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The Achilles Heel: All about injuries to the achilles tendon, treatment options and Physical Therapy

Achilles Heel Injuries: A Brief Guide to Recovery

The Achilles heel is an important part of your physical anatomy. As the body's strongest and largest tendon, the Achilles tendon plays a crucial role in daily activities such as jumping, walking, and running. The thing about the achille’s tendon is that just like the Greek Myth that it was named after, despite being the strongest, it is also the weakest in terms of stress placed on it. There are many reasons for the achilles tendon to fail, and we are taking a closer look into this specific condition.

What causes Achilles tendon injuries?

The Achilles tendon deals with a lot of pressure and stress, both when it comes to everyday activities, as well as recreational activities. The main causes for problems with the achilles tendon are overuse or injury. Trauma to the achilles tendon can happen to anyone; in fact it's often linked to repetitive stress on the tendon. Trauma to the achilles tendon can also happen if you exercise without warming up. Anyone could develop an achilles tendon injury especially if you’ve recently increased the amount or the intensity of a sport, or even something as simple as just wearing the wrong shoes.

What are symptoms of an achilles tendon injury?

People that have an injury to the achilles tendon will have symptoms such as pain down the back of their calf into their heel. It usually gets worse with active, which may also include difficulty flexing the affected foot. Typically, there is swelling and depending on the severity of your injury, you may hear a popping sound when the injury occurs. The inability to bend the foot downward and “push off” the injured leg may be a symptom as well.

Some patients experience a thickening of the achilles tendon, and bone spurs can even occur. This sort of looks like the back section of your ankle has an extra growth sticking out. It is always best to get checked out by a medical provider or your physical therapist to see what is the best treatment option for your specific injury.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are very effective and varied treatment options for this condition. The RICE Method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is usually the first step in treatment. Doctors may use over-the-counter medications for pain relief. They might also suggest immobilization with a brace or boot to let the tendon heal.

A very effective treatment is physical therapy. Qualified physical therapists such as the ones at BC + PT will help you regain strength and flexibility in the tendon and neighboring muscles, minimizing the danger of future injuries. Your therapist mayl apply a combination of exercises, ultrasound, stretching, and other modalities to encourage healing. They can also offer guidance on modifying workout routines and proper footwear to avoid further injury.

An achilles heel injury is a huge setback. However, it doesn't have to be your lifelong weakness. Many patients return to their usual activities by following the proper treatment and rehabilitation. If you have been experiencing pain in your heels, back of your ankles or legs, it's time to give BC + PT a call and see what our talented therapists can do for you. Physical therapy helps with the recovery process. Taking control over your pain is something we can work together to achieve.. Stop waiting and start healing with Buffalo Chiropractic & Physical Therapy today!


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