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Bouncing Back After an Achilles Tendon Injury

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Bouncing Back After an Achilles Tendon Injury

If you’re currently suffering from an Achilles tendon injury, you know better than anyone that it can be a major setback, affecting your mobility and daily activities. Whether you’re an athlete or simply enjoy a more active lifestyle, recovering from this type of injury can feel like a major setback. 

Don’t worry, board-certified podiatrist Scott Shields, DPM, and our dedicated team at Total Foot and Ankle in Enid, Oklahoma, specialize in providing comprehensive care so you can get back on your feet. Here’s how you can navigate your recovery with ease. 

Understanding the Achilles tendon injury 

Before we get into the ins and outs of recovery, it’s important that you understand what an Achilles tendon injury involves: 

What is the Achilles tendon? 

First and foremost, the Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is crucial for walking, running, and jumping. 

Types of injuries

Injuries range from tendonitis (inflammation) to partial or complete ruptures. 

Common causes 

Overuse, sudden increases in physical activity, and poor circulation are all common causes.

Immediate steps after injury

If you suspect an Achilles tendon injury, taking the right immediate steps can make a huge difference on the path to recovery: 

Rest

Avoid putting weight on your injured leg and use crutches if necessary. 

Ice

Apply ice to reduce swelling and pain.

Compression

Use an elastic bandage to minimize swelling if needed. 

Elevation

Keep your leg elevated above heart level to reduce swelling if needed.  

Professional help

When in doubt, consult with Dr. Shields and our team as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Rehabilitation and physical therapy 

Rehabilitation is a critical component of recovering from an Achilles tendon injury. Here’s what to expect: 

Physical therapy 

With physical therapy, you’ll be guided through exercises that restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Early exercises might include gentle stretching and strengthening. 

Gradual progression 

As your tendon heals, you’ll be given more challenging exercises. Patience is key — rushing can lead to setbacks. 

Strength training 

Focus on strengthening your calf muscles, as well as the surrounding muscles in your leg, to provide better support to your tendon. 

Return to activity

Getting back to your regular activities should be a gradual process. Remember to be patient with yourself during every step of your recovery. Here’s what we recommend: 

Listen to your body

Pay attention to any signs of pain or discomfort. Pushing too hard can be a quick way to cause re-injury. 

Follow your plan 

Our team will give you a return-to-activity plan. Follow it closely to ensure a safe recovery. 

Maintain strength and flexibility  

Continue with strength and flexibility exercises even after you’ve returned to your normal activities to prevent any future injuries. 

Footwear and orthotics 

We highly recommend investing in proper footwear that provides good support and considering orthotics if we recommend them for your specific case. 

Ultimately, recovering from an Achilles tendon injury requires time, patience, and dedication. By understanding the nature of this complex injury and taking our recommended steps to care for it, you’ll be on your way to bouncing back. 

If you’re ready to learn more, contact us at Total Foot and Ankle to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shields today!