Stay in the Game: Soccer Player Gets Back on the Field With the Help of Arthrex Innovation
Soccer has been Meagan Brown’s sport since she was seven years old. When it came time for college, the outside midfielder chose Palm Beach Atlantic University.
“I never had an issue until my freshman year. We were running 300-yard sprints and I turned on the line and my ankle gave out,” she said. “It was sprained.”
Meagan rested, did some physical therapy, and was back out on the field playing again in no time. But during the 2021 fall soccer season, she went for the ball, collided with another player and sprained her ankle again.
“I had never felt such pain,” she said.
Meagan again tried conservative options to treat the sprain but didn’t have the success she had the first time.
“I would play through the pain, tape it, but it got to the point toward the end of the fall season that I was sitting out more and more,” she said.
Seeing her daughter’s pain and instability, Meagan’s mother, Lisa, did some research and, using the Find a Doctor feature on AnkleSprain.com, found Christopher W. Hodgkins, MD* (Miami, Florida).
Dr. Hodgkins performed an MRI and saw previously torn ligaments and instability in her syndesmosis, which led him to suggest surgery in spring 2022.
“I was apprehensive because surgery is major, but Dr. Hodgkins was confident that the surgery was going to help me come back from this injury and that gave me confidence,” Meagan said.
Using the NanoScope™ system, which is a small, chip-on-tip scope, Dr. Hodgkins looked at Meagan’s ankle to see if the MRI missed any issues. He saw inflammation, cleaned up some of the tissue and then repaired the syndesmosis with the Syndesmosis TightRope® XP implant. Finally, Dr. Hodgkins used the InternalBrace™ technique to stabilize the ligaments in Meagan’s ankle.
“The InternalBrace technique completely changed the way we manage an unstable ankle. It acts like a seatbelt, helping to stabilize the repair during the healing process. It allows people to get up and begin moving quickly, to tolerate weightbearing activities more quickly,” he said.
Following the procedure, Meagan was placed in a soft cast and used crutches for six weeks, followed by a hard boot.
“Before this technology, you would have to keep the patient still. They would get stiff, lose power, lose strength. I was an athlete myself—I played soccer and rugby and sprained my ankle many, many times. I struggled with ankle instability, but I didn’t want the downtime and this treatment was not available,” Dr. Hodgkins said.
“I spent so much time with injuries, it’s really why I became an orthopedic surgeon in the first place, but I wanted to do it better. Arthrex allows me to do it better, and these products really do help me to treat my patients better.”
After eight weeks of physical therapy, slowly starting to run, and getting her ankle back in full range of motion, Meagan was finally able to start training with a soccer ball again.
“That was the most exciting part of my summer,” she said.
Meagan said her ankle feels great today and she is back to playing at full strength.
“I used to be worried about every step I took. I would go into every practice and game worried,” she said. “I never thought I would get to a point where my ankle felt stable. I have been able to go into my last year feeling 100 percent.”
The InternalBrace surgical technique is intended only to augment the primary repair/reconstruction by expanding the area of tissue approximation during the healing period and is not intended as a replacement for the native ligament. The InternalBrace technique is for use during soft tissue-to-bone fixation procedures and is not cleared for bone-to-bone fixation.
This patient was skeletally mature at the time of surgery. The InternalBrace technique and Syndesmosis TightRope XP implant may not be suitable for patients with insufficient or immature bone. The physician should carefully assess bone quality before performing orthopedic surgery on patients who are skeletally immature. The use of this medical device and the placement of hardware or implants must not bridge, disturb or disrupt the growth plate.
This is not medical advice and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by a surgeon or other qualified medical professional on the use of these products. You should talk with your physician or health care provider for more information about your health condition and whether Arthrex products might be appropriate for you. The surgeon who performs any surgical procedure is responsible for determining and using the appropriate techniques for surgical procedures on each individual patient. Arthrex recommends that surgeons be trained on the use of any particular product before using it in surgery. A surgeon must always rely on their own professional medical judgment when deciding whether to use a particular product when treating a particular patient. A surgeon must always refer to the package insert, product label, and/or directions for use before using any Arthrex product. Postoperative management is patient-specific and dependent on the treating professional’s assessment. Individual results will vary and not all patients will experience the same postoperative activity level or outcomes. Products may not be available in all markets because product availability is subject to the regulatory approvals and medical practices in individual markets. Please contact Arthrex if you have questions about the availability of products in your area.
This real patient was compensated for the time she took to share her personal experience with her ankle sprain procedure.
*Physician is a paid consultant of Arthrex, Inc.