The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NHL News: Ryan Suter’s Ankle Fracture Knocks Minnesota Wild Out of the Playoffs

Posted by on Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

It’s been over a month since NHL’s Ryan Suter finished his season with a fractured right ankle. Suter was averaging four more minutes of game time than any other Wild player at the time and led the team in shorthanded and power play ice time. Over the season, he amassed 51 points in 78 games, including 45 assists. Not too shabby. That put him just behind Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund, and Eric Staal in the team standings. He proved to be one of the Wild’s hardier players, ending his 242 consecutive game streak.

Without their top defenseman and leading assistant, they were easily knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Winnipeg Jets, who took it to the next level after dominating the series 4-1. There were other factors, of course: some questionable calls (and lack thereof), not to mention the loss of Zach Parise mid-series and Jared Spurgeon’s less-than-100% performance following a hamstring injury.

Whether you’re a Wild fan or a fellow ankle surgery candidate, you may find yourself wondering: What happens during ankle surgery, and what’s the recovery process? The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine has foot and ankle surgeons on staff in New York City who specialize in this type of injury.

What Happened to Ryan Suter’s Ankle?

It didn’t look like a tremendous force injury when Ryan Suter kicked the dasher boards off a hit from Remi Elie of the Dallas Stars. Sometimes all it takes is one errant kick that cracks the fibula. Suter was still standing after the incident occurred, but was favoring his left leg and needed a hand ambulating off the ice. The MRI the following Monday morning confirmed their worst suspicions—and then some. Suter not only fractured the fibula leg bone, but also the talus bone in the ankle. It’s the sort of injury we see in car accidents or falls from a height—not in sports. “If I was a soccer player, a baseball player, a basketball player, this could basically be the end—a career-ending injury,” he told The Athletic in a phone interview.

Ankle Fracture: Surgery & Recovery

The talus is the bone in the back of the foot that connects to the tibia and fibula leg bones to form the ankle joint. Without these bones intact, the foot cannot move upward or downward. Fibula and talus surgery involves re-positioning any fragments and securing them with metal plates and screws for stabilization. Early complications like wound infection are most common among smokers, diabetics, and those with a circulatory disease. Later complications include stiffness and limited motion. In rare instances, blood supply issues can lead to a bone death condition called avascular necrosis, which yields deformity and arthritis that may require additional surgeries. The most important factors in recovery after surgery are that you ice and elevate to keep swelling under control, perform stretching exercises after a few weeks to maintain strength and mobility, and avoid putting pressure on the healing bones.

Ryan Suter’s Ankle Injury Status

The 33-year-old underwent surgery on April 5th. From there, ankle surgeons said he has four months of non-weight-bearing. The average person takes two to three months off work for a sedentary job or six to 12 months for a job requiring physical activity. Suter’s rehab work is projected to begin sometime in August. Several more months of swelling can be expected, along with pain. After spending considerable time working off the ice, Suter will progress to skating and drills, eventually returning to practice and gameplay. The 2018-2019 season begins in October. It’s doubtful Suter will recover in time for the season opener.

Get Help For Foot, Leg, & Ankle Injuries in NYC

If you or a loved one need help with a lower leg or ankle injury like Ryan Suter recently faced, contact board-certified foot and ankle surgeons at the Manhattan or White Plains office. We are fully equipped to take you from acute care and initial diagnosis through surgery and rehabilitation all under one roof.

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.