By Walter Broeckx

Thomas Vermaelen has just told on the Belgium TV that he will have an operation  next Tuesday in Sweden.  He told this when he was interviewed when he was presented as someone who is helping the Damiaan-action in Belgium. The Damiaan-action in Belgium is a charity organization which was founded in the memory of Pater Damiaan who has spend his live in fighting leprosy.  Father Damiaan has been canonized by the Pope a few years ago and still is a highly regarded person in Hawaii where he worked and died.  But enough of this as this doesn’t relate to Arsenal but just shows that Vermaelen also is a person who does charity and support one of the most popular charity organisations in Flanders.  And if you are interested in this Father Damiaan just google it. In Flanders we are proud of him.

Anyway back to Vermaelen. He told today that specialist finaly have found what is wrong with him. And it is not his Achilles but a little tendon next to his Achilles. This is a tendon which not all people have in fact. But Thomas has it. And this tendon also has no function.  But the people who have this tendon can have a rupture of their Achilles and still could be walking around as this normally useless tendon can take over when the Achilles is ripped off.   But in Thomas Vermaelen his case it is this useless tendon that has an inflammation and therefore  give irritation. So while everyone was looking for the Achilles it was that normally absent tendon that caused the problem. If it is removed the inflammation will be gone and the irritation of the Achilles will stop.

In Belgium they hope that Vermaelen could play for the Belgium national team in the international games in March. So this could mean that Vermaelen should be back at the start of March if all goes well.  The operation should be a relative simple one and should have a rather short recovery time.

Vermaelen himself doesn’t want to give any predictions on a return date after having so many setbacks he will just wait and see how things develop.

 My future daughter in law who is studying medicine explained me the medical things a  bit as I had never heard of such a tendon before. It is rather unusual. Let us just hope that the operation goes well and that Thomas will be back in March to help us in our search for silverware.


  1. Walter,
    Thanks for the heads up.
    I was just thinking: Having been genetically engineered with a “spare”tendon to play football, why get rid of it just like that? I think the surgery should just wrap it in cotton wool until such a time (hopefully never) that it may be needed.

  2. Your future daughter in law knew about such tendon? Is she aviable to join the Arsenal medical team?

  3. At least we now know what is wrong which can only be good news. I know nothing about such things – but that seems to have taken quite a while to diagnose?
    Do you think Wenger will buy another defender on this news – we have some vital games coming up!

  4. I must say that it seems amazing to me that so called world expert doctors, when taking a scan of the Achilles, can’t pick up inflammation nearby. Because nearby it must be if the spare tendon can replace the Achilles if necessary……

    If you’re that good, you’d notice the spare tendon in the first scan and note it for future reference that he had one. You’d say: the Achilles is normal, so something else must be wrong nearby. And you’d look at the spare tendon. And notice the inflammation.

    How many months is this?

    And how much are Arsenal paying their doctors??

    Because the best doctors in the world would know about this condition, unless we are to be told that it is a world first. Which if your medical student daughter-in-law has heard about, I would frankly doubt……

    So either the best doctors in the world weren’t consulted first up or their status as the best doctors might be reasonably challenged.

    No doubt it’ll all come out in the wash. But I suspect that the world’s best doctors were only consulted recently……..

    Which seems a bit cheapskate for £100m annual outlay by season ticket holders……..not to mention significant frustration by fellow players wanting to win the League with Vermaelen as a lynch pin…….


  5. Hardly breaking or exclusive…. since (A) it broke when Vermaelen told Belgium TV and (B) it was Belgium TV’s exclusive.

    Anyway, I hope Vermaelen recovers fully and quickly. It will be good to see him back in a red and white shirt.

  6. Most of the time they see the extra tendon when there is a rupture of the achilles and when the patient is still able to walk and keep his foot on the ground. Which you cannot if the achilles is gone. And then they see it. That is what she told me this afternoon.

    But I will ask her more information about it. But she told me that it is a very excpetional tendon and that it is rarely found on normal scans. It is more found by accident and accidents with the achilles itself.

    But she is specialising in death mans medicine as I call it (forensic medicine) so it is not really her specialisation. But she knew about this when the news came out.

    But she told it is very seldom and so it could be that a lot of doctors didn’t think of it or didn’t know it.

    But anyway, it took way too long before they found it. Let us just hope he comes back better than before

  7. Amazing. I toddle off for a sunday lunch with friends and come back and find all the news. Brilliant Walter, thank you for running the site while I’m off having a good time in Herefordshire.

    And, as I heard in the car on the way back, everyone drew, which is not too bad for us in the league.

  8. Morris, I agree. But I didn’t say world exclusive. 😉
    But in the Arsenal blog world we were the first to bring the news.
    Okay, it helps a bit to be from the same country.

  9. This all sounds a bit dodgy… is there a name for this condition? A quick ‘google’ reveals not much.

  10. She named the tendon but I cant even pronounce it to be honest. Let alone write it down.

  11. I’ve run it by Mrs. DogFace [she’s a qualified physio] and she’s not heard of it but reckons that if such a thing exists it could rub against the main tendon and cause inflammation – a more intensive training programme such that Arsenal have could well have aggravated it.

  12. That is about what she told me this afternoon. But I must say I’m totally and hopeless about such things.

  13. Breaking news: Vermaelen to have surgery on TuesdaySource: Arseblog – It’s f…in’ excellent … an Arsenal blog | January 16th, 2011 | 1:17 pm

    A bit slow…no?

  14. I am sure it will be a relief to Thomas to finaly know what is going on and that there is an end in sight to his injury.
    It will be good to see him back in an Arsenal jersyey this season.

  15. Steve, I didn’t check all the Arsenal blogs to be honest. Are they not on goonernews? As this was what I checked and nothing was reported on goonernews

  16. Morris and Steve, will you ever wind your necks in? the news item itself is of far more consequence than the headline. Stop your nit-picking and celebrate the news that we finally know what is wrong with the lad and that his recovery is now more certain than it was.

    Arsene has already said that he might have to dip into the transfer market after squillacci’s hamstring problem, so it is reasonable to assume that that might still be the case.

    let’s hope that the surgery goes well and he comes back ASAP because whoever is available in the jan tansfer window, they won’t be a patch on a fully fit Vermaelen.

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