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Physical Therapy for Achilles Tendonitis - PT Treatments

Inflamed Achilles Tendon
Physical therapy can help manage your symptoms of pain and swelling of Achilles tendonitis. In addition, your physical therapist can teach you exercises to improve your flexibility and muscle strength that can help you return to your normal activities.

Physical therapy for Achilles tendonitis usually involves the use of ice or heat, exercises and modalities.

  • Ice application
    If you have pain and swelling in your Achilles tendon, your physical therapist will apply an ice pack. The pack will be wrapped in towel and put over your injured area for 15 to 20 minutes. This can help relieve your pain and reduce swelling.

  • Hot pack application
    Your physical therapist will apply a hot pack wrapped in towel over your injured Achilles tendon for 20 minutes. This is done only when you do not have swelling. Applying hot pack helps relieve pain and soften your Achilles tendon. This will be done before performing stretching or exercises.

    Your PT may advise you to put ice or hot pack on your injured Achilles tendon when you get home. Your therapist will determine which pack you can apply depending on whether swelling is still present or not. You should follow your physical therapist's instructions for home care.

  • Manual stretching
    Gentle manual stretching may be done by your physical therapist. This can help stretch your tight calf muscle and tendon and help restore your joint range of motion.

  • Stretching Exercises
    Your physical therapist will teach you stretching exercises that you will perform to stretch your tight calf or tendon. Your therapist will be patient to teach you on how to do the Achilles tendon stretching exercises properly.

    Like icing or hot pack application, your physical therapist may also advise you to continue performing the stretching exercise for Achilles tendon when you go home after your physical therapy session. Again, follow you PT's home instructions.

  • Modalities
    Your physical therapist may also recommend the use of electrotherapeutic modalities or devices such as ultrasound and iontophoresis during your physical therapy treatment.

Your physical therapist may also recommend other physical therapy treatment options for your Achilles tendonitis, depending on your needs and goals. Often, he or she will give you instructions on how you can manage your pain and what exercises you can do at home.

If you decide to undergo physical therapy for your Achilles tendonitis, you should not consider the physical therapy treatments mentioned above as complete. Your personal physical therapist is your best source for what specific treatments are best for you.

Suggested Readings

Tendinitis. MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine (NLM). Accessed: November 10, 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tendinitis.html

Bursitis and Tendinitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Information Clearinghouse, National Institutes of Health (NIH). Accessed: November 10, 2010. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis/default.asp

Photo - © David Mangusan Jr.