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How Long Does It Take for Achilles Tendonitis to Heal?

Learn about Achilles tendonitis, what it is, how it is treated, and how long it takes to make a full recovery.

By Hosea Machio
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated February 16, 2023.

The Achilles tendon is the strongest in the body and connects your calf to your heel. Without it, walking would be impossible, which is why Achilles tendon injuries (like Achilles tendonitis) can be so detrimental.

What Is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury to the Achilles tendon. It is most common in runners who have rapidly increased their run's intensity or duration. It's especially prevalent among middle-aged persons who only play sports on weekends as the foot does not have time to adjust to the stress.

The most common sign of Achilles tendonitis is pain along the back of the leg by your heel.

Notably, because of your body shape and structure (anatomy), you may be more susceptible to Achilles tendonitis if you have:

  • Tight or weak calf muscles.
  • Heel spurs that wear away and weaken the Achilles tendon.
  • Flat arches or overpronated ankles.

How to Treat Achilles Tendonitis

Under the guidance of your doctor, most cases of Achilles tendonitis can be treated, and recurrences can be prevented with relatively simple at-home care. Your doctor may recommend different treatment options if your signs and symptoms are severe or persistent. Tendon tears (ruptures) in more severe forms of Achilles tendonitis may necessitate surgical treatment.

Aside from that, some of the other treatment methods for sore Achilles tendons are discussed below.


Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) and other NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation and pain.

The RICE Method

  • Rest Avoid activities that cause stress on your Achilles tendon by switching to low-impact activities like swimming until the pain subsides.
  • Ice Apply ice on your tendon as needed throughout the day for up to 20 minutes.
  • Compression Use an athletic wrap or surgical tape to compress or apply pressure on the tendon.
  • Elevation To minimize swelling, lie down and elevate your foot above your heart using pillows.

Physical Therapy

Some of the following treatment options may be suggested by a physical therapist:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises These can aid in the healing and strengthening of the Achilles tendon and its supporting tissues.
  • Eccentric stretching This type of exercise involves slowly lowering a weight to lengthen the tendon against resistance and has been proven to be particularly beneficial for chronic Achilles tendon difficulties.

Orthotic devices

Insoles for Achilles tendonitis lift your heels slightly and relieve pressure on the Achilles tendons.

Achilles Tendonitis Recovery Time

The length of time it takes for an Achilles tendon injury to heal is determined mainly by the severity (partial or complete tear), the person's age, and their prior fitness level.

When the Achilles tendon is partially torn, and the goal is for the injury to heal on its own, recovery can take anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. If you have a complete tear that requires surgery, you can begin walking at 3 months and return to sports at 6-12 months.

To reduce your chances of getting Achilles tendonitis again, try the following:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle all year Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet to reduce inflammation.
  • Increase your workout intensity incrementally This will help avoid excess pressure on the Achilles tendon.
  • Adequate stretching Always stretch and warm up before going for a run or playing a sport.