When it comes to sports, fitness, and regular daily activities that require getting from one place to another, your Achilles tendon is a critical player. This sturdy band of tissue connects your calf muscles to your heel bone, making it essential for walking, running, and jumping.
Unfortunately, its overuse or injury can lead to a painful condition known as Achilles tendonitis. Symptoms of this painful condition include:
- Pain and stiffness along the back of the heel
- Swelling of the tendon or where it attaches to the heel bone
- Limited range of motion, especially when flexing or pointing
- Crepitus, or a creaking, crackling sensation, when moving the ankle
At Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers in Texas, our team of highly qualified board-certified podiatrists is committed to providing the most effective treatments for Achilles tendonitis. We understand that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t apply to everyone, so our providers tailor treatment plans based on your unique needs.
Keep reading to learn about five different ways to manage Achilles tendonitis and how we can help restore your mobility.
1. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
When you first develop signs of Achilles tendonitis, the first line of defense is often the RICE method:
- Rest: Give your affected foot a break by avoiding activities that put pressure on it
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area reduces inflammation and numbs the pain
- Compression: Wearing a compression bandage helps minimize swelling
- Elevation: Elevating your foot reduces blood flow to the inflamed area, thus reducing swelling
This approach is most often used in conjunction with other treatment protocols.
2. Medications and orthotic devices
Over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen, can ease your discomfort and help minimize inflammation and swelling. Our practitioners may sometimes recommend custom-made orthotic devices that fit inside your shoes to support your heel and reduce stress on the tendon. They may also recommend night splints to help improve your condition overnight.
3. Physical therapy and stretching
Engaging in gentle stretching and strengthening exercises under a professional physical therapist’s guidance can help speed your recovery and prevent re-injury down the line. The customized exercises help in several ways:
- Strengthening the muscles around your Achilles tendon
- Improving flexibility in your ankles and feet
- Reducing the risk of future injuries
These exercises, combined with other treatments, promote your healing and get you back on your feet faster.
4. Advanced non-surgical treatments
When conservative measures are not enough, we offer advanced options such as stem cell injections and extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT®).
Stem cell injections
We promote the body’s natural healing process by injecting stem cells into the affected area. Stem cells can regenerate damaged tissues, reducing pain and improving function.
Extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT)
EPAT is a noninvasive therapy using pressure waves to stimulate the healing process within the tendon. It can significantly decrease pain and increase mobility with no need for surgery.
Surgery may be necessary as a last resort when all other treatments fail to bring relief. Our providers may recommend a procedure to repair the damaged tendon and remove the inflamed tissue. It’s an effective solution, but one that we reserve for the most severe cases.
Learn more about treatments for Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis can be frustrating and debilitating, but at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Center, we believe in empowering our patients with diverse and progressive treatment options.
Be sure to consult a healthcare provider for personalized Achilles tendonitis treatment recommendations, as your situation might require specific care tailored to your needs. From the most conservative therapies and help with personalized home remedies to cutting-edge treatments, we’ve got you covered.
Don’t hesitate to contact a podiatrist at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Center to learn more. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider today.