The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Premier League Update: Arsenal’s Debuchy Out 3 Months After Ankle Surgery

Posted by on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

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Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy will be out for three months after undergoing ankle surgery for a torn left ligament, according to a news report from The Independent. London’s star player reportedly suffered “ligament damage” in a 2-2 draw against Manchester City. The Daily Mail reported that the player went down unopposed after his cleats became stuck in the turf.

Mathieu Debuchy came to his decision after meeting with a specialist. Initially, it was hoped that he may be out just six weeks, but the club was waiting on a more definitive diagnosis from the medical team caring for Debuchy. Finally, Manager Arsene Wenger told reporters, “A reasonable delay is three months. All went well, but it can be a week or two earlier or a week or two later, but it will be around three months.” With Nacho Monreal out for the next four matches, Arsenal has just four solid defenders in Kiernan Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, and Calum Chambers.

The foot and ankle surgeons at The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine in NY discuss ankle anatomy, speculate on what happened, and detail why surgery may be Debuchy’s best option.

ankle surgery
Debuchy suffered an ankle injury that resulted in surgery. Image source: Ryu Voelkel via wikimedia.org

What Are the Ligaments in the Ankle?

The primary ligaments of the ankle include the:

– Deltoid 

Calcaneonavicular

– Syndesmosis

– Anterior talofibular

– Posterior talofibular

– Calcaneal fibular

– Lateral talocalcaneal

We have not read, specifically, which ligaments may have been torn, but in our NY practice, we most commonly see soccer players with anterior talofibular or calcaneal fibular ligament tears or both. Rarely, we see injury to the posterior talofibular ligament or all three ligaments in a very serious strain. Injured ankle ligaments often become lax and suffer a compromised ability to cushion the joint. That is why ankle ligaments are frequently re-injured — and also why many athletes opt to have them repaired surgically, rather than try for more conservative methods.

Why Might a Pro Soccer Player Choose Ankle Surgery?

The vast majority of ankle ligament injuries are not treated surgically as the ligaments of the ankle typically heal on their own. In general, patients are advised to rest following injury and ice every 20 minutes every two or three hours, compress with an ACE wrap, and elevate the leg and ankle above the nose. Some patients can bear weight while others must wear a special boot. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles to support the ankle even when the ligaments have weakened.

We may recommend surgery in cases where:

– The ankle is unstable and does not respond to six months of nonsurgical treatment

– The ankle has widened as a result of the sprain

–  The ligament becomes entrapped in the joint

– Multiple ligaments have been severely damaged

Studies show that young, active patients with both anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligament tears are “best treated surgically.” One study found a success rate close to 90%. The average patient stayed in the hospital just over a week. Less than a third of patients suffered some complication — most commonly necrosis of the skin around the wound’s edge or diminished feeling between the fourth and fifth toes.

Looking for the Best NYC Ankle Surgeon?

The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine offers patients certified and experienced ankle surgeons in NYC. When conservative treatment fails, we bring you the most advanced techniques to minimize scarring and speed up recovery time. With offices in Manhattan and Westchester, we are equipped to diagnose the extent of your ankle injury. Our goal is to minimize your pain immediately and get you into active recovery as soon as possible. Our compassionate team of physical therapists are dedicated to your successful recovery. We work with child athletes, avid marathon runners, and professional athletes alike.

Book a consultation 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.