Surgery and physical therapy are both successful ways to address this injury, but it can still be devastating. "Although the operation is not that difficult, it's quite an extended rehabilitation for which full recovery may not be possible in some cases," says Chang. A six- to nine-month recovery time – Kobe Bryant's was more than seven months – is fairly standard.
The Fix: This one is hard to prevent because most people who tear their achilles tendon have no prior symptoms. Genetics and activity level are big factors but cross-training with elements of yoga, biking, or running may help.