In late 2012, Steph Curry signed a 4-year $44 million dollar contract extension with the Golden State Warriors. At the time, I remember thinking that that was a lot of money and years to give to a player that had been sidelined multiple games with injuries. Leading up to that extension, Curry had missed large amounts of time with ankle injuries. Steph had already undergone surgery on that ankle to repair two ligaments. However, in his first season after this surgery, Steph suffered 5 ankle sprains and only played in 26 games. With the prospect of signing a new contract extension looming, Steph was set to undergo another surgery on that ankle, with the possibility of complete ankle reconstruction with cadaver tissue to reconstruct the ligaments. Interestingly, the actual procedure that Steph underwent and his eventual rehab process would change the course of NBA History. This was excellently told in a TrueHoop Article by Pablo Torre.
When Steph was under anesthesia and asleep, they were able to stress his previously surgically repaired ligaments and found the repair to be sound. They then moved on to both an Ankle joint arthroscopy and a Subtalar joint (the joint below the ankle joint) arthroscopy. This involves making small incisions and using small cameras to look inside a joint. Once inside, you can view any problems, and then using specialized instrumentation, you can help resolve any problems. In Curry’s case, when the camera was introduced to his ankle, they found thick scar tissue, like “crab meat”. There was also inflammation noted in the tissues inside the ankle. This was cleaned out. There was no further reconstruction that was necessary. This was followed by an incredible rehabilitation process, outlined in Torre’s article. 4 Championships and 2 MVPs later, and the rest is history.
What stood out to me from Steph Curry’s story was first they were able to help him turn his career around with simple arthroscopy. This procedure utilizes very small incisions but can give the surgeon a wealth of information. Second, what stood out to me is that they also performed a subtalar joint arthroscopy. So much pathology can happen in the ankle joint that often times the subtalar joint can be overlooked. However, the subtalar joint can be a significant source of pain.
If you feel like you have ankle pain from previous injuries, or stiffness in your ankle, it is possible that an arthroscopy could be beneficial to you. Your doctor may perform certain tests, such as ultrasound, diagnostic injections of joints, MRI, etc. to determine if you are a candidate for such a procedure. Arthroscopy is a powerful procedure that can help people return to what they enjoy doing. In Steph Curry’s case, it was able to help him get back to winning.