Steve Smith Sr. of the Baltimore Ravens was taken to the sidelines after sustaining a tear in his Achilles tendon in their game against the San Diego Chargers this past Sunday.
The wide receiver was tackled towards the tail end of the game, and could be spotted dragging his right foot as he fell towards the ground. Gesturing to the back of his foot, Smith quickly grabbed the attention of his trainers, who assisted him getting off the field.
Coach John Harbaugh confirmed in a press conference following the game that Smith tore his Achilles and would very likely need to take the rest of the season to recover.
“It is unfortunate but Achilles tendon tears can take time to recover from,” says Dr. Bob Baravarian, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center. “We have found that our percutaneous Achilles repair system (PARS) allows for a more rapid recovery and a stronger repair. In the case of a professional athlete however there is a significant amount of time that needs to be spent strengthening the entire body and especially the actual tendon tear region prior to return to elite level exercise.“
What is an Achilles Rupture?
The Achilles tendon is the long tendon that connects the heel to the calf muscles. It’s instrumental to walking, running, jumping, and cycling. Unfortunately, an Achilles rupture is a very common injury for many athletes, including runners, gymnasts, basketball players, and of course, football players. Athletes are most likely to injure their tendon during an abrupt, accelerated, springing movement, such as a sprint or a leap.
An Achilles rupture can present with severe, acute pain in the back of the foot, above the heel. The pain is typically accompanied by a popping or snapping sound, followed by swelling and stiffness.
Smith Reconsidering Retirement Plans
Although Smith has said in the past that this would be his final year playing in the NFL, new reports suggest he may not be ready to quit so soon.
Sports journalist Jason La Canfora reports that Smith is strongly reconsidering his retirement plans and reassured fans that it “would be a big surprise” if he let this injury mark the end of his career.
Achilles tendon tears are incredibly common in the NFL. This is the second torn Achilles that has plagued the Baltimore Ravens in the past two months. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs sustained his second Achilles tendon tear in their season opener on September 13. The injury was a career-ender for Suggs, a 13-year veteran and respected team leader.
Smith Scheduled for Achilles Repair Surgery
Coach Harbaugh reported that Smith is scheduled for surgery on Nov 9. Achilles tendon repairs can be tricky, but we should expect that he will seek out the highest quality care utilizing state-of-the-art surgical techniques.
Smith should be able to start physical therapy after 2-4 weeks, and may be ready to bear weight on the ankle at 6 weeks.
Smith does have a long road to full recovery, however: most patients require at least six months before they can resume their normal activities, and some take over a year to return to their previous performance levels.
If you would like more information about Achilles injuries or the revolutionary PARS procedure, we encourage you to call us at (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.
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