How to Treat Achilles Tendon Pain

June 12, 2020 10:01 am Published by

An injury to your Achilles tendon is painful and life-impacting. After all, your Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body, stretching from your heel to your calf muscles. Therefore, when you injure this area (which can happen to anyone, not just athletes), it is often quite painful.

Here are a few signs you might have an Achilles tendon injury, as well as some treatments to aid in pain relief:

Symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury

You may have all or some of the following symptoms with an Achilles tendon injury:

  • Burning sensation in the area
  • Pain or stiffness in the tendon, especially right over your heel or when you stand on your toes or stretch your ankle
  • Intense severe pain. This usually occurs when your injury is more severe, indicating a complete tear or rupture
  • A popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs and swelling or bruising afterwards
  • Trouble pushing off or pointing your toes
  • Pain near your heel or down the back of your leg
  • Pain that intensifies with activity
  • Pain in the tendon after exercising
  • Thickening of the Achilles tendon itself
  • Bone spurs forming in the heel bone
achilles-tendon-pain

Achilles tendon injuries are common and can be mild or moderate in severity. Mild injuries likely indicate only a minor amount of stress to the area. If your pain is more severe, you have likely either torn or ruptured the tendon. Most Achilles tendon injuries occur when you push off suddenly with one foot or lift your foot when you land, but any action that’s too abrupt can cause damage to the tendon.

Tried-and-True Home Remedies & Treatments for Achilles Tendon Pain Relief

If the symptoms listed above sound familiar, you could have an Achilles tendon injury. Your next step should include trying some of all the following home remedies:

Castor Oil

This plant-based oil works to ease inflammation in the tendon. Castor oil is a triglyceride, which contains 90% ricinoleic acid— an effective anti-inflammatory agent.

Vitamin E Oil or Supplements

As a potent antioxidant that supports circulatory function, Vitamin E relieves pain, inflammation, and soreness.

Turmeric

This natural remedy is known as a wonder spice. This means it has excellent medicinal purposes. In fact, this spice contains curcumin, which the scientific community considers an effective painkiller.

Rest

Achilles tendon injuries are sometimes the result of overuse. Consequently, resting your affected foot can be an effective way to heal if you think your injury resulted from overuse, avoid running, climbing stairs, or even walking too much. 

If you want to stay active, try something low impact, like swimming, and patiently allow your body to heal. Give yourself at least a few days ,if not weeks or months, to heal.

Ice

Icing is an effective way to reduce Achilles tendon related pain due to swelling. It works by reducing the blood flow through the area, bringing relief almost instantly. To use ice as a pain-relieving method, apply ice packs for around 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 to 48 hours after injury.

Avoiding Tobacco

Smoking itself can negatively affect the body tissues and prolong the healing process, so if you smoke, one way to promote healing in the body is to kick the habit.

Protective Footwear, Bandage, & Bracing

Protective footwear is immensely important when you are rehabbing an Achilles tendon injury. Make sure your shoes have proper support, especially in your arch and the cushion of your heel. You can also try silicone heel pads, splints, a walking boot or cast to reduce the pressure. 

foot-brace

Use bandages to restrict movement in the area to reduce the pain you feel too, if necessary. It’s also a good idea to wear a bandage when sleeping to prevent involuntary movements that can aggravate your injury. Ask your foot doctor for more suggestions on the best braces, bandages, and protective footwear to use during the healing process.

Severe or Complete Tears Sometimes Require Surgery

In some severe cases, surgery is the only effective treatment for Achilles tendon pain, which demands the skill of a podiatrist. The surgery required to fix the issue will depend on where the tear is within your tendon. 

The following are the most common types of surgical procedures to fix severe Achilles tendon injuries:

  • Gastrocnemius Recession: This surgery lengthens the calf muscles to repair the Achilles tendon area.

  • Debridement surgery: This surgery removes the damaged tendons and/or bone spurs and repairs the tendon.

  • Damage Removal: This surgery removes the damaged tendon tissue and repairs what remains of the tendon which gives the tendon more strength.

Preventing Achilles Tendon Injuries

Although you can’t completely prevent a tendon injury, if you do the following, you will reduce your risk:

  • Warm-up before sports, exercising, or completing any repetitive movements
  • Increase your activity levels slowly, not all at once
  • Wear the proper shoes for your activity
  • Avoid uneven surfaces when exercising
  • Stop any activity that causes pain

Don’t Let it Progress

If your Achilles tendon pain is not adequately remedied by the above home treatments and you need additional help to treat the issue, contact us to set up an appointment.

Achilles tendon injuries may take time and specialized therapy to properly heal. Give us a call 239.936.5400 for professional diagnosis and recommended treatment plan today.

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Welcome, Dr. Elaine Felix!


Dr. Felix has extensive training in treating all aspects of the foot and ankle including arthroscopy, sports injuries, trauma, reconstructive surgery, wound care, as well as forefoot and mid-foot surgery.
We are so excited to have her join our team!
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