Achilles Tendon Injury Treatment

The Achilles tendon plays a vital role in mobility by connecting the powerful calf muscles to the heel bone. This tendon is vulnerable to painful injuries that can limit walking and movement. Injuries to this tendon can occur due to overuse, improper footwear, tight calf muscles, sudden increases in activity, or physical stress. Achilles tendon injuries range from mild tendonitis to full ruptures, causing swelling and discomfort in the back of the heel, which hampers normal function.

foot muscles and tendons
Foot muscles and tendons

Injuries to the Achilles tendon require the expertise of specialists for proper treatment and recovery. Our New Jersey orthopedic specialists and sports medicine doctors offer personalized care and provide expert diagnosis and comprehensive treatment options to optimize recovery for Achilles tendon injuries.

Schedule Your Achilles Injury Evaluation

Achilles Injury Causes

Various factors can increase the risk of Achilles injuries, including:

  • Overuse in sports or work activities
  • Sudden increases in physical activity or exercise intensity
  • Improper footwear that doesn’t correctly support the foot or ankle
  • Extremes in foot structure, like flat feet or high arches

Achilles Injury Symptoms

If you have an Achilles tendon injury, you might:

  • Feel pain in your heel
  • Have a stiff and swollen heel
  • Hear a snapping noise when you get hurt
  • Find it hard to move

Recognizing these symptoms early is important for preventing further damage.

Achilles tendon rupture is a common injury in the lower leg. It often happens to adults in their 30s to 50s and can be very painful. If you don't usually do a lot of physical activity and then suddenly play sports like soccer, tennis, or basketball, you might hurt your Achilles tendon. This is common for people who are active mostly on the weekends, sometimes called "weekend warriors." An Achilles tendon injury can feel like a sudden snap or pop in the leg, like the feeling of being kicked.

Sometimes, an Achilles injury is mistakenly thought to be an ankle sprain.

People who have the following may be more at risk for hurting their Achilles tendon:

  • Have had tendon issues before
  • Have had shots to reduce pain and swelling
  • Have joint diseases that cause swelling

Diagnosis of Achilles Injury

A precise diagnosis is critical for effective treatment. Our experienced orthopedic specialists carefully check your Achilles tendon injury to accurately diagnose it, including:

  • Reviewing your medical history review
  • Conducting a physical exam assessing flexibility, swelling, and gait
  • Ordering imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or ultrasound to visualize the tendon

A diagnosis may be one of the following:

  • Tendonitis. The tendon is tender, swollen, and inflamed.
  • Partial tear. The tendon fibers have experienced a partial rupture.
  • Complete rupture. There is a complete tear through the entire tendon.

Achilles Injury Treatment in New Jersey

Treatment for an Achilles tendon injury ranges from rest and physical therapy to surgery. Our treatments include:

  • RICE technique. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) can manage swelling and pain and allow the tendon to heal.
  • Immobilization. Wear a boot or cast to help the injury heal.
  • Physical therapy exercises. Strengthen the tendon and surrounding muscles while building flexibility.
  • Anti-inflammatory treatment. Take prescription or over-the-counter medications to address pain and swelling. Sometimes, doctors administer corticosteroid injections.

Our skilled orthopedic surgeons use the latest minimally invasive procedures to repair the tendon in cases where other treatments are unsuccessful. We also offer innovative therapies such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and regenerative medicine techniques.

For optimal recovery from an Achilles injury, treatment may involve:

  • Detailed evaluation and diagnosis
  • Customized treatment plans based on individual needs
  • Advanced non-surgical and surgical techniques

Recovering from an Achilles Tendon Injury

Choosing an experienced orthopedic specialist is crucial for a successful recovery.

We're here to help you get better from start to finish, from your first assessment to complete rehabilitation. Our state-of-the-art facilities, experienced orthopedic specialists, and sports medicine teams ensure a comprehensive approach to your Achilles tendon injury.

The time it takes to get better can be different for everyone. Minor injuries might get better in just a few weeks, but more serious injuries, especially if you need surgery, can take 4 to 6 months to recover fully. Our tailored rehabilitation programs ensure the best possible outcome and quickest return to activity.

Rehabilitation is an essential part of recovery. Our orthopedic team will create a personalized recovery plan that may include:

  • Gradual weight-bearing exercises
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Gait training and balance exercises

Expert Care for Achilles Tendon Injuries

As the state's largest and most comprehensive academic health care system, RWJBarnabas Health in New Jersey has award-winning medical services and highly skilled, board-certified orthopedic surgeons. Our facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment essential for accurately diagnosing and effectively treating Achilles tendon injuries.

Don't let Achilles tendon pain go untreated. Contact us today.

Request an Appointment

Patient Stories

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