Treatments for Achilles Tendonitis

The best treatment of an injury to the Achilles tendon is to focus on prevention. Obviously, it's best to avoid injuries altogether, but even in the setting of a problem with the Achilles, one of the most important aspects of treatment is to prevent progression and recurrence of the injury.

Stretching the Achilles tendon before exercise, even at the start of the day, will help to maintain flexibility in the ankle joint. Problems with foot mechanics can also be treated with devices inserted into the shoes. Products such as heel cups, arch supports, and custom orthotics can be used to correct for abnormalities, such as overpronation, and help treat and prevent Achilles tendon injuries when prescribed appropriately based on an individual's specific needs.

achilles stretch
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Resting the painful Achilles tendon will allow the inflammation to subside and allow for healing. A period of rest after the onset of symptoms is important in controlling acute Achilles tendon injuries.


In patients who have more significant or more chronic symptoms, a period of immobilization can help. Either a removable walking boot or sometimes even a cast can allow the inflamed tissue to cool down quickly. The length of time of immobilization should be limited to prevent stiffness or muscle atrophy, but this can be an effective method of quickly relieving inflammation.

Shoe Inserts

A heel wedge can be inserted into the shoe to minimize the stress on the Achilles tendon. These can be placed in both athletic shoes and work shoes. By lifting up the heel of the foot, even by a small amount, a significant amount of force is decreased on the Achilles tendon.

Ice Application

Applying ice to the area can decrease inflammation and decrease inflammation and relieve the pain associated with it. Apply ice after exercise, as well as several other times over the course of the day. Treatments targeted at controlling inflammation is particularly helpful in the treatment of acute inflammatory Achilles tendonitis.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications include a long list of possibilities such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn, Celebrex, and many others. These medications help to control inflammation in and around the tendon. As stated above, anti-inflammatories can be particularly helpful when treating Achilles tendonitis.

A newer type of anti-inflammatory medication that is applied topically as a gel is also often used for the treatment of Achilles tendonitis. Topical anti-inflammatory medications may also be helpful in situations where there is inflammation present causing the pain.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy consisting of stretching and specific strengthening exercises that are probably the most helpful treatments for those with Achilles tendon problems. Ensuring adequate flexibility of the muscles of the calf is one priority. Strengthening of these muscles, specifically eccentric strengthening exercises, have been shown to help with chronic tendon problems.

Eccentric strengthening exercises are specific activities and movements that allow for muscle contraction while the muscle is lengthening. This may sound strange, most often when the muscle contracts, it shortens. However, there are specific activities that allow for muscle lengthening while contracting. These types of exercises have been shown to be important in tendon healing and can promote improved tendon function. A physical therapist or athletic training can help to teach you some specific activities that can help improve your Achilles tendon function.

PRP and Cortisone Injections

Injections can be used for the treatment of Achilles tendon problems, but these are generally avoided because of a lack of effectiveness and possible complications. PRP injections have not yet been proven to help in the treatment of Achilles tendon problems, and cortisone injections can lead to possible rupture of the Achilles tendon. Therefore, injections are used sparingly in the treatment of Achilles tendon problems.


Surgery is usually considered only after a lengthy trial of nonsurgical treatments has been exhausted. Most people can find relief with nonsurgical treatments. Options for surgery include removing the damaged portion of the tendon (debridement), lengthening of the tendon, or moving the tendon attachment. While surgery can be effective, the reality is the vast majority of people with Achilles tendon injuries can find relief with noninvasive treatments. Surgery is typically only considered for individuals who have tried, and failed, the aforementioned treatments for at least 6 months, if not longer.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Achilles Tendinitis.

  2. Deng S, Sun Z, Zhang C, Chen G, Li J. Surgical Treatment Versus Conservative Management for Acute Achilles Tendon Rupture: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2017;56(6):1236-1243. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2017.05.036

Additional Reading

By Jonathan Cluett, MD
Jonathan Cluett, MD, is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He served as assistant team physician to Chivas USA (Major League Soccer) and the United States men's and women's national soccer teams.