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Why a future HOF baseball player foot surgery will cost him in 2015

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sports injuryWhich hall of fame MLB player has a navicular stress fracture that could decrease his performance on the diamond this year?

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers baseball star, recently had 2 procedures performed on his foot/ankle, ankle spur and navicular stress fracture ORIF (Open reduction with internal fixation- with screw).

The spur on the ankle could be anything.  Most likely my guess is the spur was on the front edge of the ankle and he should a simple enough procedure that he would be okay after that procedure.  However, the part that concerns me is the navicular bone stress fracture.  This injury mainly occurs in athletes, especially heavier ones but is commonly missed.  The navicular bone is a main weight bearing bone on the inner part of the arch that connects the 3 small forefoot bones (cunieforms) with the ankle bone (talus).  The navicular bone is the bone that attaches to a major muscle called the posterior tibialis muscle (which is 2nd in line to the achilles tendon to bend your foot down and push forward to run, jump and twist) and the spring ligament (which is the main ligament to hold your arch up).

Basically, surgery to put a screw in the navicular bone for a stress fracture is about 76% effective based on studies of surgical repair of navicular stress fractures.  Also, on average he would’ve been better off with a cast, bone stimulator and not walking on it for 6 weeks followed by 2 weeks with a walking boot then rehab.  This would’ve allowed him back to full activities without surgery on average in 3-4 months and is proven to be 96% effectiveness.  However, I know that in the professional sports world that significant pressure is put on the surgeons to perform the surgery.  What bothers me is that the size of the athlete and the possibility that the screw put into the navicular bone may end up bothering him over the course of the year.  Screws are not always permanent and may loosen and irritate him as he runs and jumps, putting high stress on the midfoot bone.

For fantasy baseball owners, I would not draft M. Cabrera in 2015 (or at least not a 1-2 round pick).  Maybe 2016 after he has a full year to recover will he be back to 1st round status, but then again he’ll be 33 years old and on the decline.

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Dr. Dennis Timko, is a podiatrist in the St. Louis, Eureka, MO. area. Dr. Timko specializes in diabetic foot care, foot surgery, AFOs, and orthotics. Dr. Timko is the solo owner of Arch City Foot & Ankle, which has been in business since 2003.

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