Your Achilles tendon has a very difficult job—you need it to support your entire weight, and you also need its power and flexibility to drive virtually every form of personal locomotion, from walking and running to skipping and jumping. It’s no surprise, then, that injuries occur, especially among active middle-aged adults.
So, let’s say you join the throng of millions who will struggle with an Achilles injury at one point or another. What can you expect your recovery to look like?
That depends greatly, of course, on the severity of the injury and the chosen treatment course. For a simple, relatively minor case of Achilles tendinitis, a few weeks of gentle home care steps such as rest, stretching, and maybe the occasional OTC painkiller may be all you need. When necessary, additional steps such as physical therapy, custom orthotics, or injections may be recommended to combat a particularly stubborn case.
The other end of the spectrum would be a bad Achilles tendon tear, or rupture. Ruptures may be treated with or without surgery, but in any case typically require a period of casting or wearing a walking boot followed by several months of physical therapy. These exercises typically start out relatively gently (the first priority being to restore range of motion), but are followed with more rigorous, intense therapy to regain strength and power.
Depending on your initial health, the extensiveness of the surgery, and your adherence to rehab instructions, it make take 4-6 months (or more) to make a full return to routine activities or your desired level of function. If surgery is required, of course, then there will be additional steps to undertake in order to protect the incision site and prevent any infection.
Obviously, the best policy is to avoid an injury in the first place. The second-best policy, though, is to see Dr. McSpadden as soon as you notice any problems, before symptoms have time to get worse. A simple case of tendinitis may often be fixed without any medical intervention, but untreated or ignored inflammation weakens the Achilles tendon and makes a rupture or more serious injury—requiring surgery and extensive rehab—much more likely.
Fortunately, North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute can help you manage your Achilles pain and get you on the path to healing. You can request an appointment online, or give our offices a call at 512-593-2949.