Soccer News: Patrick Ebert Prepared For Lengthy Achilles Recovery
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
An Achilles injury doesn’t drop jaws like the more serious-looking dislocations or fractures, but the implications can still be serious for players who often end up going through a lengthy recovery process. If you follow European soccer news, you may have heard about Rayo Vallecano’s German midfielder Patrick Ebert who blew out his Achilles tendon during the Spanish league football match on August 22, 2015.
What Happened to Patrick Ebert?
In the August game against Valencia, Patrick Ebert left the field after he jumped to make a play and landed in a way that caused a complete rupture of the tendon at the back of his heel. A week later, 29-year-old Ebert underwent surgical repair — a common solution, especially among athletes. All autumn and winter, he underwent “intensive physiotherapy” to get back into shape. Even so, his doctor confirmed that he’ll be out for the entire season which wraps up May 15th, 2016. It will take at least six months to get Patrick in any kind of condition to start regaining his soccer skills again.
How Do Achilles Ruptures Occur?
Achilles ruptures can happen to any type of athlete. We work with a lot of competitive runners as well as basketball, tennis, and soccer players at The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC. Any sport where there’s a lot of jumping and landing is prone to this type of foot and ankle injury. Studies suggest that most Achilles ruptures occur when the athlete pushes off the weight-bearing foot with the knee straight. This causes a strong contraction of the calf muscles and excessive dorsiflexion of the ankle and downward-pointed foot, which in turn causes a sharp tearing force on the overstretched Achilles. Often, at the time of rupture, these Achilles tendons have already been systematically overworked and formed micro-tears from repetitive motions over time.
Is Achilles Surgery Inevitable?
Surgical repair is the treatment of choice for Achilles tendon injuries due to its high success rates. About 92% of surgeons prefer surgery for Achilles ruptures over conservative management. In that regard, the Achilles injury is a bit of an outlier in foot and ankle injuries, which are largely treated with non-invasive measures first.
The 3 Stages of Achilles Tendon Rehabilitation
Like Dr. Jose Gonzalez at Rayo Vallecano believes, we agree that it’s imperative for players to start physiotherapy within days of Achilles surgery. The process goes a little something like this:
- In the initial post-operative period, the patient focuses on maintaining basic flexibility and range of motion.
- During the exercise period, the focus is on building strength, balance, and coordination. We work with patients to establish calf muscle strength and restore ankle flexibility. Then, the patient works on localized strength in the Achilles tendon itself. This middle portion of the process goes on the longest.
- Finally, we move to the functional rehab portion of recovery where the emphasis turns toward agility and sport-specific movements.
Time and time again, athletes come to the office and admit they pushed ahead with their rehabilitation too quickly. Without proper tissue repair, the inflammation can become chronic and stall progress even further. Worse yet, players run the risk of repeat ruptures down the line if their recovery was rushed in any way. Fortunately, Patrick’s recovery will lead him right to the off-season, so he can take the summer to leisurely recover without feeling the pressure to get back to the game immediately.
Achilles Injury Treatment in NYC
If you live in the NYC metro, contact us for emergency care, surgery, and long-term rehabilitation. Our experienced sports medicine doctors and podiatric surgeons have decades of experience working with professional athletes who have injured Achilles tendons. We offer the latest technology like therapeutic lasers, ultrasounds, and platelet rich plasma injections to help you make the best possible recovery.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.