Last week, the Mavs Moneyball blog that focuses on the Dallas Mavericks basketball team had an excellent article on achilles tendon ruptures and how to treat them. Not surprisingly, they focused on achilles tendon injuries to NBA players. They interviewed Dr. Kevin Stone, a renowned orthopedic surgeon.
Some interesting facts:
- Between 1992 and 2012, 18 NBA players suffered from an achilles tendon rupture. However, many teams do not have good data on specific injuries, especially when it concerns second string players who never return the following season. Dr. Stone thinks that many more NBA players likely suffered from achilles tendon ruptures between 1992 and 2012 than was officially reported.
- 7 of the 18 NBA players that ruptured their achilles tendons in the time period covered never returned to the sport. However, some were in their 30s so probably on the way out anyway. So all in all, it is quite encouraging that most NBA players who are in their 20s and who rupture their achilles tendons still return to the sport. Even older athletes such as Kobe Bryant have returned to the NBA after surgical repair of their ruptured achilles tendons.
- Achilles tendon ruptures are a lot more difficult to recover from then are ACL tears. In fact athletes can even continue to play their respective sport without an ACL!
- Better ways to stimulate healing of and rebuilding of strength of achilles tendons are being studied, including the use of growth factors, stem cells and some anabolic agents. No solid evidence in support of these treatments as yet.