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After Treatment For The Achilles Tendon Injury, What Next?

By Brad Walker
Flexibility Expert
Updated: October 07, 2008
So what happens after the first 48 to 72 hours of your Achilles tendon injury? Let's first take a quick look at how damaged tendons repair themselves.

When any damage occurs to the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments), the body immediately goes into a process of repair. Where the individual fibres rupture, or tear, the body begins to bind the damaged fibres together using a fibrous protein called collagen. Or, as it's more commonly known, scar tissue!

When a tendon is torn or strained, you would expect that the body would repair that damage with new tendon. In reality, this doesn't happen. The tear or rupture, repairs itself with scar tissue.

Now this might not sound like a big deal, but if you have ever suffered an Achilles tendon injury, (or any soft tissue injury) you'll know how annoying it is to keep re-injuring that same old injury, over and over again.

Very brittle, inflexible fibrous material makes up scar tissue. This fibrous material binds itself to the damaged tendon in an effort to draw the damaged fibres back together. What results is a bulky mass of fibrous scar tissue surrounding the injury site. In some cases, it's even possible to see and feel this bulky mass under the skin.

When scar tissue forms around an injury site, it is never as strong as the tissue it replaces. It also has a tendency to contract and deform the surrounding tissues, so not only does this diminish the strength of the tissue, but compromises flexibility of the tissue.
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So, how do we get rid of that annoying formation of scar tissue associated with an Achilles tendon injury or any other type of soft tissue injury?

Firstly, you must keep active! Don't listen to anyone who tells you to do nothing. Now is the time to start active rehabilitation. Most of the swelling will have subsided after the first 48 to 72 hours and you are now ready to start light activity.

Light activity will not only promote blood circulation, but also activates the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system plays a vital role in clearing the body of toxins and waste products, which accumulate in the body following a sports injury. Activity is the only way to activate the lymphatic system.

Before we move on, a quick word of warning. Never, Never, Never do any activity that hurts the injured area. Of course you may feel some discomfort, but NEVER, NEVER push yourself to the point where you're feeling pain. Listen to your body. Don't over do it at this stage of the recovery, you've come too far to blow it now.

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