The achilles tendon can affect anyone who runs, walks, and plays sports frequently. This condition can develop suddenly and need expert care. If the achilles tendon ruptures, you can hear a pop, followed by a sharp pain at the back of your lower leg and ankle, which is likely to affect your ability to walk. Surgery is required to repair the fracture, but also nonsurgical treatments can work. To prevent complications like ruptures, treat your achilles tendon in Westfield with minimally invasive treatment options.
Prevention of Achilles tendon injuries
To minimize the chance of having achilles tendon problems, do the following:
Stretch and strengthen calf muscles. You should stretch the calf till you feel a pull, not pain, and don’t bounce during a stretch. Strengthening the calf helps the tendon and muscle absorb more force and prevents injury.
Vary your exercises—alternate sports like running with low-impact sports, such as swimming, biking, or walking. It would be best to avoid activities that place excessive stress on the achilles tendons, like jumping activities and hill running.
Choose running surfaces carefully. Limit or avoid running on slippery or hard surfaces. Dress well for cold-weather training, and wear fitting athletic shoes with better cushioning in the heels.
In many cases, nonsurgical treatment options provide pain relief, although it can take some months for the symptoms to subside. The following are some of the treatments:
Rest. The first step of easing pain is to stop or decrease activities that make the pain worse. If you do high-impact exercises, consider changing to low-impact exercises, which induce less pressure on the achilles tendon. Training activities like biking, swimming, and elliptical exercise are low-impact options that enable you to stay active.
Ice. Placing ice on the achilles tendon’s painful area can be done throughout the day. This can be done for at least 20 minutes and should be stopped if the skin becomes numb. Frozen water can make a simple, reusable ice pack. After the water has frozen, rub the ice on the achilles tendon.
Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication. Drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen reduce swelling and pain. They do not reduce the thickness of the degenerated tendon. Using these medications for more than a month should be reviewed by a primary care doctor.
Gastrocnemius recession. It is the lengthening of the calf muscles surgically. Tight calf muscles place much stress on the achilles tendon, and this procedure helps patients who have difficulty flexing their feet no matter how hard they stretch. During this surgery, one of the two muscles making up the calf is lengthened to regulate the ankle’s motion.
Debridement and repair. The goal of this surgery is to eliminate the damaged part of the achilles tendon. After the tendon’s damaged part is removed, the remaining part is repaired with stitches or sutures to complete the repair.
Achilles tendon damage is a common condition among people who exercise hard or walk frequently. Lack of flexibility is the leading cause of injury, but proper stretching of your lower leg is a better way to stay fit and prevent achilles tendon tears and strains. If you have the condition, consider low-impact exercises to avoid pain, and you should avoid running until you feel better.