Your doctor can tell if you have an Achilles tendon problem by asking questions about your past health and checking the back of your leg for pain and swelling.
If your symptoms are severe or don't improve with treatment, your doctor may want you to get an X-ray, ultrasound scan, or MRI.
Treatment for mild Achilles tendon problems includes rest, over-the-counter pain medicine, and stretching exercises. You may need to wear well-cushioned shoes and change the way you play sports so that you reduce stress on the tendon. Early treatment works best and can prevent more injury. Orthotic shoe devices can also help reduce stress on the tendon.
Even in mild cases, it can take weeks to months of rest for the tendon to repair itself. It's important to be patient and not return too soon to sports and activities that stress the tendon.
Treatment for severe problems, such as a torn or ruptured tendon, may include surgery or a cast, splint, brace, walking boot, or other device that keeps the lower leg from moving. Exercise, either in physical therapy or in a rehab program, can help the lower leg get strong and flexible again. The tendon will take weeks to months to heal.
Although treatment for Achilles tendon problems takes time, it usually works. Most people can return to sports and other activities.