Do you have a painful achilles tendon?
Achilles tendinopathy (achilles tendon pain, swelling, and stiffness) is a common injury that we see. It can feel very limiting, as it encroaches on your ability to participate in “pain-free” activity. As with most injuries, people come into the clinic with one big question: “How long will it take until I feel better?”
Path to achilles tendon rehab
As with most injuries, your course of healing will vary from others with this condition depending on your own risk factors and lifestyle habits.
While some people will see improvement in the first 3-6 months, for the majority of people with Achilles tendinopathy, it can take 3-6 months to see improvement, with some people taking as long as a year to see significant pain resolution.
While these statistics may not be encouraging for people who struggle with this injury or condition, the research does support continuing to engage in recreational activity within tolerance. What this means is even though there continues to be discomfort, it needn’t stop you from enjoying your beloved activities.
Since the recovery timeline can be quite long, consistent self-management is very important for those on this rehab journey. Consistent engagement with your healthcare practitioner and staying the course on your exercise regime is key to recovery. While pain will vary day to day (as with all injuries as our pain experience is highly complex), we encourage people to look at pain AND function on an average basis from week to week. Progress often looks like being able to do MORE with the same level of discomfort. Pain does not always improve before function improves.
If this is an injury you’re struggling with, and you need guidance in how to manage and rehabilitate your Achilles, don’t hesitate to call and book in with one of our physical therapists today.
Silbernagel, K. G., Hanlon, S., & Sprague, A. (2020). Current clinical concepts: conservative management of Achilles tendinopathy. Journal of athletic training, 55(5), 438-447.
Silbernagel, K. G., Thomeé, R., Eriksson, B. I., & Karlsson, J. (2007). Full symptomatic recovery does not ensure full recovery of muscle-tendon function in patients with Achilles tendinopathy. British journal of sports medicine, 41(4), 276-280.