The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

World Cup News: Neymar’s Ankle Injury Doesn’t Seem to Be Affecting Brazil’s Chances

Posted by on Friday, June 22nd, 2018


If the name Neymar feels fresh in your memory, it is! Just this past April, we talked about how “the most expensive [soccer] player of all-time,” Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., underwent successful fifth metatarsal repair surgery on his right foot. After his March surgery, he was given a three-month timetable for returning to drills. Fresh off the bench, Neymar “complained of ankle pains due to the number of fouls suffered against Switzerland,” according to the Brazilian Football Association.

What Happened to Neymar’s Ankle?

The opening game of the World Cup may have resulted in a 1-1 draw for Brazil and Switzerland, but the Swiss were touting it as a victory of sorts with 10 fouls against leading star Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. ESPN notes this is the most fouls in a World Cup game since Alan Shearer 20 years ago. Unfairly, “cameras immortalized the Paris Saint-Germain star limping off early, grimacing and wincing,” they added.

The trouble persisted early this week. Neymar missed practice on Monday after experiencing some soreness while jogging. He left 15 minutes into drills on Tuesday, holding his right ankle. The Express reported that he grimaced any time he kicked or blocked the ball with his right foot. He later downplayed the injury as a bit of soreness. Brazilian Football Confederation Spokesman Vinicius Rodrigues said Neymar would spend the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday morning in physio and could be expected at practice Wednesday afternoon. In today’s match against Costa Rica, Brazil scored two goals in added time to win 2-0 on the boots of Philippe Coutinho and Neymar. Coutinho got the winner in the 91st minute and Neymar got his goal later in stoppage time.

Returning to Soccer From Foot Fracture

Research indicates that most soccer players (83%) recovering from fracture will return to their full playing ability or higher within two years. On average, it took players 15 weeks to recover from a broken bone. However, fractures in the leg, ankle, or foot took considerably longer—an average of 26 weeks to return to activity, let alone the same level of gameplay.

Lower limb fractures saw higher rates of recovery complications like persistent pain and the need for subsequent surgeries. Two years down the road, 39% of players reported ongoing fracture problems, but only one-fifth said they suffered impaired playing ability. Players with shin fractures were least likely to return to the sport.

The findings supported conservative fracture management, with surgically treated patients taking 34 weeks to return to competition, versus 11 weeks for non-surgical patients. Those treated surgically also reported a higher likelihood of ongoing symptoms and impaired playing ability.

What Does Neymar’s Ankle Injury Mean for Brazil in the World Cup?

As ESPN suggests, Neymar doesn’t need to be Superman to carry Brazil to the 2018 World Cup. Even with a draw against Switzerland, Brazil is considered the favorite with 4:1 odds. With players like Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Douglas Costa, and Willian on the team, Neymar can afford to play a little more conservatively and still have an impact.

NYC Soccer Injury Treatment

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine serves the NYC soccer community with expert-level care. From sore ankles to foot fractures, we’ve got the latest rehabilitation program and technology to get you back to the game. Our center’s founder, Dr. Josef J. Geldwert DPM, has served as the podiatric consultant for Women’s World Cup Soccer, the consulting podiatrist for the NY Power women’s soccer team, and consulting podiatrist for NY Magic women’s soccer. We also serve elementary-, high school-, and college-level athletes. Ankle sprains, metatarsal fractures, bone bruises, tendonitis, stress fractures, posterior tibial tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis include a few of our many soccer injury specialties. Contact us for assistance with routine training, preventative maintenance, acute trauma, or chronic injuries pertaining to the feet, legs, and ankles.


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.