Kobe Bryant: How To Recover
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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is growing increasingly optimistic that he will return to the court from his ruptured Achilles tendon surgery sooner rather than later.
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In an NBA.com report, Bryant said that he has “shattered” the average recovery time from Achilles surgery and described his procedure as “different.” As a result of the procedure, Bryant said, he has been able to progress to the point of working out and walking just over three months after having surgery to repair a tear of his Achilles tendon he suffered on April 12.
Kobe’s path back to the hardwood has been a transparent one, as the social-media-conscious Mamba has allowed his legion of fans glimpses into the hard work it takes to recover from an injury in the NBA at 34 years of age.
The normal three steps to recovering from an injury like Kobe’s is:
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1. Stop and Stretch
The single most important aspect of treating this injury is early intervention and treatment. Rest is paramount for this injury to improve. As is the case in the beginning of most injuries, it will warm up initially at the start of a run and the run can be completed pain free. My rule of thumb is that if there is swelling, burning and/or pain, you should take some time off from running.
2. Strength Train
When the injury starts to enter the chronic stage of longer than two to three weeks, strengthening exercises need to be added as part of the treatment plan. Start with toe raises of both feet, build up to 50 using pain and fatigue as your guide. The next level is to perform single leg toe raises, again building up to 50 on each leg. The final phase is to perform these exercises off a step; this is known as an eccentric exercise as the muscle is lengthening and firing at the same time.
3. See Your Doctor
When you reach the chronic stage it is time to see your sports medicine professional. At this point if you have tried many of the above suggestions then an MRI may be recommended to inspect the tendon for cysts or a chronic tear. If you are a moderate to severe overpronator then a custom orthotic device may help correct the causative factors. Working with a sports physical therapist has been critical to the successful treatment of my patients with this injury.
While we’ve seen stills of Bryant shooting jumpers in the gym and discussing how he has “shattered” the normal timetable for recovery from Achilles tears, this is the first time he has shown the ability to move fluidly in a basketball-related manner.
Lakers vice president Jim Buss said last month that he would “bet a lot of money” that Bryant would be ready to return by the preseason.