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Treating a pulled Achilles tendon is not a difficult process, but should be done in order to ensure the condition does not worsen. Most prescribed treatments involve rest, followed by protection of the tendon, and then exercises that may aid in strengthening the tendon or the area around it. If the injury is ignored, the Achilles tendon may eventually rupture, with surgery and casting being the most common options at that point.
If you are unsure if you have a pulled Achilles tendon, check with your personal physician. Often, the physician may wish to examine you in person to make sure that something else is not causing the pain. A doctor may also wish to prescribe a non-steroidal inflammatory (NSAIDs) to help, or suggest you use an over-the-counter medication until the inflammation goes down.
Most of the time when a person has pulled his or her Achilles tendon, it is the result of exercise, playing sports, or because of a physically-demanding job. It is common in high-impact sports such as tennis and track. As soon as you feel pain in the tendon, immediately stop the activity. Applying ice as soon as possible can help soothe the injury, but cold therapy should not be applied for any more than 15 minutes at a time.
The next step is to rest the injury as much as possible. If it makes you feel too uncomfortable to walk, stay off your feet. Otherwise, some light walking may be fine, but crutches or a wheel chair will help ensure there is no further damage done to the tendon. The length of time to stay off a pulled Achilles tendon varies greatly, and each individual patient must determine when the pain has subsided.
After the pain is over, preventing another pull is of great importance. Using an ankle wrap or Achilles tendon support should help keep the area compressed, and help prevent it from moving, which is likely what resulted in an Achilles tendon pull. Simply using a non-adhesive bandage can work just as effectively, but the other products are more convenient to put on and remove.
A number of exercises may also help strengthen the tendon so that future pulls or ruptures are less likely. Deep knee bends, toe stretches, or calf stretch exercises can help build up the muscles around the tendon, and thus help prevent future injury. Weightlifting focused on the lower extremities is also beneficial. If starting an exercise regimen for your pulled Achilles tendon, be careful that you do not start too soon after the injury or try to do too much. Gradually build up your intensity over a period of time.