The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and it performs a highly essential function as you walk, run, and even stand. As such, straining your Achilles tendon can be very painful, and it may greatly impede your daily activities, let alone any athletic endeavors you may have. Luckily, when the injury is just a strain and not an outright tear of the tendon, conservative treatments will generally allow you to heal within the span of a few weeks. Here are the various treatments your podiatrist may recommend for a strained Achilles tendon.
1. Rest and elevate your leg.
Elevate your leg. In the evening when you are watching television, lay down and put your leg up on a few pillows. When you're alone in your office at work, pull an extra chair up and prop your leg up on it. Ideally, you should have your leg lifted above the level of your heart, but even having it up level with your core is better than nothing. All of this rest and elevation helps ensure fluid does not accumulate around your tendon, which would restrict blood flow and impede healing.
2. Compress your leg.
Look for a compression sock that reaches up to about knee level. These are often sold in pharmacies, and your podiatrist may even be willing to sell you one directly. A compression sock will help prevent fluid from accumulating around your tendon. You should wear it during the day when you are out and active. Depending on the severity of your strain, your podiatrist may also recommend wearing it in the evening.
3. Take ibuprofen.
Taking ibuprofen will make your tendon feel better, but it will actually do more than that; it will further help relieve inflammation. Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, only relieves pain — not inflammation — so it is not a worthy substitute.
4. Purchase a heel lift.
Ask your podiatrist to make a heel lift that you can place inside your shoe. This will take some pressure off your Achilles tendon as you walk and move about, helping it to heal faster. Depending on the way your foot is built, you may actually need to keep wearing a heel lift after you recover from the initial injury to prevent additional strains.
A strained Achilles tendon can be very painful, but with the steps above, you will hopefully be back to yourself within a few short weeks. Contact a local foot doctor for more information.