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.