Carlton’s Cameron Giles Navicular Nightmare

Cameron Giles (Jumper 19)
Carlton Football Club
DOB 05/05/95
Second round of the 2013 National Draft, Cameron Giles played the 2014 season in the VFL before succumbing to a season-ending fracture to the navicular bone in his foot.

FN: Hi Cameron,
Thanks for having a chat to us today. I have been looking forward to hearing how you have been getting along since succumbing to your injury in 2014. I think the best way to do this is to start from the start.
In your own words are you able to tell us what exactly happened and if you were feeling any pain in the lead up to the diagnosis of the injury?

I got drafted as an 18 years old, came over from SA, I had no previous injuries or foot trouble. I played 6-7 games in the VFL and began to get some pain in my metatarsal, which was diagnosed as a hot spot and saw me sitting out for 3 weeks at which point we re-scanned and at that point they actually found a crack in my navicular. Because the hot spot was so large in the first scan they actually could not see the navicular issue in the first instance. When they found the crack in the navicular, they CT scanned me and found I had fractures in both naviculars which were a bit of a shock.
The decided not to operate on the left foot, but they did on the right which involved; 4 screws, a metal plate, a bone graft and a bit of an ankle clean out as well. At this point I hadn’t had any trouble with my left foot. Then 6 months after the surgery I underwent a re-scan on my right foot at which point they found a bone cyst which required another surgery and sequential bone graph.
I’ve only just started full body weight running, 12 months on from my initial surgery. The running has primarily been completed on grass, so about four sessions on grass and previous to that I have been running on the Alt-G machine which allows you to run at different bone weights. So I started at 40% body weight and worked my way up to 90% before getting back onto the park for some straight line running.

FN: From a medical perspective who were the practitioners that took care of your case from start to finish?

CG: So the footy club has been really good in helping me with my recovery. I had 3 physios and I guess Mark Homewood has been the main physio looking after my recovery stuff. The surgeon was Otis Wang, he operates mostly out of the northern Melbourne and the club doctors work pretty close with that stuff as well. Otis is pretty confident that the injury is fixed now and has been consulting about the injury from the beginning.

FN: Have you had a podiatrist look after you at all?

CG: yeah, so there’s a podiatrist at the club, I’m currently wearing some heel lifts with an off the shelf orthotics which has been heat moulded to my feet. His name is Dan, he just works with a couple of the boys and looks at how you walk and how you run – he’s pretty happy with how I’m going, I just catch up with him once a week.

FN: A navicular fracture is a pretty scary injury to deal with for both player and practitioner given how dangerous it can be with reduced blood supply and response to treatment, how have you managed to cope both physically and mentally with this injury?

CG: In the beginning they were a bit skeptical on whether they should do the surgery or not, but once they found the crack in the navicular they decided it would be best to just get it done. They said that my age worked in my favour and had a bit of time to recover and still have the chance to play AFL. Obviously, navicular is a bit of a scary word, and I guess I was probably a little ignorant to the seriousness of the injury. But I have had a bit of support from Jack Trengrove, him and myself are pretty much on exactly the same timeline for recovery. I am probably a little ahead of schedule, but I catch up with the physios once a day to try and increase my range in the right foot. At the moment it is probably only 50% of what I can achieve on my left. At the moment the most annoying thing is pulling up really sore after a run and having to have three days off.

FN: Since the injury have you spent much time back in South Australia or have you tried to spend as much time around the club as possible?

CG: It’s been pretty tough; I was pretty a bit immature in not knowing what was going to happen after the navicular surgery. I have tried to keep myself pretty busy, outside of footy I’m studying psychology at Melbourne Uni, I had Matty Kreuzer out with me at the same time which gave me someone to catch up with, and just tried to have fun around the club as much as possible.
About 2 weeks after the surgery I went back to SA to see the family, but I have tried to stay around the club as much as possible to stay on top of my rehab.

FN: What has your exercise regime looked like over the time since completing your injury?

CG: It’s been a pretty good chance for me to improve my upper body, I have been completing about 3-4 sessions a week in the weights room, doing a bit of boxing and plenty of cycling to get some condition back in the legs. Every now and then I have been doing some cross fit type stuff for the upper body and that’s done at another gym – so once again a change in environment helps with the motivation side of things. I have done a lot of swimming also!

FN: It’s coming up to July which was meant to be your time to test out a return to full senior training, do you believe you’re on track to see yourself removed from the injury list or even step into the backline for senior squad?

CG: I’m still on track, in fact as I said earlier I am probably a little ahead of schedule. If I get back to full training in July, I will probably start playing in July as well. In a few weeks Ill start joining in and doing a couple of drills for a month or so but my main goal is to return to full running. Its a bit of a waiting game at the moment but it seems to be all on track.
The AFL is probably a little too far away at the moment, I’m coming off a very limited pre-season in my first year and zero pre-season this year, so just looking to play some good footy in the VFL and see how I go in that regard. If I do get back into the team we will probably looking at the last 7-8 games, but it’s all about just playing some consistent footy for me right now.

FN: What kind of shoes are you wearing most of the time? Do you have a range of them or do you stick to the most comfy pair? What football boots do you wear and is it associated with a sponsorship deal?

CG: So Carlton is sponsored by Nike, so I have been wearing Nike for the last 2 years just with the orthotics and the heel lifts inserted into them. I have always worn ASICS before but it doesn’t really matter what shoes you wear as long as you have the support from the orthotics.
I might wear a different range of boots when I get back to training, so wearing the more supportive ASICS boots because they are more like a runner and work back into wearing Nike.

FN: Well thanks for talking to us mate and all the best for the future.

Cameron’s Progress can be followed at:

Jackson McCosker
Director /Chief Editor

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