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Treatment Options for Achilles Tendon Injury

Your Achilles tendon plays a crucial role in your body. This tendon that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone, allows you to point your toes, extend your foot, and push off of the ground. When you suffer an injury to your Achilles tendon, this can severely impact your mobility. Similar to other injuries, the severity of Achilles tendon injuries can range widely in severity. This is why the treatment options for an Achilles tendon injury are unique to each patient. In order to put yourself in the best position to make a full recovery, there are a few points that you should know when it comes to Achilles tendon injuries and the recovery process.


Statistics on Achilles Tendon Injuries

As the largest tendon in the body, the Achilles tendon suffers a lot of stress while running, jumping, and accelerating. A variety of conditions and stressors contribute to Achilles tendon injuries. Some of the most common risk factors for Achilles tendon injuries include:

  • Achilles tendon overuse injuries, such as those that take place while playing sports
  • Neuropathies that might damage the nerves in this part of the body
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • The presence of vascular diseases, which may impact the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and blood to the Achilles tendon

Surprisingly, studies have shown that Achilles tendon injuries impact not only competitive athletes but also individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Achilles tendon ruptures take place while playing sports.

The overall incidence of Achilles tendon ruptures is somewhere between 5 and 10 out of every 100,000 people.


Non-Surgical Options for Achilles Tendon

The good news is that a lot of people who suffer injuries of the Achilles tendon are not going to require surgery. For less severe injuries such as ankle sprains, Achilles tendinosis, and Achilles tendonitis, there are conservative treatments that work well. Some of the key treatment points to note include:

  • RICE Treatment: The first step in treating less severe Achilles tendon injuries is to use the RICE method which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The goal of this treatment method is to reduce swelling and inflammation that might otherwise make the injury worse.
  • Heat and Massage Therapy: Heat and massage therapy also play a role in reducing inflammation in and around the Achilles tendon following an injury. This could also help break up lactic acid that might be contributing to soreness.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications are also going to play a role in helping people recover from Achilles injuries. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Lifestyle Changes: During the recovery process, it is also important to take steps that will reduce the chances of an injury happening in the future. Exercise, diet, weight loss, and rehabilitation will all play a role in helping someone complete the recovery process.

In many cases, these conservative treatments are enough to help someone make a full recovery. On the other hand, there are other situations where surgery may be required.


Surgical Options for Severe Achilles Injury

For those who have suffered a completely torn Achilles, surgery is usually recommended. This procedure will take approximately an hour to be completed and there are minimally invasive treatment options available. Stitches will be present on the back of the heel once the procedure is done.

In general, patients will be on crutches for a few weeks following the procedure. It will take about a month before patients can bear weight fully on their heel and about two to three months before light range of motion exercises can be completed. In order to get back to full activity level, the recovery process will take between nine and 12 months.


Struggling with your Achilles? You can Count on Prime.

If you have suffered an Achilles injury, our surgeons have an unparalleled level of experience helping patients get back on their feet. The Prime Surgical team can take care of your Achilles injury from start to finish.


At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region's first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.

Tags: Foot & Ankle