Unfortunately for (LA Lakers Fans) Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles’ tendon recently. This is the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel.
There are two distinct locations in which the Achilles tends to become inflamed and these have very different courses:
The first is right at the back of the heel where the Achilles inserts onto the heel bone (calcaneus). This is commonly referred to as a ‘pump bump’, but don’t let that fool you. Women are not the only ones to develop the inflammation here. In this area, the tendon gets a good amount of blood supply from the bone and so these very rarely, if ever, go onto rupture. These, however, are tougher to get rid of and can take a long time to treat.
The second place is higher up the leg. This is in an area between the insertion and where the tendon and muscle meet which makes it an area that has less robust blood supply. This is why tendinitis in this area can more often lead to ruptures. The inflammation in this area however is normally easier to relieve.
Treatment for both types of tendinitis start with relative rest. This means taking some time off of working out and maybe even placement into a walking boot or cast to keep the Achilles from having to work. Also a course of physical therapy focused on stretching the tendon and modalities such as ultrasound or electric stimulation can help relieve the inflammation. Anti-inflammatories are often prescribed as well.
If the tendon does rupture, patients often describe this as feeling as if they were shot or kicked in the calf. It also becomes difficult to walk on the leg. It is important to seek care quickly so that treatment can be started and you can obtain the best outcome. These can sometimes be treated with splinting and casting without having any surgery. Other times, surgery to repair the tendon can be the best option.