Kobe's Tendon Treatment Timeline
Not everyone can be Kobe Bryant. But everyone can treat their Achilles injury with the same dedication, and who knows, maybe even shatter Kobe's record in the process!
Give Your Achilles Tendon the Kobe Treatment
With a dramatic pop, Kobe was thrown into the lengthy process of healing a torn Achilles tendon. Your own Achilles tendon injury may not devestate Laker lovers across the world, but an injured tendon certainly causes unparralelled damage to your daily lifestyle. Medical professionals across the country are marveling at how quickly Kobe bounced back from his injury. A great deal of credit must be given to the new type of Achilles surgery that was performed by Kobe's surgeon, Dr. Neal El Attrache. However, a huge part of his expedited healing is due to his "Mamba mentality" and his stubborn will to beat the odds!
"That's the thing about this injury is that the surgical procedure was different, how we did it, was different. Because of that the recovery has been different, the timetable has been different, the normal timetable for recovering from an Achilles, we've shattered that. Three-and-a-half months, I can already walk just fine, I am lifting weight just fine. So we don't know what that timetable is going to be, this is new territory for us all."
– Kobe Bryant
Don't Be Average
Not everyone can start walking two months out of Achilles tendon surgery. According to Dr. Asheesh Bedi, the average treatment timeline is 6-9 months for the average patient (keyword here being average). Doctors' assume patients will bend a few Achilles treatment rules. The Achilles recovery timeline is inflated to account for patient mistakes. Follow all your doctor's instructions exactly and you automatically put your treatment ahead of the curve. If your doctor says, “elevate your Achilles” you better be saying, “how high.”
Don't Push It
This tip is from the mouth of the Mamba himself. Just 4 months after Kobe's surgery, he was already looking to kick up his conditioning routine in a safe and controlled manner, "there's no reason to rush [shooting], so I'd rather just wait and let the tendon strengthen and completely heal and go from there." Moral of the story: slow and steady wins the race.
Don't Expect a Miracle. . . Earn It
3-4 hours a day is the time Kobe puts in to his Achilles tendon recovery, using various methods and therapies. Not everyone has an extra 3 hours a day to devote to Achilles recovery treatments. Day by day you'll get closer to getting back in the game. To reduce the risk of re-injury, stick to the plan your doctor made for you. Nothing will be gained by jumping on that elliptical too early (and a lot of time could be lost).
The importance of blood flow cannot be underestimated when you are treating an Achilles tendon injury. During the initial tendon rebuilding process, it is incredibly important to begin high frequency and repetitive exercises. Exercise helps pump additional blood into the area surrounding the healing tendon. Exercise can be started a few weeks after surgery, under the supervision of a medical professional. Exercising the area around your Achilles tendon has a dual benefit of increasing the amount of oxygyn the Achilles tendon receives (good) and and helping to strengthen the calf muscle (very good).
According to Kobe's very own surgeon, Dr. Neal El Attrache:
"Early on, the tendon is malleable and stretchable, so you want to get [the patient] using the muscle and getting on their leg and weight bearing for all the other reasons, even the remote regions like the hip and the back and all the muscles in the lower leg. All that without stretching the tendon."
A great option for anyone looking to safely move around while healing an Achilles tendon is the iWalk-Free hands free crutch. The iWalk enables patients to use the muscles in their injured leg without stretching or straining the tendon. The iWalk also is the only option that allows you to maintain an almost normal lifestyle during your recovery. Hey, it might even give you a leg up on Kobe!
The road to recovery after an Achilles tendon injury is long and hard. No matter how well your recovery goes, it will test your mental as well as your physical limitations. Stay positive and focused, and rest easy know that you are doing everything in your power to heal your Achilles tendon. Even the Black Mamba has to wait for Mother Nature to work her tendon re-building magic!
Amick, Sam. "What Kobe's Probable Achilles Tear Means for His Future." USA Today. Gannett, 13 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.
Farmer, Sam. "Exclusive: Doctor Who Performed Kobe Bryant's Surgery Is Optimistic." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.
Sorenson, Shawn. "Kobe Bryant's Achilles Tendon Rupture: The Role of Increased Minutes." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 18 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.
This post is intended for informational purposes only. Before starting any rehabilitation plan, always consult a medical professional. As always, we would love to hear your comments, concerns, and options! Happy healing! – The iWalk-Free Team