When dealing with a soft tissue injury such as Achilles tendinitis, it's hard to know what treatment will work best for you. You might be wondering if ice and heat will work for you. ...or maybe even which will work better - ice OR heat.
Icing and heating are 2 of the most natural treatment options available. Compared to medications, surgery and other treatment methods - icing and heating have been around for centuries and have always been used for ankle injury healing as a means to soothe and heal.
We understand that it can get pretty confusing to figure out what conservative treatment method will work best with all of the treatment options available to you today. To get started, you should think about the benefits you'll get from using these therapies.
Ice and heat are the best treatment combination for you if:
Combining cold and warmth is a simple yet effective way to get immediate pain relief and promote long-term healing. In your lifetime you've probably had your mom, family doctor, nurse, surgeon or physical therapist tell you to use ice right after you're injured and something warm from time to time once the swelling's gone down. It's a simple yet very effective way to relieve pain and promote healing in your Achilles.
If you want to be proactive about properly dealing with your Achilles tendonitis, speak to your doctor about adding conservative temperature treatments to your recovery with AidMyAchilles's system using a Cold Compress or Ice Pack and Circulation Boost with an Achilles TShellz Wrap.
Your doctor knows that the sooner cold is applied, the quicker you can reduce inflammation and achieve real pain relief. This will help reduce the chance of a much longer lasting chronic injury. Heat and inflammation are a bad mix and should not be used together. Heat is good at the spa - it will help your body relax, but when it comes to an injury it is not a good idea.
A Cold Compress or Ice Pack work best to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury and during immediate post surgery recovery. Cold should also be used during the first 24 - 72 hours of treatment, combined with resting your injury.
One day, you decide to head out for some grocery shopping - your cart was heavy and it was a long way from the grocery store back to the car. You realize afterwards that you overdid it because your achilles is throbbing and continues to throb even after a couple of hours rest.
Use COLD on your achilles to stop further damage to tendon strain/tearing around the heel area and help ease the pain. Once swelling and redness disappear (usually within 48 hrs) use an Achilles TShellz Wrap 2 to 3 times per day - especially just when you get out of bed to help keep your calf and achilles flexible and limber. This will help reduce the risk of further re-injury.
You're not sure if you have an injury, but the pain seems to come and go only when you're on your feet for an extended period of time or walking, jogging, jumping or running. When you feel the sharp pain, the pain will continue to build up and afterwards your ankle and leg feel weak or unstable.
In this case use cold compression as a natural pain-reliever to reduce swelling. The cold will also decrease the amount of damage being done to your achilles tendon. Rest may also be needed by avoiding the activities that make your ankle pain worse.
T•Shellz Wrap® treatments work best to increase blood flow circulation and relieve pain for older (chronic) injuries, re-injuries (after swelling has been reduced) and during long-term post surgery recovery.
A T•Shellz Wrap® should not be used directly after an injury, as you must wait for swelling to drop. T•Shellz Wrap® treatments should not be started for a least 6 weeks after surgery because inflammation levels will be very high as the healing process starts over again. Any use of a T•Shellz Wrap® should also be combined with gradual movement to stretch out your achilles and lower leg and increase range of motion.
If you have a chronic achilles injury that keeps getting re-injured, we recommend an Achilles TShellz Wrap before activity to loosen up your tissue (making it more flexible). This treatment is shown to increase the elasticity (flexibility) of the soft tissue in and around the treatment area, making it more pliable for activity and less likely to re-injure.
Sometimes we feel pain while doing a certain activity - should you still use T•Shellz Wrap®? Using a TShellz Wrap in the morning before you start your day or before activity can help to boost blood-flow and reduce risk of further strain or injury. Use cold part-way through your day after you have been active so you can decrease pain and inflammation from the flare up.
Using an Achilles T•Shellz Wrap® is a good long-term plan because it will help stimulate blood flow (vasodilation) and can also be used on a preventive basis to relax constricted soft tissue. The use of a T•Shellz Wrap® indirectly enhances the local blood circulatory system, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients - the energy your tissue needs to heal.
With regular use of the Achilles TShellz Wrap:
Our high quality wraps are registered with the FDA as medical devices which meet high manufacturing standards.
When it comes to using ice and heat for treating achilles tendon injuries, it's important to keep in mind that both ice AND heat are very effective ways to relieve pain and heal. Most people will think one is better over the other from their own experience or what a doctor or health professional has previously told them.
The only difference between using ice and heat is that 1 is better for you at a specific time in your healing cycle. Ice is used first, right when you get your injury, to decrease pain / swelling and inflammation. Once swelling has reduced, we then focus on heat based treatments to increase blood flow circulation in the area to stimulate the body's healing response.
Each temperature treatment option has its own unique benefits for the achilles tendon (or any soft tissue, really), and when used together, they provide a powerful advantage to long-term soft tissue health. You may already know that ice or heat feels better on your Achilles, and this could influence your decision too.
The bottom line is that ice and heat are exceptional, natural, pain relievers and healers for your tendon injury.
There are cases where some Achilles tendonitis injuries will respond better to one temperature over the other. We want to help clear up the confusion so you know which is better (icy cold or gentle heat) and how to get the most from your treatment at home.
COLD (ice) is used to treat injuries or conditions that are red, hot, inflamed, swollen and suffering from tissue damage (a tear or recovering from surgery). The use of cold is a natural / organic pain reliever that numbs pain right at the source of your injury. While doing this, the cold also stops tissue break-down and reduces the amount of scar tissue forming (this is very important after surgery).
When cold is applied to an acute muscle or tendon injury, the soft tissue in the area will squeeze on the veins/blood vessels to slow down the localized flow of blood. This in turn clamps down on the amount of fluid leaking into your injured tissue, decreasing swelling. This is why cold is used immediately to treat newer elbow/arm injuries or re-injuries. The cold slows down your body to stop the amount of damage happening to your tissue and decrease your swelling. This cold also has a nice side benefit of numbing the nerves in and around the treatment area, thereby decreasing your pain.
In the medical world this is something called 'Vasoconstriction'.
Cold can Make Your Achilles Injury Worse - How?
Applying cold can restrict blood flow and stiffen / tighten soft tissue. Cold is NOT a good treatment method for your ankle when the tissue is already tight and constricted, because the cold will just stiffen the tissue further.
Instead, use a treatment that will increase blood flow, like the Achilles T•Shellz Wrap® (Circulatory Boost), to relieve tightened and constricted tendons and muscles. Circulatory Boost used at this time will help make your soft tissue elastic and pliable for activity (reaching, athletics, or working).
Cold compression works best to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury and during immediate post surgery recovery. Cold treatment should also be used during the first 24 - 72 hours of treatment, combined with resting your injury.
If you've been suffering for some time with a chronic achilles tendon injury you should only use cold after activity causes you more pain or triggers more inflammatory response symptoms (red, hot, inflamed, swollen). This would be when your Achilles and ankle start to hurt at the end of the day after you've been on your feet, active in athletics, or performing any other tasks that has put a lot of weight or stress on your achilles tendon. When used at this time cold becomes a natural / organic pain reliever, treating the site where you feel the pain.
Sometimes we feel pain while doing a certain activity - should you still use cold? Too much cold can reduce your ability to heal correctly, because cold is a short term pain reliever not a deep tissue healer.
This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through to soft tissue - as such, this tissue begins to break-down and die. Without cold, tissues continue to break-down as they don't get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your achilles, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is an important step to heal lower leg and ankle injuries faster and with less pain!
HEAT is used after you've reduced your swelling / inflammation and the sharp pain is less intense (you have more of a dull / nagging ache and soft tissue tightness in your ankle). Warming up your tissue is a natural way to encourage blood flow to soft tissue. Increasing the temperature of soft tissue will result in increased blood flow circulation. It's the blood in your body that will bring oxygen, nutrients and energy to your injured achilles to help with healing.
When heat is applied to the achilles and ankle, veins and blood vessels start to get bigger (expand) to allow more blood flow through to your damaged or torn soft tissue. This in turn relaxes the area, making the tissue more flexible and elastic. This is why heat is used on older (chronic) injuries - to loosen soft tissue and bring in the blood flow needed for your soft tissue to repair. Your body will begin to heal itself after it is injured - increasing your blood flow with heat will actually speed up this natural process.
Doctors usually call this process 'Vasodilation'.
When we injure ourselves, we start healing right away. The body will naturally raise the temperature at the site of the injury resulting in the inflammatory response (redness, heat sensation, inflammation and swelling). This 'fake fever' leaks blood flow to the area to cool it down and start the healing process.
Adding 'heat' to the injured tissue in your achilles when it's already inflamed and tender may make your body think there's a new threat to your tissue and increase the pain in order to get you to stop. For some people applying heat on inflamed / swollen tissue will cause the injury to swell-up even more (as much as 3 times larger than normal). You'll feel even more pain as the pressure builds in your ankle.
Heat is NOT a good treatment method for inflamed soft tissue injuries, new injuries (within the first 24 to 72 hours), right after surgery or right after a re-injury (over-use and/or sharp, throbbing pain). In these cases, heat should be applied later on in the healing cycle. In the meantime, use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack to decrease any inflammation induced pain.
The primary intent of a heat based soft tissue treatment is to increase blood flow circulation and, as such, stimulate healing for older (chronic) injuries, recent (acute) injuries and for long-term post surgery recovery. Warmer temperatures should be used approximately 3 to 5 days after you first have the injury. Heat should not be started for a least 6 weeks after surgery (on approval from your physician) as inflammation levels will be very high as the healing process starts over again. Any use of heat should also be combined with gradual movement to stretch out your achilles and increase range of motion.
If you have a chronic achilles tendon injury that keeps getting re-injured you should use heat before activity to loosen up your tissue (making it more flexible). When used at this time the warm temperatures naturally extend the elasticity of the soft tissue in your tendon, making it more movable / pliable for activity.
Sometimes we feel pain while doing a certain activity - should you still use heat? Using heat in the morning before you start your day or before activity can help to boost the healing process and reduce your risk of re-injury. Too much heat (especially when you suffer a set-back with swelling / inflammation) can make your inflammation worse. A cold compress should be used part-way through your day when you suffer from on-going pain and inflammation - it is a natural pain-reliever.
Using heat is a good long-term plan because can also be used on a preventive basis to relax constricted soft tissue. Heat will speed up blood circulation. This in turn brings all the components your body needs to heal more efficiently - oxygen, nutrients and energy.
Now you're trying to bring your vaccum cleaner up a set of stairs in your house to clean your bedroom. You forgot about your injury but realize it's there when you try carry, push or pull the vacuum up the stairs with you... Flexing and putting weight on your Achilles tendon just reminded you of the strain, and now you feel a dull ache in the back of your ankle.
Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack if you see signs of swelling. Once swelling and redness disappear (usually within 48 hrs) use an Achilles TShellz Wrap 2 to 3 times per day - especially just when you get out of bed to help keep your calf and achilles flexible and limber. This will help reduce the risk of further re-injury.
You just went to a new fitness / aerobics class and notice your ankle and achilles feel stiff the day after your first class. There's no pain, inflammation or swelling, just stiffness / soreness where your old injury was.
You should use HEAT on your achilles before you work out to loosen up your tendon tissue. Heat can be used again the next day if you notice any residual stiffness. If the stiffness remains, you should continue to use heat to make sure your old achilles tendonitis injury doesn't get worse.
It may seem hard to believe, but our Achilles T•Shellz Wraps® will assist you in recovering from your injury by reducing your swelling and inflammation induced pain and maximizing blood flow where it's needed most.
Here at AidMyAchilles we pride ourselves in helping you with your healing and recovery process. Everyone at AidMyAchilles has tested and used the products, finding solutions to conditions that do not fit into the norm. This dedication to our customers and our products goes hand-in-hand with our guarantees to you as a customer:
Simply call toll free 1-866-237-9608 to place an order with one of our knowledgeable Product Advisers. They have the ability to answer all your questions...ensuring you only receive the products you need.
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The T•Shellz Wraps® are FDA Registered Medical Devices, are completely safe for patients to use themselves as instructed, at home.
Once treatment is complete, you also have the option of tightening the straps to provide light compression support for your injured joint. You can also unplug the device from the power supply enabling you to move around the home, office or clinic freely and still use the wrap for support and comfort.
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Living with pain is never easy and we encourage you to call us with any questions you have related to your achilles injury. We will do our best to help.
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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. Always consult your doctor and/or Physical Therapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they are right for you and your condition.
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before using any of our outstanding products to make sure they're right for you and your condition or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition. Always see your doctor for a proper diagnosis as there are often many injuries and conditions (some very serious) that could be the cause of your pain.
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