NHL Stamkos Highlights Common Orthopedic Injury
Minimally Invasive Surgical Technique Speeds Healing Process
NHL fans in Phoenix and throughout the hockey world are probably amazed by reports that superstar Steven Stamkos is skating with his Tampa Bay Lightening teammates just two months after he suffered a broken tibia. Breaks, also known as fractures, of the tibia (shin bone) are common orthopedic injuries. Sometimes they happen from a direct blow like Stamkos’ injury . In his case he crashed into the goal post. Other times they occur from twisting. This pattern would be common in sports like skiing. If you are a skier see our earlier blog about Winter Sports Fun to learn how to avoid this common injury yourself.
Stamkos’ recovery highlights the excellent outcome that can often be achieved with this orthopedic injury. His doctors inserted a titanium rod into his tibia. This procedure is minimally invasive and done using several small incisions and x-ray guidance. The x-ray guidance allows the surgeon to safely and accurately realign and stabilize the fracture. This is done without ever directly seeing the fracture through an incision. In fact, by not opening or looking at the fracture site, healing is actually sped up.
Our practice uses this same minimally invasive technique to treat our patients. In fact a young athlete in our practice suffered this same orthopedic injury just 2 weeks before Steven Stamkos. His injury occurred playing baseball and now just over 2 months later he is playing soccer. These x-ray images show how the titanium rod is contained within the bone.
The first x-ray done just 2 weeks after injury shows the fracture clearly visible.
The second just 6 weeks later shows the fracture to be nearly filled in with new bone.
No cast was ever needed. Walking on the leg started as soon as pain allowed and within a week of injury. By 8 weeks after injury he was able to resume running and training for return to athletics.
This technique is most useful for fractures of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia. The rate of post-operative recovery can vary depending upon patient and fracture characteristics. Be confident that if you are so unfortunate to sustain a significant orthopedic injury, the surgical techniques exist to help you regain function and get back in the game just like Steven Stamkos. Contact us today to request an appointment for your joint pain or fracture.