Patients who present with more mild cases of Achilles tendinitis may successfully treat their condition with conservative interventions. Your physician may recommend rest, specified physical therapy exercises (such as stretches), and over-the-counter pain relievers that also are effective for reducing inflammation (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In cases of tendinitis that exhibit symptoms of swelling, it is recommended that the patient keep the affected ankle elevated. Application of a cold compress for 15 to 20 minutes is also recommended to reduce pain and swelling. Patients who are regularly involved in sports or exercise routines are strongly encouraged to allow ample time for full recovery. Full recovery may not be achieved for several weeks or even months. Though the patient may no longer be debilitated by symptoms of pain, stiffness, or weakness, the tendon may still not be fully healed. Chronic or persistent cases of tendinitis may require the use of a cast, brace, or boot that prevents movement of the foot and thereby protects the tendon from risk of stress or overuse during the healing process. Patients who are chronically debilitated by pain associated with tendinitis may be considered for steroid injections. For intraarticular injections, corticosteroids are injected directly into the tendon. Periarticular injections are not made directly into the tendon. Rather, corticosteroids are injected into the area surrounding the affected tendon. Patients are encouraged to discuss this treatment option in depth with their physician, as receiving injections has been found to increase the patient’s risk of future tendon rupture. Surgical intervention is a final option for cases that have not responded to other therapeutic techniques. Surgical intervention is always warranted in cases of tendon rupture.
Achilles tendinitis is characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling of the ankle. While many describe the etiology of the condition as following an acute event, it is likely that weakening and degeneration of the tendon developed over time as the result of overload. Individuals who engage in more frequent physical activity are at higher risk than those leading more sedentary lifestyles. Additionally, genetic factors have been linked with an individual’s increase in risk for developing Achilles tendinitis. A number of treatment options are available and are chosen according to the patient’s severity. It is recommended that you speak with your physician to develop an appropriate course of treatment.
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