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Dec. 06, 2022

A Simple Overview of Treatment for Achilles Tendonitis

The leaves are turning colours, and the air is getting crisp, so it's clear that fall has arrived. That means football, soccer, lacrosse, and other fall sports will start up again, along with the injuries that come with them. Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common sports injuries in the fall. It can happen to any athlete who puts too much stress on their Achilles tendon.

What is Achilles tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammatory condition, like other health problems that end in "-itis." It happens when the thick tendon that runs from the bottom of the calf to the heel bone, called the Achilles tendon, gets irritated and swells up. This causes pain and stiffness and makes it hard to walk, run, or do anything else that uses the lower leg or foot. Achilles tendonitis is like other types of tendonitis in that it is caused by overuse or repeated use.

Achilles tendonitis comes in two forms: insertional and non-insertional. Insertional Achilles tendonitis happens at the heel, where the tendon inserts into the bone, and non-insertional Achilles tendonitis occurs higher up, above the heel. With both types, you may feel pain in the back of your leg or above your heel. You might also feel stiff, worsening in the morning or the day after you work out.

When you first get up or after being still for a long time, the area may hurt more. Common symptoms include swelling and general soreness. Sometimes, you may also have a raised bump where the tendon is the most irritated. This is because the tendon in that area has grown physically thicker. When insertional Achilles tendonitis, you may also have bone spurs where the tendon attaches to the bone.

Achilles tendonitis treatment

Achilles tendinitis can be treated in several ways, from simple ones like rest and anti-inflammatory drugs to more serious ones like steroid injections, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, and surgery.

Here are a few more common ways to treat Achilles tendonitis:

• reducing your physical activity

• switching to low-impact exercises like swimming

• gently stretching and then strengthening your calf muscles

• application of ice after physical activity or when pain is felt

• elevating your foot to reduce swelling

• wearing a brace or walking boot to keep your heel from moving

• going to physical therapy

• taking anti-inflammatory painkillers like aspirin (Bufferin) or ibuprofen (Advil)

• carrying a heel cup on your foot

RICE method

The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) can help treat Achilles tendinitis right after you hurt it. How it works is as follows:

• Rest: Don't put any weight or pressure on your tendon for one to two days or until you can walk without pain. Most of the time, the tendon will heal faster if you don't stress it more during this time. If you need to move around while your tendon heals, your doctor may tell you to use crutches.

• Ice: Put ice in a bag, wrap it in cloth, and put it against your skin. Hold the bag on your tendon for up to 20 minutes, then take it off to let it warm up again. Most of the time, ice makes swelling or inflammation go away faster.

• Compression: If the wounded tendon is too large to wrap, use athletic tape or a bandage to compress it. Another option is to wrap a belt or scarf around this spot. The edoema is reduced as a result of this. Wrapping or tying something too tightly around your tendon might restrict blood flow to the area, so be careful.

• Elevation: Raise your foot to where your chest is. Because your foot is higher than your heart, blood flows back to your heart and keeps the swelling down. This is easiest if you lie down and put your foot on a pillow or something higher than the floor.


You may need surgery if you can't fix your Achilles tendon with home remedies. If the condition gets worse and isn't treated, there is a higher chance that the Achilles tendon will tear, a medical emergency that needs to be treated immediately. This can make the heel hurt very badly.

Your doctor may give you a few options for surgery on your Achilles tendon, depending on how bad the problem is and where it is. Your surgeon may recommend a gastrocnemius recession to extend your calf muscles, remove bone spurs or damaged tendon tissue, repair the tendon, and transfer a different tendon to your heel bone to further strengthen the area.

Most of the time, your doctor will send you to an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the best procedure for you.

Achilles tendonitis can be painful and annoying, but the good news is that most cases can be treated with non-invasive methods that work well. If you think you have Achilles tendonitis, make an appointment with a doctor today to talk about your treatment options.

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