Achilles Tendon Injury: Physical Therapy and Rehab - Topic Overview
Rehabilitation (rehab) and/or physical therapy are the usual
treatment for an Achilles tendon injury. For
Achilles tendinopathy, physical therapy can decrease
your pain and allow you to gradually return to your normal activities. For an
Achilles tendon rupture, a rehab program after surgery to repair the
rupture can strengthen the tendon and help the tendon heal. This program
typically includes physical therapy.
Physical therapy is the treatment of a disease or condition by physical or
mechanical means, such as through exercise, heat, or low-voltage electrical
current. A physical therapist provides these treatments and will also provide
education, instruction, and support for recovery.
For an Achilles
tendon injury, the following are often used:
- Stretching and flexibility exercises
are key to helping your tendon heal without shortening and becoming chronically
- Strengthening exercises will help you regain strength you might have lost while the tendon was healing. And they will help protect you from another injury.
Ultrasound heat therapy improves blood
circulation, which may aid the healing process.
Massage helps you increase flexibility and blood
circulation in the lower leg and can help prevent further
- Wearing a
night brace keeps your foot flexed and prevents your Achilles tendon from
tightening while you sleep. An Achilles tendon that tightens at night is not
able to heal properly.
Rehabilitation for an Achilles tendon
rupture helps you regain strength and flexibility in the tendon and leg. You
can do it at home or in a gym. Your doctor or physical therapist will design a
program for you that considers your normal level of activity, your physical
fitness, and the extent of injury to the Achilles tendon. You will likely need
rehab after an Achilles tendon injury regardless of whether you have
Your rehab program may include:
Recovery differs among people and depends on how severe the
tendon injury is and whether you complete your program. Dedicating time and
energy to your rehab program will speed your recovery and help prevent