At a Glance –
Player: Von Miller
Team: Denver Broncos
Injury: Subluxed Peroneal Tendon(s)
Projected Recovery Time: 12-24 weeks
Denver fans have high hopes for this season, and rightfully so, with the signing of Drew Lock as their QB, as well as the promise of a formidable defense due to many standout players on the opposite side of the ball. This impressive defense, however, is unfortunately a man down before the team’s season even started. Von Miller, a veteran linebacker on the Broncos, suffered from a subluxation, or dislocation, of the peroneal tendons at practice on Sept. 8, undergoing surgery just 3 days later. This type of injury is rather unusual and results from damage and/or tearing of the connective tissue that surrounds the two muscles located on the outside of the ankle. These muscles are responsible for eversion, which allows the foot to turn towards the outside; and without the stabilization offered by the connective tissue, these tendons can roll out of the groove that contains them, causing malfunction and further damage.
You can see in the pictures below how disruption of that connective tissue can lead to muscle displacement. Surgery is warranted when the injury is severe enough, and thus Von Miller was placed on the IR soon after an MRI confirmed the diagnosis.
Following the surgery that repairs and tightens the connective tissue, a person can expect to have a non-weightbearing restriction for 4-6 weeks. There is another period of immobilization using a cast that then progresses to the rehab phase, which is a major part of a person’s recovery. It is during this phase that the person will work on gaining motion, strength, and stability with a physical therapist. For Von Miller, an emphasis will be placed on the later phases of rehab to ensure he is ready to return to play while minimizing risk of re-injury.
PT is key for avoiding re-injury for people affected by peroneal subluxation as there tends to be significant balance and strength impairments post-op!! Football is a tough sport to return to due to the high degree of contact, and Von Miller will undoubtedly focus on game-like exercises during the later phases of his rehab so he is prepared. For typical people, recovery takes at least 18 weeks, but this timeline is likely shorter for Von Miller (he is an elite athlete, after all) so he may not miss the entire season. The best-case scenario is that he makes an appearance in December, but again, it depends on Von Miller’s progress with PT. Hopefully, the Bronco’s D can hold it together so he can be back just in time for the playoffs.