To treat a torn Achilles tendon, an individual may need to wear a cast or walking boot to allow the tendon to heal, but surgery may be preferable if the tendon is completely ruptured, confirms Mayo Clinic. After treatment, the patient must complete a rehabilitation program to strengthen the leg muscles before returning to normal activities in four to six months.
Choosing nonsurgical treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon eliminates risks associated with surgery, but the risk of re-rupturing the tendon increases, according to Mayo Clinic. This method also lengthens the recovery process. During a surgical procedure, the surgeon makes an incision at the back of the leg to stitch the tendon together, reinforcing it with other tendons if necessary. Complications may include nerve damage and infection, but infections are less likely with smaller incisions. Although studies show that nonsurgical and surgical treatment are equally effective as of 2015, younger people are more likely to choose surgery, while older people opt for nonsurgical treatment.
To treat a minor to moderate Achilles tendon injury, the patient should avoid putting weight on the leg, ice the area, elevate the leg when seated, compress the lower leg with bandaging and take anti-inflammatory painkillers, recommends WebMD. A heel lift inserted into the shoe may help protect the tendon from overstretching, and strengthening exercises may also be helpful.