Kobe Bryant is setting records again—not necessarily in rebounding or scoring, but for the most seasons played with a single franchise: the star basketball player started his 20th year with the Lakers this fall. He has dealt with injuries the past three years, including a ruptured Achilles in 2013. For pro basketball players, an Achilles tendon injury is tough to come back from, and surgery is the usual course of treatment. For others, surgery for Achilles tendon repair may not be necessary, but how do you decide?

Here are some facts to consider before making up your mind:

  • An injury can range from inflammation and soreness to overstretching to a small tear or complete rupture.
  • A range of treatments (rest, icing, casting or bracing, or surgery) can be used and could be an effective treatment for any of these types of injury.
  • Surgery can lesson your risk of a repeat rupture, but comes with several risks (anesthesia intolerance, bleeding, clotting, infection, nerve damage, scarring)
  • Treating with immobilization can yield the same healing results, and there is only a slight risk of nerve damage or blood clots and none of infection, but it increases your risk of another rupture.
  • Both methods usually allow you to resume full sports participation within a year or two as long as you work at rehab.

You need to look at your own situation to determine which is right for you. If you are young, have a job that requires strong legs and ankles, or enjoy playing sports and being active, you might want to have surgery to lessen your risk of a repeat injury. If the thought of surgery frightens you, or you are older, prone to blood clots, have a weak immune system, or aren’t particularly active at work or at play, immobilization may be a more attractive solution for you.

If you injure your Achilles, contact Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Ladera Ranch, CA for a consultation. We will diagnose how severe your injury is (stretched, small tear, complete rupture) and help you make the decision about your treatment. Call our office on Medical Center Road at (949) 364-9255 (WALK), or request an appointment using our online form, and start your road to healing.