The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, may become inflamed due to repetitive stress. This condition, known as Achilles tendinitis, is common among middle-aged weekend athletes, particularly runners. Self-care and in-home nursing may help, but for more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Read on to learn more.
What Are the Different Therapies for Achilles Tendonitis?
Here are several effective therapies available to help manage symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis and promote healing.
Heat and Ice Therapy
Ice and heat are beneficial in treating and managing Achilles tendonitis. Ice can reduce inflammation and be an effective pain reliever, while heat can stimulate blood supply and facilitate healing. Wrapping an ice pack/hot water bottle in a towel and applying it for 20 minutes per hour is essential. Regularly check the skin for any signs of irritation or burning. Do not use ice if you have a poor sensation at the application site, an infected wound, or cryoglobulinemia.
Physical Therapy and Stretching
Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the Achilles tendon, reducing strain on the tendon. Stretching exercises can also help improve flexibility and reduce tension in the tendon, alleviating pain and preventing further injury. Here are the steps in a typical physical therapy program:
- Place the heel of the injured foot on the floor while sitting in a chair.
- Reach down and grab your big toe with your hand, then pull it up and back (from the floor and towards the direction of your ankle).
- Remain in that position for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Perform up to 5 times daily, ideally 2–4 times each session.
You can visit websites like feetinmotion.ca to learn more about foot care.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that are used to treat inflammation and discomfort. These medications prevent the synthesis of prostaglandins, which induce swelling and discomfort in the afflicted region. NSAIDs may be used orally or topically as creams or gels. Nevertheless, seeing a healthcare expert before taking any medication is essential to ensure the best dosage and avoid side effects.
Orthotics, Compression Stockings, and Shoe Modifications
- Orthotics: They can support the foot and ankle, which can help reduce strain on the Achilles tendon.
- Shoe modifications: Customized footwear, like a heel lift or shoes with a higher heel-to-toe drop, can help alleviate symptoms by reducing tension on the tendon.
- Compression stockings: They are intended to provide pressure to your lower legs, assisting in regulating blood flow and reducing pain and swelling to improve recovery.
With the proper footwear and corrective arch support, Achilles Tendonitis and foot biomechanics issues like a collapsed or flat arch can also be managed.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
Achilles tendonitis may be treated non-invasively using extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT). High-energy sound waves promote healing and lessen discomfort in the afflicted region. Treatments like shockwave therapy for Achilles tendonitis in Hamilton is a viable treatment option since it is helpful in symptom relief and tissue regeneration.
It is essential to note that ESWT may not be suitable for everyone, and consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it is the right treatment option for you. Additionally, ESWT may require multiple sessions to achieve optimal results.
Achilles tendonitis is common in athletes and active people. The longer you wait to take care of it, the longer it takes to treat it. Ignoring Achilles tendon pain can lead to more severe injuries, such as a ruptured tendon, which may require surgery and a longer recovery. So, if you have Achilles tendinitis, you should immediately seek medical assistance and follow the appropriate treatment strategy.