The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NHL News: An Achilles Tendon Tear Has Ottawa’s Pageau off the Ice

Posted by on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

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Ottawa Senators’ center Jean-Gabriel Pageau is out of commission with an Achilles tendon tear. One study of NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA players with torn Achilles tendons found that 30.6% of professionals players were not able to return to play following their injuries. Of those who did return, functional deficits caused reduced games played, reduced playing time, and worse performance one year after Achilles surgery. By two years, most of the studied players were able to rebound.

We can’t say for sure whether Pageau will be one of the lucky ones or not, but we can answer some of your other burning questions, such as: What can I expect in terms of recovery from an Achilles tendon tear? What type of treatment should I seek for a torn Achilles tendon? The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City specializes in this area of sports medicine.

Achilles tendon tear
Ottawa Senators’ center Jean-Gabriel Pageau is out of commission with an Achilles tendon tear. [Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com]

What Happened to Pageau?

Jean-Gabriel Pageau was going through the first day of fitness training camp at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday, September 13th when his Achilles tendon tore. According to Pageau himself, the tear was a matter of bad luck. He was pushing himself hard—trying to do as many agility footwork reps as he could in 15 seconds. “It was something I practiced all summer, and unfortunately it just snapped during my second try,” he explained. At the time, it felt like somebody stepped on his ankle, causing him to fall to the floor, unable to walk. The same injury happened to his father while they were playing tennis together a couple years back, he added.

What Is the Treatment for an Achilles Tendon Tear?

Like many professional athletes, Pageau underwent surgery on his right ankle that same day. The initial prognosis is that he will miss at least six months (or March). Initially, he was placed in a cast; he has since graduated to a walking boot a month later. He may stay in the walking boot for up to 12 weeks. Once the boot comes off, he’ll focus on walking without a limp and then riding a stationary bike. Finally, he’ll make a transition back to the ice and hope for contact clearance. It’s a long, slow recovery. To stay positive, Pageau is traveling with the team and getting to know his new teammates.

If you’ve ruptured your Achilles, you may be wondering if surgery is really the next step. In truth, this is an area of hot debate. A study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that surgery has a lower rate of re-rupture, but a higher rate of complications like deep infections, scarring, and nerve dysfunction. For older patients, for those with access to a functional rehab program, and for those who commit to performing early-range-of-motion exercises, conservative management holds promise.

How Does Ottawa Fare Without Pageau?

Last season, Pageau had 14 goals and 15 assists for a total of 29 points. He’s ranked the eighth highest scorer overall and his presence will be missed, say teammates. Star center Matt Duchene, who hoped Pageau would fill-in for him with considerable minutes, described Pageau as “a special player… a guy that plays such a big role and does things that a lot of guys can’t do out there in terms of the grit.” Coach Guy Boucher added that Pageau is “one of the most popular players” on the team, “a great person to be around,” and “a heart-and-soul guy.” In other words, he was poised for leadership.

With the last game of the 2018-2019 season taking place next year on April 7th, our best hope is to see Jean-Gabriel Pageau back for the last 10 games. Sadly, the Ottawa native will miss a few unique opportunities this season, including the ability to face off against the Colorado Avalanche in Stockholm, Sweden, and a December 16th outdoor match at Lansdowne Park.

It’s a sad turn of events for Ottawa in a rebuilding year after a dismal 28 wins and 43 losses last year, which put them just ahead of the Buffalo Sabres’ dead-last. Worthy of note, however, is the fact that last year’s leading scorer Karlsson (traded to the San Jose Sharks in September) bounced back after a nasty Achilles skate-slash in 2013. Pageau is a young player at age 25, so we can expect him to make an excellent recovery in good time.

Achilles Tendon Tear Treatment in NYC

Discomfort is to be expected during the healing process, but sharp pains are not normal. As days progress after your injury, you should feel better, not worse. A podiatrist or sports medicine doctor can help see you through a faster recovery. At our offices in White Plains and Manhattan, we provide you with state-of-the-art foot and ankle injury treatment with tools like platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections, as well as laser technology and grafting. Contact us today!

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.