Rehabilitation for an Achilles Tendon Rupture Using Physical Therapy

  

The Achilles tendon is the thick cord that connects the heel to the calf muscle on the lower, backside of each leg. When this tendon ruptures it often causes a snapping sound and an immediate sharp pain that is compared to being shot or kicked, according to the Mayo Clinic. A rupture of this nature is often treated using physical therapy. The physical therapy helps to restore strength and flexibility without shortening the tendon.

 

  1. Stretching Exercises

  2. Use stretching exercises to increase flexibility and relive pain associated with an Achilles rupture, according to RevolutionHealth.com.
    Sit on the floor with your legs extended and toes pointing up. Reach and grab your big toe on the affected leg and pull the toe gently back toward you, holding the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat this stretch four times, five times per day.

    Further stretch the tendon by standing with the front balls of your feet on the edge of a thick phonebook, stair or curb. Hold on to something sturdy for balance. With your knees straight, lower your heels to the floor until you feel the stretch of the Achilles tendon. Hold the position for 20 seconds and repeat four times, five sets per day.

    Ultrasound Heat Therapy

  3. Use ultrasound heat therapy to relax muscles, increase their elasticity and promote healing, according to RevolutionHealth.com.
    A physical therapist may use high-pitched sound waves from an ultrasound machine that are inaudible to the human ear to penetrate deep into the tissue of the Achilles tendon to heat it. This will make the tendon more elastic and will improve the effects of stretching exercises. The ultrasound waves act on the tendon at a cellular level to promote the healing process.
    Prolonged use of this therapy can eventually damage tissue and is not recommended for use on chlidren . 

    TENS

  4. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy used to relieve pain from various injuries, including a rupture of the Achilles tendon. TENS works by emitting a low-voltage electrical current at the site of the injury, resulting in reduced pain.
    Use this method by attaching electrodes to the heel area that are then attached to a small electrical device. This treatment will cause the nerves to send messages to the brain that will scramble normal pain signals and cause production of extra endorphins, which remove some perception of pain.

    Brace

  5. Wearing a night brace to bed is another form of physical therapy that can prevent improper healing of a torn Achilles.
    The night brace holds the foot in a position that does not allow the tendon to tighten during sleep. The nightly tightening of the tendon may keep it from healing properly, therefore prolonging the effects of the rupture



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