What are the Different Types of Achilles Tendon Rehab?

Alex Paul

The Achilles tendon rehab program that is suitable for a particular person will depend on the type of injury as well as the severity of the problem. For example, conservative treatment techniques are often used for Achilles tendinitis while surgery is usually the only option for a total rupture of the tendon. For this reason, a sports doctor should always be consulted as soon as moderate or severe pain is felt in the region of the Achilles tendon.

A diagram of the Achilles tendon and common tendon problems.
A diagram of the Achilles tendon and common tendon problems.

There are several different injuries that could occur to the Achilles tendon but the main two are tendinitis and a full or partial rupture. This tendon is an important part of many daily activities such as walking or running. For this reason, it is a strong tendon that has to be able to cope with large forces.

A cast is often required for achilles tendonitis recovery.
A cast is often required for achilles tendonitis recovery.

Unfortunately, damage to the tendon can occur either through overuse or a sudden movement. The Achilles tendon was one of the worst parts of the body for athletes to injure, as in the past treatment for a rupture was regularly unsuccessful. Today, modern techniques mean that even a total tendon rupture can be treated successfully as long as surgery occurs quickly after the initial injury.

Treatment for Achilles tendinitis usually begins with rest. In some cases, immobilization of the ankle joint will allow for the symptoms to heal without being constantly reinjured. Usually a simple boot will be used but sometimes a cast is required. Other Achilles tendon rehab options for tendinitis include icing the injury and using anti-inflammatory medicines. Physical therapy is essential for an effective strengthening and stretching routine that will reduce the chance of a further injury.

A total Achilles rupture occurs when an athlete performs a sudden upwards movement. The pain is sudden and there may even be a loud noise to accompany the rupture. Achilles tendon rehab for a ruptured tendon must start quickly after the injury otherwise permanent problems will develop. Surgery is often required within several days of the initial injury to reattach the tendon and start rehab.

After the surgery a large amount of Achilles tendon rehab will be required to return to sports. Often this rehab stage will last for up to nine months or more. The aim of rehabilitation is to let the tendon heal and then gradually get the athlete back to fitness. Achilles tendon rehab includes range of motion exercises, stretching and sports massage.

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