research firm.

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