When a patient receives a diagnosis for Achilles tendonitis, there are multiple options for Achilles tendonitis treatment that may be used. None of the options offers a quick-fix, but all offer some benefit in treating pain or in helping with the healing process.
One of the first things a patient with Achilles tendonitis may receive for treatment is a prescription for pain medication or a recommendation for an over-the-counter pain medication.
The over-the-counter medication recommended will most likely be an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Medications that fall into this category will have ingredients such as naproxen or ibuprofen. These drugs target pain and inflammation.
Rest and Elevation
The treating physician may recommend resting the affected limb. This may mean staying off it completely for a specified period of time or not performing certain activities for a specified period of time while it heals. With the order for rest, may come an order to keep the affected limb elevated when not on it or when sleeping.
Some form of compression may be applied to the area in order to help stabilize the injury while it heals and to help alleviate some swelling. Its important to continue to wear the bandages or wraps for as long as prescribed. If they need to be removed temporarily for any reason during healing, the doctor can demonstrate how to properly reapply them so they are not too loose or too tight.
If there is a problem with the compression, it may not be at the correct level of tightness. If it is, the doctor should be notified immediately that there is a problem.
During the healing process, some form of exercise or physical therapy may be ordered. Specific exercises will be ordered and can be demonstrated to the patient who will be doing them at home.
Its important to do the exercises as prescribed for optimal healing. Any exercise that causes pain or lasting problems should be discussed with the physician or physical therapist. It is normal to experience some discomfort or pain while rehabilitating an injury.
Sometimes taking an NSAID prior to exercise will be recommended. Another recommendation may be to apply ice following exercise.
Cortisone is a steroid that can be effectively used to reduce inflammation. This option is not used very often because of the risk of tearing or rupturing the Achilles tendon when administered.
Special Shoes or Orthotics
For additional help with pain relief, special supportive shoes and/or orthotic inserts may be recommended. Lifting up the heel with a supportive device can be an effective method in treating a patient’s pain.
If other methods are not helpful, surgery is an option for Achilles tendonitis treatment. Depending upon the injury and recommendation of the surgeon, one of several surgical procedures for Achilles tendon repair will be used. These options include debridement with tendon transfer, debridement and repair and gastrocnemius recession.
Achilles Tendinitis: Treatments and Drugs. Mayo Clinic Staff. April 29, 2010. https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/achilles-tendinitis/DS00737/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
Achilles Tendinitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Last reviewed June 2010. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00147