An Achilles tendon tear is a partial or complete tear that develops when the Achilles tendon (the tough, fibrous cord connecting the muscles behind your calf to your heel bone) gets stretched beyond its capacity. Pain near your heel or down the back of your leg, bone spurs, crepitus (popping sensation), swelling that often gets worse when you’re active, and difficulty flexing your foot are some of its symptoms.
If you’re experiencing these, and they don’t respond to conservative intervention, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgery followed by a course of physical therapy.
Your physical therapist, after doing a thorough evaluation, will craft an individualized program that incorporates a combination of therapeutic modalities (e.g., deep massage, ultrasound therapy, etc.) and exercises. These components are all geared toward helping you feel and move better, so you can successfully return to your normal activities.
Let’s explore the benefits of physical therapy for Achilles tendon tears.
Improves Range of Motion
Your physical therapist will likely have you start with gentle ankle range-of-motion exercises, which are beneficial for restoring the flexibility and mobility of the joint.
ROM exercises progress from passive to active ROM. Passive exercises are those in which you don’t exert any effort.
Your exercise program may include the following ROM exercises:
- Passive ankle ROM exercises (in all directions)
- Ankle pumping exercises
- Active ankle ROM exercises (in all directions)
- Ankle alphabet exercises
Restores Your Balance and Proprioception
Your physical therapist may also incorporate specific exercises to restore or improve your balance and proprioception (your body’s ability to sense its action, location, and movements) since you’ve had to go through a period of immobilization
Examples of exercises that your PT may have you do to restore your balance and proprioception include the following:
- Single leg stance
- Standing on foam
- Standing on balance board
- Using a BAPS (Biomechanical Ankle Platform System) board
Helps Prevent Future Injuries to Your Achilles Tendon
You may also have to perform ankle-strengthening exercises, which are beneficial for equipping your ankle and lower leg muscles to withstand greater force, thus helping you minimize your risk of sustaining future injuries to your Achilles tendon and ankle.
The following are some of the ankle-strengthening exercises your PT may have you do:
- Ankle resistance exercises
- Calf raises
- Short arc quad sets
- Soleus presses – The soleus is a broad, flat, powerful muscle located beneath the gastrocnemius (large posterior muscle of the calf) that serves as an antigravity muscle and helps you maintain an upright posture.
- Straight leg raises
Physical Therapy Services in Austin, TX
For first-rate physical therapy services in Austin, visit us at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness. Our physical therapists pride themselves on their expertise, extensive experience, and dedication to delivering unmatched patient experience and treatment outcomes.
We have helped scores of patients not only in Austin, but also in Round Rock, Manor, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Bee Cave, and Hutto (where our satellite offices are) recover successfully from their musculoskeletal conditions, so let us help you, too!
To see one of our physical therapists, call our main office today at (833) 215-9272 or our satellite office near you. You may also use this appointment request form.