Rehabilitation and physical therapy for an Achilles tendon injury

Rehabilitation and/or physical therapy are the usual treatment for an Achilles tendon injury. For Achilles tendinopathy, physical therapy can decrease your pain and allow you to gradually return to your normal activities. For an Achilles tendon rupture, a rehabilitation program after surgery to repair the rupture can strengthen the tendon and help the tendon heal. This program generally includes physical therapy.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is the treatment of a disease or condition by physical or mechanical means, such as through exercise, heat, or low-voltage electrical current. A physical therapist provides these treatments and will also provide education, instruction, and support for recovery.

For an Achilles tendon injury, the following are often used:


Rehabilitation for an Achilles tendon rupture helps you regain strength and flexibility in the tendon and leg. You can do it at home or in a gym. Your doctor or physical therapist will design a program for you that considers your normal level of activity, your physical fitness, and the extent of injury to the Achilles tendon. You will usually need rehabilitation after an Achilles tendon injury regardless of whether you have surgery.

Your rehabilitation program may include:

  • Stretching and flexibility exercises.
  • Strengthening exercises, such as toe raises.
  • Endurance activities, such as riding a stationary bicycle.
  • Coordination and/or agility training.

Recovery differs among people and depends on how severe the tendon injury is and whether you complete your program. Dedicating time and energy to your rehabilitation program will speed your recovery and help prevent future injury.

Last Updated: January 27, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedics

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