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Kobe Bryant’s Road to Recovery I Marketplace Physical Therapy


Back in 2013 Sports talk show hosts were debating the reason for Kobe Bryant’s Achilles Tear. Was he playing too many minutes leading up to the Laker’s playoff run? Or did 17 years in the NBA finally catch up to him? In reality none of that really mattered, the only thing that mattered was for Kobe to return again as one of the best players in the NBA. We are going to break down what we believe to be the Therapy Kobe went through for 6 – 9 months.

Here are the 5 areas Kobe will need to focus on after his surgery

1. Control Swelling

Immediately following Kobe’s surgery to re-attach his torn Achilles, Marketplace Physical Therapy Riverside explains that his medical team’s main focus will be controlling the swelling. A certain amount of swelling is good for the body because it increases blood flow to the injured area and thus bringing the healing white blood cells. However, massive and prolonged swelling can lead to atrophy of the muscles surrounding the joint and a decreased ability to activate the muscles. Chronic swelling can lead to tissues becoming rigid and non-pliable making the athlete much more succeptible to injury.

The PRICE method to control Swelling

P = Protection from further damage
R = Rest to avoid prolonging irritation
I = Ice (cold) for controlling pain, bleeding, and edema
C = Compression for support and controlling swelling
E = Elevation for decreasing bleeding and edema

2. Protect the Elasticity of the Achilles

Riverside Physical Therapist explains that Kobe’s Doctors from Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic will be very careful to keep his tendon in a shortened position. Overstretching the tendon would be disastrous because it would limit Kobe from getting any lift off of the foot, virtually guaranteeing that he will never dunk a basketball again. Once the tendon has regained its strength all exercises will be focused on pointing the ankle down and not lengthening it at all.

3. Time for the Boot

Take it step by step, from a full boot with crutches, full boot normal walking, athletic shoe with heel support and then a normal shoe with no heel support. In every one of these phases Kobe will be working on range of motion, light strengthening and cardio.

4. Normal Movement

If things all go according to plan, the next phase of retaining normal movement three months after surgery. The faster one enters this phase the better chance in recovering.

5. Learning to Play Basketball Again

Obviously, this will lead to deconditioning the body as a whole. In the beginning of this phase, Physical Therapists and trainers will be very protective of the repaired Achilles.

Most people do not have the resources to have a team of Doctors, Physical Therapists, and Trainers with your 24 hours a day. However, if you are facing an injury and you live in the Inland Empire, Marketplace Physical Therapy Riverside had the knowledge and dedication to give you the highest quality rehabilitation available.

To schedule a free consultation with our Doctor of Physical Therapy, please call 951.684.2874.

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Published on: April 23rd, 2013

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