There can be no doubt about the need to follow a good physical therapy rehabilitation program following an Achilles tendon rupture. Regardless if the tendon was repaired surgically or conservatively with a walking brace, it is important that the tendon and the calf muscles be strengthened progressively as soon as can be tolerated. A walking program should be started as soon as possible, initially in a brace. Gentle movement exercises for the ankle and Achilles tendon should also be started.
Once those exercises can be tolerated, it then is important to start the strengthening program, especially if a return to sports activity is being planned for. This strengthening program should start with just a few simple gentle calf raises over the edge of a step. The number of repetitions will be increased as it can be tolerated. Once the number of repetitions is increased weights can be added to increase the resistance. The weights could be a bar across the shoulders, heavy hand weights or a weighted vest. Whichever way it is done, progression is crucial to increase the strength. The weight should be gradually increased as more repetitions can be done.
As the strength of the tendon and calf muscles increase, other gentle activities can gradually start to be introduced that start to mimic the demands that are required in the sport that is to be returned to. The amount of this is gradually increased as it can be tolerated.
It is important to follow the right advice with strengthening the Achilles tendon and calf muscles following an Achilles tendon rupture and give the tendon time to heal and be resistant to the demands placed on it or the chance of it happening again is increased.