The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

MLB Injuries Update: Texas Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo Goes for Ankle Surgery

Posted by on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014


We heard about Texas Ranger Left Fielder Shin-Soo Choo’s ankle sprain back in April — what he hoped was just the result of “hitting the bag too hard.” He made his return a month later, but admitted that he “made a bad decision” and was “more aggressive” in his efforts to “push through” than he should have been. Most recently, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair and remove “torn ankle cartilage” on September 17th. He hopes to put the issue to rest once and for all before the next season begins. It is estimated he’ll be down for six to eight weeks before resuming any training. NY sports medicine doctors from The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine speculate on the type of surgery Shin-Soo Choo may have undergone and what this means for his career.

Chin-soo Choo ankle
The Texas Rangers missed Shin-Soo Choo last season, but his ankle surgery may better prepare him for a healthy start in 2015.
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Was It an Ankle Osteochondral Injury?

Details are limited on the type of injury sustained, but General manager Jon Daniels said surgery was not considered in April when the injury initially occurred. “I would have preferred it be done earlier than now if we were going to do it,” he told a local reporter. So the question becomes, “Why wait?” With something like an osteochondral injury, surgery is not always the first recourse.

In addition to a small percentage of wear-and-tear overuse injuries, it is estimated that about 85% of osteochondral legions result from acute trauma. A sudden twist, if given enough force, is enough to bruise or tear — or even, in some cases, to shear off — the cushy cartilage protecting the bones. We call these “osteochondral injuries,” and they can be mild or severe depending on the depth of the damage.


How Are Osteochondral Injuries Diagnosed & Treated?

To diagnose osteochondral injuries, we rely on x-rays. Bone deterioration can be viewed from a chronic osteochondral injury that has not fully healed. An MRI can reveal cartilage damage before the bone is affected, but it’s not always ordered or available at a general practitioner’s office. Even if cartilage bruising or tearing is seen early, it is common for surgeons to suggest holding off for six months to see if the injury repairs itself. In the meantime, a walking boot and physical therapy may be recommended to limit weight-bearing and ensure full mobility during recovery.

Osteochondral ankle surgery is, usually, done through a small incision with tiny tools and cameras in a minimally-invasive fashion. The treatment depends upon the exact extent of the injury, but it may involve:

– Debridement (the removal of injured cartilage & bone)

– Fixation of the injured cartilage and bone fragments

– Drilling of the lesion to smooth out rough spots and stimulate new cartilage growth

– Transfer / grafting of bone and cartilage implants

What’s Next for Shin-Soo Choo?

If the injury is what NY sports medicine doctors think it is, Shin-Soo Choo will spend the next few months in recovery, but he can expect a successful resolution to his problem. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, cartilage repairs itself in less than half of all cases, but operations yield “excellent results” in more than 70% of all patients. Over the long run, he will be at a higher risk for ankle arthritis, but the complication rate for this type of surgery is low.


Ankle Surgery in NYC

If you or a loved one have suffered an ankle sprain that hasn’t quite healed right, do not hesitate to contact the expert surgeons at The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine. We have a conveniently located office in Manhattan, on East 88th near Lexington, as well an office in White Plains on Mitchell Place, near Mamaroneck Ave. You can book a new appointment online.


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.