As debilitating as they can be, the good news is that minor to moderate Achilles tendon injuries should heal on their own. You just need to give them time.
To speed the healing, you can:
- Rest your leg. Avoid putting weight on your leg as best you can. You may need crutches.
- Ice your leg. To reduce pain and swelling, ice your injury for 20 to 30 minutes, every three to four hours for two to three days, or until the pain is gone.
- Compress your leg. Use an elastic bandage around the lower leg and ankle to keep down swelling.
- Elevate your leg. Prop you leg up on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down.
- Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs have side effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers. They should be used only occasionally unless your health care provider says otherwise and should be taken with food.
- Use a heel lift. Your health care provider may recommend that you wear an insert in your shoe while you recover. It will protect your Achilles tendon from further stretching.
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises as recommended by your health care provider.
Usually, these techniques will do the trick. But in severe cases of Achilles tendon injury, you may need a cast for six to 10 weeks, or even surgery to repair the tendon or remove excess tissue.