Unfortunately, an Achilles tendon injury is one of the most common injuries that runners experience. Not only can an Achilles tendon injury be very uncomfortable, but it can also take a long time to heal, meaning you will be unable to partake in sports for a while after. While an Achilles tendon injury can have long-term consequences, it does not need to. Being able to spot the signs of an Achilles tendon injury and understanding the best steps for treating it can be hugely useful when it comes to the recovery period.
What Is an Achilles Tendon Injury?
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body, stretching from the bones in your heel up to your calf muscles. Being injured in the Achilles tendon is pretty common, especially if you often run or do similar forms of exercise. There are two main types of Achilles tendon injuries – tendonitis and rupture.
Tendonitis is usually due to overuse or damage to the area. Tendonitis can cause you pain down the back of your leg and around the area of your heel. You might also notice that your tendon is getting harder and thicker.
Unlike tendonitis, which usually builds up over time, you will notice the onset of a rupture suddenly. When your Achilles tendon ruptures, you are likely to hear a pop from your heel which is caused by the tendon fibers tearing. If you experience this, then you should seek immediate medical attention.
How Can You Treat an Achilles Tendon Injury?
Now that you know a little bit more about what an Achilles tendon injury is, it is time to focus on how you can treat this type of injury. The list below outlines some of the most effective methods for treating an Achilles tendon injury.
Once you have noticed the signs of an Achilles tendon injury, it is essential that you rest. Resting the area after the injury is important to ensure you are able to focus on recovery and you are not inadvertently making the injury more serious.
Icing the area after you have been injured is another useful response in the stages of recovery. Icing can be very useful as it helps to reduce swelling.
3. Calf Muscle Training
Doing exercises that help you to strengthen your calf muscle can be important for helping to take pressure off the tendon. This form of exercise is known as eccentric strength training.
4. Stem Cell Treatments
Stem cell treatments can be very useful when it comes to speeding up the recovery process from an Achilles tendon injury. This type of treatment can help your body to gain the support to better repair damaged tissues long term.
5. Walking Support
Using support while walking can help you to reduce strain on your Achilles tendon which will help in the recovery process. There are many forms of walking support that you can use, such as heel lifts in shoes, splits, a walking boot, or orthotic shoes.