Achilles Tendonitis Treatment

How to treat Achilles tendonitis?

There are many effective ways to treat Achilles tendonitis. This page hopes to outline and help you understand the before, during and after process of Achilles tendonitis treatment.

Injury prevention (BEFORE):

Although it’s impossible to completely avoid injury, it is possible to condition your body to be able to withstand unexpected movement and/or shock to your tendons. The best way to treat any sport related injury or common pains such as tendonitis is to actually prepare your body for the inevitable fact that injuries will occur when you least expect it.

  • Keep physically active – Whether you play sports professionally, socially, or not at all, moving and exercising the minimum requirement every week will ensure that your body is functioning sufficiently for everyday activities.
    • It may sound silly, but running for the bus or train first thing in the morning will cause a significant amount of stress on your heels and muscles surrounding your Achilles tendon – doing a lot more damage if you are not exercising regularly. While your legs and feet may feel fine while you’re running, the after effects of a short burst of such a high impact activity are what contribute heavily towards Achilles tendonitis and other injuries.

  • Routine daily stretches are highly important whether you play sports or not:
    • There’s more to stretching than just loosening and warming up muscles.
    • Stretching daily will maintain flexibility and increase the range of motion in your joints and muscle – range of motion and muscle stability are crucial to decreasing susceptibility to tendonitis.

  • Shoe support/fit is something that is overlooked by many:
    • Wearing the wrong kind of shoes can have dramatic effects when worn for the wrong situation or for prolonged periods of time.
    • Having the right support for your foot and your arch is important as it relieves stress off your feet trying to compensate for the lack of support.

  • Conditioning and strengthening
    • Similar to stretching; conditioning and strengthening have the effect of relieving the tendon by giving the surrounding muscles more stability and control.

  • Braces and other supportive gear
    • Braces such as The Aircast Airheel Brace are a great way of helping prevent Achilles tendonitis by compressing and enhancing the blood flow in the foot and ankle area.

If you know you are going to be participating in sports, it’s important to warm up your calf and Achilles tendon, easing into the movements and actions you’re most likely to perform.

And finally, after warming your muscles, stretch!

Treating an injured Achilles (DURING):

If you have just suffered from an injury relating to Achilles tendonitis, you can:

REMEMBER R.I.C.E – R.I.C.E is not just applicable to Achilles tendonitis, it is used for almost all serious sporting injuries.

  • Rest
    • Keep weight off the tendon.
    • Rest gives the tendon time to recouperate and heal itself.

  • Use cryotherapy (ice) on the affected area:
    • Applying ice directly after exercise or an injury will help reduce pain and swelling.

  • Compress the Achilles
    • As stated above, products like the “Aircast Airheel” will help with support and stability for the Achilles.
    • Compression increases blood flow, meaning faster recovery time.

  • Elevating the injured area above resting heart rate
    • Reducing swelling

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
    • Prescribed by a doctor or bought over the counter.

  • Other medical advice prescribed by doctor
    • Surgery
    • Steroid cortisone shots

  • Moderate exercise/stretching
    • Continue normal exercise and stretching but at a much slower and easier rate; exercises and stretches should only be done in this case to maintain range of motion and movement in the joints and tendon.

Treatments AFTER an injury:

If all else fails and you still manage to incur Achilles tendonitis, treating it will depend on the severity of the injury.

NOTE: it’s important that you don’t treat yourself based on self-diagnosis, seek proper medical advice from your local doctor or physiotherapist first.

If R.I.C.E does not help with the initial injury, it is possible you have sustained a Stage 2 or 3 injury that requires more attention, and possibly rehabilitation.

In the case of rehabilitation, there are a number of techniques physiotherapists’ may apply accordingly:

  • Taping
  • Bracing 
  • Advanced stretches and exercises
  • Massage
  • Prescribe special insoles for your shoes

Key points for Achilles Tendonitis

  • By taking the right precautionary methods during and after sports, you can reduce your risk of a ‘sudden injury’ happening.
  • Remember tendonitis is brought on by constant overuse. Resting and muscle recovery is extremely important.
  • On the other hand if your lifestyle demands a significant amount of physical exercise and excessive training you can look to other alternatives such as braces that provide stability and support for your Achilles over long periods of time and a range of different activities. Click HERE to find the right brace for YOU.

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