Achilles Tendon Problems
Achilles Tendon Problems
Early treatment usually results in better healing.
- Use home treatment. This includes resting your lower leg and foot, stretching the area, wearing cushioned shoes or other orthotics, and switching sports or modifying how you do sports that may have caused the problem.
- Reduce pain by using ice or taking
over-the-counter pain relievers, such as
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as
directed. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Follow any
physical therapy that your doctor has
prescribed. This may include stretching and strengthening exercises, deep massage, heat, or
If your Achilles tendon shortens and
stiffens while you sleep, your doctor may suggest that you wear a
night brace to keep your foot flexed.
If you keep having pain or
stiffness in the ankle area, your doctor may prescribe a walking
boot or other device for 4 to 6 weeks. This keeps your lower leg and foot from
moving. It allows the tendon to heal.
If you still have Achilles
tendon pain after more than 6 months of consistent treatment and rest, you
might need to consider surgery.
Achilles tendon rupture
Treatment for an Achilles
tendon rupture includes:
- Surgery followed by
rehabilitation (rehab). This is the most common treatment for younger adults.
- Immobilizing your leg, followed by
rehab. This prevents movement of the lower
leg and ankle. It allows the ends of the Achilles tendon to reattach and heal.
What to think about
Don't smoke or use other tobacco
products. Smoking slows healing, because it decreases blood supply and delays
If you have an Achilles tendon rupture, your
decision about whether to have surgery will depend in part on your:
- Age and activity level. For example, if you are an older adult who doesn't do
activities that may cause another rupture and who doesn't want the added
risk of surgery, you may choose to use a cast or similar
- Medical condition. If you have another medical
diabetes or heart or lung disease—that raises the
risks associated with surgery, you may choose to use a cast or similar
- Time since injury. Over time, the torn ends of the tendon shorten and pull away from each other. If they are too far apart, the surgery is less likely to work. If surgery is chosen, many surgeons will wait a few days for the swelling to go down, then do the surgery as soon as possible. Surgery is usually done within 4 to 6 weeks.
- Achilles Tendon Rupture: Should I Have Surgery?
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
January 3, 2013
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