How to Treat and Prevent a Torn Achilles Tendon
A torn achilles tendon can bring your exercise regimen to a halt and disrupt your daily routine thanks to the pain that occurs whenever you put weight on the affected foot. In most cases, the foot will need to be immobilized or you may need surgery to reconnect the torn parts of the tendon. A splint, cast, brace or walking boot will keep the foot immobile while the tendon rupture heals. Physical therapy is a necessary part of the healing process. Exercises that focus on flexibility, strength, agility and endurance can help repair the ruptured tendon and prevent further injury.
Surgery as last option
Surgery is frequently the last option in treating a ruptured achilles tendon. It’s most often performed when the tendon has ruptured in two different places. Following surgery to reattach the pieces of the tendon, you will need to wear a boot or cast for up to 12 weeks, followed by physical therapy for several more weeks. It generally takes about six months to recover from the surgery.
How to alleviate the pain?
Until you can see a doctor to determine which course of treatment will work best for your injury, you can take over-the-counter medicines to help alleviate the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin can help, although their anti-inflammatory properties aren’t always needed. Acetaminophen can also help alleviate the pain of the rupture. Corticosteroid injections aren’t an option for a torn achilles tendon; the injection increases the risk of an additional tear.
How to Prevent the Injury?
Your best option, however, is to prevent injuring your achilles tendon in the first place. To do this, you need to make sure you warm up properly before you start any strenuous exercise. Most experts recommend getting your muscles warmed up by slowly doing the activity you’re about to undertake. For example, before beginning a jog you should take a few moments to walk briskly; before playing a game of tennis, it’s a good idea to slowly rehearse the cross court and volley movements you’ll be doing later. Some experts recommend stretching once you’ve warmed up but before you begin the activity. A gradual cool down and stretching will also help you avoid injury. Finally, make sure you’re wearing shoes that cushion the heel while you’re exercising. Doing this can help you make sure you won’t be sidelined by a torn achilles tendon.