Meet the Orthopedic Expert Who Saved Thomas Muller's World Cup

By That's Shanghai, May 10, 2023

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In a 20-year medical career in Germany, Dr. Qing Shou worked as team physician for German Bundesliga team Hannover 96, befriended the 'King of the Ankle' – surgeon of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and helped star striker Thomas Muller win the World Cup Golden Boot.

He developed 3D printed implants, established his own clinic specializing in ankle and knee injuries, and held many prestigious memberships and positions, including with the German Foot and Ankle Association and the Professional Association of German Surgeons.

He was a lecturer for the German Arthroscopy Society and, from 2017-2019, served as President of the Foot and Ankle Surgery Association under Gesellschaft fur FuB- und Sprunggelenkchirurgie e.V.

But now, Dr. Shou has made the decision to return to China and become the chief of the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Department at SinoUnited Health, embarking on a new chapter in his career and bringing his wealth of experience and international surgical concepts to the organization.

On what first attracted him to become a doctor...

"It was always in my mind that helping people is the best job in the world. Plus, as a kid, I’d like to tear things apart and fix them – that made my decision to be a doctor (and especially a surgeon) easier."

On turning that dream into a reality...

"I chose to become a doctor because of my interest in biology and a desire for meaningful work.

"Back in high school, I found I liked biology and, after considering my employment prospects and personal interests, it made perfect sense to study medicine.

"In 1995, I pursued my medical education at Shanghai Medical University (now Fudan University School of Medicine) and, after graduation, completed standardized training at Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital."

On 'starting again' in Germany...

"In 2001, I moved to Germany to further my education, but quickly realized that, in order to practice medicine there, I would have to start from the very beginning.

"Fortunately, I had a solid foundation from my education in China, and the Medical School of the University of Gottingen provided me with a special 'green channel' to a faster track.

"In 2005, I passed the German national medical licensing examination and began practicing medicine in Germany, being drawn to orthopedics."

Dr. Qing Shou at work

On orthopedic surgeons being known as 'carpenters' and 'bricklayers'...

"I actually like these nicknames. I have always enjoyed doing manual work in my free time, and find the hands-on experience fascinating.

"I saw bones in the hospital and wood at home; my hobby has a lot in common with my profession as an orthopedic surgeon.

"It is clear that I was born to do it, and this is the best career for me."

On what attracted him to ankles, knees and shoulders...

"I started to focus on the weight-bearing joints, as these are the areas where problems are most likely to occur, and where effective repair can have the greatest impact.

"That said, I did not neglect the study of other bones, and was committed to becoming a 'bone general practitioner.'"

On befriending the 'King of the Ankle,' surgeon to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo...

"I began actively participating in various academic seminars, and frequently communicated with experts in the field, such as Professor Niek van Djik, a top sports injury specialist known as the 'King of Ankle.'

"We talked frequently and exchanged knowledge with each other about surgery.

"Professor van Djik has a reputation in the industry for serving Real Madrid, and for being the surgeon of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo."

Dr. Qing Shou with Prof. Niek van Djik after completing surgery

On becoming a German Bundesliga football team doctor...

"I became German Bundesliga club Hannover 96’s team doctor... and they did pretty well the years I was with them.

"I undertook many protective procedures during training sessions, in order to prevent our football players from getting injured – I think it’s more important than treatment after the injuries."

On helping Germany star Thomas Muller win the World Cup Golden Boot...

"My technical expertise and meticulous ankle surgery earned me a good reputation, and players from other teams – recommended by fellow team doctors, agents, and other sources – began to seek my treatment.

"In 2010, on the eve of the World Cup in South Africa, striker Thomas Muller, then just 21 years old and only recently selected for the German national team, paid me a special visit.

"Muller had suffered numerous ankle injuries, and had free cartilage lodged in the joint, causing him great distress.

"After a careful diagnosis and treatment, I came to believe that the problem required major surgery to correct.

"However, it was so close to the World Cup that it could have ruled him out of the tournament –negatively impacting his career – so I advised him to wait until he was older and unable to walk, and then replace the joint with an artificial one, which would solve the problem once and for all.

"That World Cup, Muller won the Golden Boot award as top scorer of the tournament, and was named Best Young Player, launching his legendary career.

"We remained in contact long after."

Thomas Muller at the 2010 World Cup

On the difference between football and basketball...

"The most common injuries you see amongst elite athletes are knee, shoulder, ankle joints or muscles.

"I was also basketball team Brunswick Lions’ coach; basketball players injure the shoulder more often than football players."

On the attraction of working with athletes...

"Athletes often put their bodies through extreme movements in extreme conditions.

"In this case, every stage, from the surgical plan to the rehabilitation process, can be crucial, and the effect can be directly reflected in the patient's sports career. 

"It is a demanding test, but it is also excellent practice for the doctor."

On savoring his successful surgeries on TV...

"As an orthopedic doctor, I have operated on numerous professional athletes, and then get to see my patients up and running again... on TV.

"Not many doctors can see their results directly on TV, can they? It can be stressful, but it's also very rewarding.

"I can see my result immediately at the highest level."

On amateur athlete's injuries, and how to avoid them...

"Amateur athlete's injuries are in the same areas, but more severe, because they don’t have strong muscles protecting their joints.

"Precautions to take to avoid injury vary from sport to sport, but in general, they should warm up before activity and stretch enough after.

"And they should try to strength the muscle protecting their joints."

On the importance of being versatile...

"I can do pediatric orthopedics, for a child who is born with a deformity that needs to be corrected; at the same time, I have been a team doctor for nearly 10 years, and I am good at sports injuries.

"My specialties also include shoulder joint, knee joint etc., including joint replacement.

"I can confidently say that I can solve the orthopedic problems of people from a baby to a 99-year-old, as long as the patient chooses me."

On the doctor-patient relationship, and trust he shares with his patients...

"I have given my phone number to over a thousand patients over the years, but they understand what I do; they never bother me, and will only contact me when they really need me. 

"There are two factors at play here. Firstly my trust in them to give them my phone number without reservation to contact me only when they really need me. 

"Secondly, the trust they have in me. After my treatment, they recommend me to people around them.

"Trust and being trusted often go hand in hand."

DSC_7723.jpgDr. Qing Shou with a patient

On his innate sense of responsibility towards his patients...

"I feel a natural responsibility towards my patients. They are under my care, and it is my duty to look after them."

On returning to China and SinoUnited Health...

"I choose to join SinoUnited Health because I want to share my experience with my fellow countrymen.

"I aim to bring better and more comprehensive services to the customers of SinoUnited Health, while also contributing to the growth of the orthopedic team.

"In the future, SinoUnited Orthopedics Department will perform customized knee surgery, ligament repair, lower limb orthopedics, ankle joint surgeries, and other related operations. 

"We will provide surgical programs and follow-up rehabilitation that have been experienced by top international athletes.

"By expanding our service scope and promoting communication within the discipline, we can become one of the top orthopedic brands, not only in Shanghai, but in all of China!"

About SinoUnited Health


SinoUnited Health is a leading medical service provider based in Shanghai. Their team of medical specialists is selected from both China and abroad, and its members are renowned for their excellence and rich experience in their respective fields of medical expertise.

Their vision is to provide patient-oriented care by strictly adhering to medical practice guidelines, incorporating the latest technologies and respecting patient’s individual needs.

For enquiries, please call 400 186 2116. For more information visit or scan the QR code:


[All images courtesy of SinoUnited Health]

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