A little while back I wrote about the initial treatment for Achilles tendon injury, so today I’m going to cover the long-term, or ongoing treatment necessary for a full recovery.
When you have an injury like Achilles tendinitis (or Achilles tendon rupture) your body goes through a very specific process to heal the damage, and the treatments you use in the early stages of rehab are very different to the treatments you use in the later stages.
If you have applied my recommended treatments for the first 48-72 hours, most of the pain and swelling will have subsided to the point where some movement is now safe.
Movement and light activity promote blood circulation and activate the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system sheds toxins and waste products from the body and specifically from soft tissue after a sports injury. Activity is the only way to get the lymphatic system working.
Of course, while common sense should prevail, it goes without saying (but needs to be said anyway)… Do not, under any circumstances, do any activity that hurts the injured area. Some discomfort is okay and often necessary, but pain is never necessary or wise. The body is telling you something if there is pain; listen and back off.
To speed healing during this phase of the rehab process, two important treatments are necessary.
- Increase oxygen and nutrient flow to the injured Achilles tendon. Tendons receive very little blood flow as compared to muscles, so getting oxygen and nutrients to the injured area is important. The most common methods used to do this include ultrasound, TENS and heat.
- Next, deep tissue massage is used to breakdown and re-align the formation of scar tissue. Begin with light strokes and gentle pressure and continue until a firm touch can be tolerated. Use your thumbs to work as deeply as possible; the goal is to break up the scar tissue, as minimizing scar tissue formation is very important in this phase of Achilles tendinitis treatment.
While in this phase of your recovery, drink plenty of fluids. Water is vital to helping muscles and soft tissue recover and will help the lymphatic system flush toxins and waste.
To learn more about the long-term treatment for Achilles tendinitis and Achilles tendon rupture take a look at our comprehensive, 3 part Achilles tendinitis article.
Until next time, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.
The Stretch Coach
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