Monday, January 21, 2019

Achilles Tendon Injury and Recovery for Eagles' Star Brandon Brooks

Achilles Tendon Injury and Recovery for Eagles' Star Brandon Brooks

The Eagles season did not end the way many had envisioned it and it does not look to be off to a good start next year either. Two- time pro-bowler, Brandon Brooks was carted off the field in the Eagles last playoff game against the New Orleans Saints and did not return. After the Eagles' unfortunate loss, news did not get any better, as it came out that Brandon Brooks had suffered a torn Achilles Tendon. The Eagles had an injury-riddled season which many fans believe had a lot to do with their up and down season. Now fans might be asking themselves, what exactly is a torn Achilles tendon? What is the recovery like? How long will the Eagles star player be out? And will this type of injury affect future performance?

An Achilles tendon tear is when the tendon at the back of your ankle breaks (complete tear) or rips (partial tear). This type of injury can occur in a few different ways; sudden bending up of the foot when the calf muscle is engaged, direct trauma, or chronic tendonitis. If you watch the video of the injury, you can see Brandon Brooks’ ankle is bent as he is attempting to push forward to drive his opponent backward, causing too much stress on his tendon and therefore rupturing.  A snapping sound, pain, lack of ability to push off with your foot, and bruising of your calf often accompany an injury like this. Now that we know what kind of injury we are dealing with we can look at the recovery process and when Brandon Brooks can get back on the field.
Protocols and timelines can vary from person to person and can depend on the exact type of surgery performed as well. The following is a general timeline for recovery. Initially after surgery the patient will be non-weight bearing for roughly 3 weeks and progress to full weight bearing in a boot around 6 weeks. Gentle active range of motion can start around 4 weeks and passive range of motion around 6 weeks. Strengthening of surrounding musculature can start around 6 weeks, but strengthening of involved musculature does not start until around 8 weeks. The reason for such a long, cautious recovery is to allow proper healing of the tendon to the bone since this is a powerful muscle that is used every time we stand, walk, run, and jump. Gradual progression of resistance/strengthening exercises occurs up to 6 months before starting more intensive sport specific strengthening. Most rehabilitation programs allow patients to return to physically demanding sports by 9 months.

Brandon Brooks experienced a very serious injury that will take a long time to recover, but a full recovery can be expected. After surgery, physical therapy will play a large role in monitoring and initiating appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises at the right time.  Progression will depend on the physiological healing of the tendon, and the amount of range of motion and strength that is gained each day of recovery. Once the tendon is deemed “well healed” by the surgeon, physical therapy will then be able to progress Brandon Brooks to sport specific strengthening exercises/activities that will allow him to get back on the field and help the Eagles back to the Super Bowl. If Brandon Brooks follows this general time line, Eagles fans can expect him to return to the field around October.

PTW’s AJ Moyer, PT, DPT is a staff physical therapist at our Souderton and Harleysville clinics. For an initial evaluation, call AJ at 267.382.0433 today! 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Beating the Winter Blues


Winter can be a very frustrating time for many people.   Activity level goes down because the temperature drops, days get shorter, and the weather can make it hard to get around.   Winter is actually known for being the highest time for being diagnosed with depression, hence “The Winter Blues”.   However, what if I told you there are some things anybody can do to “Beat the Blues”?   And, what if I told you that it is as simple as taking 25-30 minutes a day to just exercise?    It’s that simple!   Here’s the catch though.   Most people don’t know or understand how to safely exercise in their own homes.   I will give you a quick idea of how simple exercise can be to give you the boost you need this winter.  
First, you have to forget the concept that exercise has to be done with equipment or in a gym, and it doesn’t need to make you tired.   Moderate exercise is also known as “walk and talk” exercise.  You should be able to hold a conversation even though you are exercising.  This ensures that you are not pushing too hard and causing unnecessary fatigue.    And remember exercise is simply “planned activity”.   Exercise can be anything!  It can be going up and down your stairs, sitting and standing in your chair repeatedly, or just walking laps around your house.   The beauty of exercising is you can find what you like, and make it fun.  
Second, get yourself moving for those 25-30 minutes!  Studies by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that daily moderate exercise of 25-30 minutes lowers anxiety and depression, reduces risk of heart and brain conditions, decreases falls risk, and improves overall well being.   All of this is what helps you “Beat the Blues”.   Some options I already mentioned are just doing simple stair climbing, repeated sit to stands, or just walking.  Some other options include, marching in place, leg kick outs while sitting, push-ups (if able), or sit-ups (if able).  Remember these should all feel like a moderate intensity, not too hard and not too easy.   And they should never cause pain.  (Consult a physician or medical provider if pain limits your activity).

 Lastly, get your friends involved!  Group exercise is shown to improve the psychological benefits of exercise.   If the weather permits, meet us with your friends and walk in the mall or at the gym.   Or, just give them a call and exercise while talking on the phone.   This also helps you stay more compliant with the program, and it gives you a buddy to hold you more accountable.    According to the CDC’s Physical Activity Guide for Americans, group exercise not only improves your compliance to a program but also your desire to be active.  If you want to exercise, it is much easier to stay active, healthy, and “Beat the Blues”. 

So remember, all you need to do to “Beat the Blues” is get moving 25-30 minutes of your day! And grab a buddy for a little extra push!  It’s that easy!  

Brandon Lewandowski  PT, DPT is Clinical Supervisor of PTW's newest location in Horsham, PA! To schedule a visit with Brandon call 215.394.5893