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Achilles Tendonitis Treatment Overview

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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • You can usually treat this at home by avoiding activities that cause pain, using ice and heat, wearing a brace, and taking OTC pain medications.
See home treatments

When you may need a provider

  • Symptoms aren’t improving.
  • Your pain is severe or affecting your daily activities.
See care providers

Emergency Care

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Go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • A popping or snapping sound from the back of your heel or calf when the injury occurs
  • Pain and swelling near the heel
  • You can’t push the foot downward or “push off" when you walk.
  • You can’t stand on your toes.

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All treatments for achilles tendonitis
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Read more about achilles tendonitis care options

When to see a healthcare provider

You can see a healthcare provider—either a primary care provider or an orthopedist—to get a diagnosis of Achilles tendonitis. Symptoms include swelling or hard knots in the area of the Achilles tendon, along with pain and tenderness over the tendon.

Also see a provider if your pain is not improving after 2–3 weeks of home treatments or if pain is worsening.

Getting diagnosed

Your doctor can usually diagnose Achilles tendonitis based on your symptoms and a physical exam. But they may order imaging tests (X-ray, ultrasound, MRI) to help with the diagnosis.

What to expect from your doctor visit

  • If OTC pain medications haven’t helped, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different antiinflammatory drug like celecoxib (Celebrex) or meloxicam.
  • You may be referred to a podiatrist (foot specialist) who may suggest custom-fitted shoe inserts called orthotics. These can help stabilize the position of the foot and take the strain off of the Achilles tendon.
  • You may be referred to a physical therapist who can teach you exercises and stretches that support healing and strengthen the Achilles tendon and nearby muscles.
  • For chronic Achilles tendonitis, your provider may recommend additional therapies, including injection therapy with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or glucose solution, low-level laser therapy, dry needling of the tendon, or topical nitroglycerin.
  • In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Prescription Achilles tendonitis medications

  • Pain medication: celecoxib (Celebrex), meloxicam, topical nitroglycerin

Types of Achilles tendonitis providers

  • A primary care provider can treat mild symptoms.
  • An orthopedist treats bone, muscle, and tendon injuries.
  • A physical therapist can show you stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • If you need surgery, you will be referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in joint and bone surgery.
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Frequently asked questions