I’m sure everyone has heard about Kobe Bryant’s devastating injury, and the fact that his season, maybe even career is over. So what exactly happened to him? Kobe ruptured his Achilles tendon. If you feel at the back of your ankle, you feel a long hard thing that is your Achilles tendon. This is where your calf muscles attach to your heel bone to keep your foot and ankle stable.

A rupture/tear of this tendon can occur by suddenly pointing your toe up or down and landing on the foot in a weird position. There is an area of this tendon called the watershed area; this is a weak area of the tendon because it doesn’t receive as much blood supply as the rest of the tendon so it is more likely to be injured there. It is very common for this injury to occur in athletes playing basketball or football.

The common signs and symptoms of this injury include swelling and pain at the back of the ankle, hearing a “popping” noise when the injury occurs, and a positive Simmonds test.  When you see your podiatrist, he will perform the Simmonds test, which is when he squeezes your calf muscles and looks at the movement of your foot.  It is considered a positive test when there is no movement of the foot, and the patient is unable to point his toes downward.

Your local podiatrist at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care in Edison and Monroe NJ can take care of you if you feel that you have experienced this kind of injury. The first thing the podiatrist will do is look at the ankle and perform tests like the above described Simmonds test, and then he will order an MRI to confirm his diagnosis.

If an Achilles tear is diagnosed, surgery will be required. The tendon will be stitched back together and then stabilized for a few months to allow the tendon to repair. After surgery physical therapy will be required to regain strength in the foot and leg. Kobe Bryant will require surgery and a lot of rehab therapy if he wants to return to the Lakers anytime soon!

 by Varun Gujral