Ice vs Heat for Treating Your
Achilles Tendon Injury
When dealing with an Achilles tendon injury 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.
What's Better to Treat Your Achilles: Ice or Heat?
Ice and heat are the best treatment combination for you if:
- You're looking to heal quickly and want to boost the natural power of pain relief and healing in your body.
- You don't want to repeatedly pay the cost (both from your wallet and time needed for long-term healing) of injections, medications, hospital visits or surgery.
- You want to prevent any future injury, pain, sprain, pull, or tear in your Achilles tendon.
- You want to control your own treatment and healing at home, on your own time.
- You're looking for a tried, tested, and true method of healing that's been used for centuries and has worked for countless other achilles pain sufferers.
How to Use Superior Temperature Treatments to Heal & Relieve Pain from Your Torn Achilles Tendon!
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.
Achilles tendon injuries can happen to anyone, right now there are thousands of doctors and physical therapists dealing with patients that require a solution to treat their ankle injury fast and heal it (where possible).
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 Compression Achilles Cold Compress or Ice Pack and Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy with an Achilles TShellz Wrap.
The AidMyAchilles at-home temperature therapy healing system gives you:
- Products that are approved by the FDA for use at home.
- An Achilles T•Shellz Wrap with deeply penetrating Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy right into your damaged soft tissue where you need treatment most (unlike other methods that just heat your skin - like hot water bottles, hot baths, etc.)
- An Achilles TShellz Wrap with deeply penetrating Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy right into your achilles tendon tissue where you need treatment most (unlike other methods that just heat your skin - like hot water bottles, hot baths, etc.)
- Soft, plush, neoprene wraps - flexible and comfortable for exceptional treatment.
- A Treatment Formula adhering to the RICE concept - with an T•Shellz Wrap used to increase blood flow circulation before activity and an Cold Compress or Ice Pack used to relieve pain / swelling after activity.
These tools will help you achieve long-term healing results and prevent re-injury.
Not Sure How to Use Ice and Heat to Treat Your Achilles?
We Have Answers that can Help...
The goal of this webpage is to give people the information they need to use - simple, effective, natural treatments like ice and heat to heal their injury.
We can give you the information you need to understand how to use temperature therapy (at home) to relieve your pain and heal your Achilles tendon injury. If you want to discuss options with one of our trained AidMyAchilles Advisers call our office toll-free at 1-866-237-9608 or Internationally at +1-705-532-1671.
There is no cost or obligation to this service.
We all want to begin healing as quickly as possible and with the right information, it can happen sooner than you think (it has for thousands of others who took the time to contact us).
You can be assured we will do our best to answer any question or concern you have. Living with ankle pain is never easy and we can help to provide answers about prevention, causes, treatment options, and ways to manage your injury for the short and long term.
All it takes is one call - 1-866-237-9608
Which is Better for Treating Your Achilles Tendon: Ice or Heat?
People get confused with how ice and heat work to relieve pain and heal. They also get confused with which temperature treatment is better for their injury and how to get the right amount of "ice" or "heat" for effective treatment.
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 / physical therapist 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. Heat comes later, to increase blood flow circulation and stimulate the body's healing response.
So which is better?
They'll ultimately work for you in the same way. Each temperature has its own unique benefits for your achilles tendon, and when used togther they provide a powerful advantage to long-term healing. 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 will respond better to 1 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.
How Do You Use Ice / Cold as Pain Relief for Your Achilles Tendon Injury?
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). Cold therapy is a natural / organic pain reliever that numbs pain right at the source of your injury. While doing this the cold also stops cellular break-down and reduces the amount of scar tissue forming (this is very important after surgery).
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.
If you feel you have contricted or tight tissue, you should use a therapy that will increase blood flow instead - like Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy (Blood Circulation Boost Therapy). Increasing blood flow at this time will help to relieve any tightness or stiffness. Blood Circulation Boost Therapy used at this time will also help to relax / elongate your tissue making it much more pliable for activity.
When Should You Use Cold to Treat Your Achilles Pain?
Cold compression works best to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury and during immediate post surgery recovery. Cold therapy 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 therapy can reduce your ability to heal correctly, because cold is a short term pain reliever not a deep tissue healer.
We put milk in the fridge so it will stay fresh longer. We do this so it will stay in the same condition as when we bought it. Your injury is no different. Too much cold will keep your injury in the same state - slowing down the healing process. This can sometimes make chronic injuries linger even longer. Heat (Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy) should be used when you suffer from a chronic, tight or stiff Achilles injury and after you reduce swelling, pain and inflammation with cold.
Here are a couple of examples for when to use cold (ice):
You have an ACL (anterior crucial ligament) injury that's been on-going for quite some time.
You're having a "good day" (your injury is feeling fine) and decide to walk the dog a few extra blocks for a longer route. You realize afterwards that was a bad idea because the back of your ankle is throbbing and even more painful than the day before.You should use COLD on your achilles to stop additional tearing or damage in your tendon and help ease the pain.
You've previously suffered from a strain in your achilles tendon
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 sprain, and now you feel a dull ache in the back of your ankle. You stop and ask someone else to bring the vacuum upstairs for you (you stopped the activity that will cause more tearing in your Achilles tendon). The pain was temporary and is now gone which means NO cold compression is needed.
In this case heat (Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy) should be used to relieve the dull ache in your Achilles tendon and encourage healing of your damaged tissue.
It's crucial to use cold after any sort of activity causes you on-going pain.
Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack:
- 24 to 72 hours after your initial leg/achilles injury or when you first notice pain and swelling to stop cellular damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
- After exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to prevent re-injury.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and swelling.
- Anytime you feel your lower leg is tender, painful or you're having a flare-up of an older injury.
- Anytime you have swelling, sharp throbbing pain or inflammation in your achilles or ankle.
- Any other situation where you need to draw the pain and inflammation out of your ankle.
Questions about using Cold to Treat Your
Call one of our AidMyAchilles Advisers at no cost or obligation to address any lingering questions you have about using cold for your knee injury.
We're here 5 days a week to provide the information you need to heal as quickly as possible.
All it takes is one call - 1-866-237-9608
Heat to Heal Your Achilles Tendon?
HEAT (warmth) 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 healing of your deep tissue. Increasing the temperature of your deep tissue will result in increased blood flow circulation. It's the blood in your body that will bring oxygen, nutrients, antibodies and energy to your injured achilles to help with healing.
Heat can Make Inflammation, Swelling and Newer Injuries Worse - How?
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, cold compression should be used to decrease any inflammation induced pain.
When Should You Use Heat to Heal Your Knee?
Heat / warming temperature treatment works best to increase blood flow circulation and stimulate healing for older (chronic) injuries, re-injury (after swelling has been reduced) and during 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 2 weeks after surgery because 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 tendon 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 (elastic-nature) 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 as a natural pain-reliever.
Using heat is a good long-term plan because it will help to stimulate healing and can also be used on a preventive basis to relax constricted soft tissue. We use warm temperatures / heat to speed up the process of baking something in the oven or melting the snow outside, your injury is no different. Heat will speed up the natural healing rate in your achilles tendon by increasing your blood flow circulation. This in turn brings all the components your tissue needs to heal - oxygen, nutrients, anti-bodies and energy.
Here are a couple of examples for when to use warm temperatures (heat):
- You had achilles tendonitis 2 years ago but that injury has healed and you no longer feel pain everyday. 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 (Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy) 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.
- You occasionally feel sharp shooting pain up the back of your leg from your ankle. 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.
Keep using Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy (T•Shellz Wraps) before activity and when you notice any stiffness in your ankle to 'warm up' your tissue and stimulate healing.
When is Heat too Hot?
When are Other Heating methods not Hot Enough?
Hot water bottles, hot baths / showers and other heating methods have been used to soothe sore joints and soft tissue forever. The problem with using traditional heating devices is that the low-level energy gets too hot for our skin but not hot enough for the deep tissue in our Achilles tendon.
Your skin is like your armor - it's a protective shield. This means the heat energy needs to pass through your protective shield to reach deep enough into the tissue to promote blood flow for healing. Turning up the heat with hot water bottles, hot baths or other heating methods that heat up the skin first means we're trying to push the energy inside by force. It's just like when you use your oven to bake a cake for 45 minutes. The heat energy starts cooking the cake on the outside to work it's way in. You have to stick a toothepick in the cake to know when the inside's done.
Using heat when the energy is only pushing into the top layers of the skin won't give you deep tissue healing. In this case, the blood is actually rushing AWAY from your achilles to the surface of your skin. This makes you really FEEL the heat.
If you feel the heat is the therapy really helping you on deep tissue level? NO, feeling the heat means it's only warming your outter layers of skin - much like baking a cake. There's even a condition for overuse of a skin-level heat source called toasted skin syndrome, hot water bottle rash, fire stains, laptop thigh, or granny's tartan (reference: 1).
What Makes the Achilles TShellz Wrap Different?
This is where the TShellz Wrap is a wholesome healer!
Instead of having the heat energy force itself into your body by heating up the skin first, the Achilles TShellz Wrap emits an electromagnetic energy that penetrates deep into your tissue creating the heat right down in your achilles tendon. This means that instead of using an oven to cook a cake from the outside in, you're using another method to cook the cake evenly from the inside out. After the timer's up you know your cake is fully-cooked without having to use a toothpick to check!
What exactly has changed the way heat therapy works? With modern medical advancements electromagnetic energy is used to generate deep tissue heat for healing with Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy (Blood Circulation Boost Therapy).
The best source of heat treatment is from a product where you don't even feel that much heat. When you don't feel the heat, it means the therapy is working in your deep soft tissue which is really where you need it. It's kind of like how your heart works in your body. You can't 'feel' your heart pumping blood all around your body to your arms and legs. You can't even hear your own heartbeat without listening very closely. This is exactly how deep tissue Blood Circulation Boost Therapy works too! You're not supposed to 'feel' a lot of heat because the heat isn't treating your skin, it's treating your injury, increasing the blood flow right in your soft tissue.
With regular use of the Achilles TShellz Wrap:
- Your pain will be reduced.
- Your damaged tissue will heal at an accelerated rate while reducing your risk of re-injury.
- Your Achilles tendon will have a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue. (Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. (amazon.com link Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
Our high quality wraps are registered with the FDA as medical devices which meet high manufacturing standards.
Use a Blood Circulation Boost Therapy Achilles TShellz Wrap:
- After swelling and inflammation have been reduced with cold compression.
- Before exercise or workouts to warm up your achilles tendon & prevent re-injury.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to warm up your tissues before physical therapy exercising or stretching.
- Anytime you feel your ankle has stiffened up, is tight and your mobility is reduced causing you more pain.
- Anytime you have sore or aching tissue.
- Any other situation where you need to increase blood flow to your injury to relax your tendon, prevent re-injury and enhance flexibility of your tissue.
Questions about using Heat to Heal Your Achilles?
Call one of our AidMyAchilles Advisers at no cost or obligation to address any lingering questions you have about using heat to stimulate healing in your ankle.
We're here 5 days a week to provide the information you need to heal as quickly as possible.
All it takes is one call - 1-866-237-9608
A Summary of How Ice & Heat Affect Your Blood Flow
Imagine you're standing in your living room at home. When the air in that room is at normal room temperature (ambient temperature), your body is in a comfortable state. Your heart rate and blood pressure are normal (or whatever 'normal' is for you').
Imagine the air has cooled down to freezing...
When the room becomes cooler your heart rate begins to slow down and your blood pressure increases. Your body does this automatically to retain heat in your body. At this time your soft tissue will also start to squeeze on and contract all of the veins in your body carrying blood flow. This also helps to decrease the amount of blood flowing throughout your circulatory system and retains the heat.
When cold is applied to an injured achilles tendon, all of the tendon tissue will squeeze on the veins to slow down your blood flow. This in turn clamps down on the amount of fluid leaking into your injured tissue, decreasing your swelling. This is why cold is used immediately to treat newer ankle 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 your achilles thereby decreasing your pain.
In the medical world this is something called 'Vasoconstriction'.
Imagine the air has warmed up enough that you start sweating...
When the room becomes warmer your heart rate speeds up and your blood pressure decreases. Your body is trying to increase your blood flow to cool down your body.
When heat is applied to your ankle, your veins will start to get bigger (expand) to allow more blood flow through to your damaged or torn soft tissue. This in turn relaxes your achilles tendon, making the tissue more flexible and elastic. This is why heat is used on older (chronic) injuries, to loosen tissue and bring in the blood flow needed for healing. Your body will begin to heal itself after its' injured. Increasing your blood flow with heat will actually speed up this natural process.
Doctors usually call this process 'Vasodilation'.
Some other things happen when you're hot and cold...
When you're cold you'll start to shiver and your fingers, nose and/or toes will get coldest first. This again, is your body trying to retain the heat so all major organs can still function. When you're hot you'll start to sweat. Sweating is the body's natural way of cooling itself down.
Knowing when to use hot and cold and which is better for your blood flow is easy when you remember how your body reacts to cold weather vs hot weather. Both temperatures are helpful for natural injury healing when used at the right time in the healing cycle.
How to Use Consistent Deep Tissue Stretching to Improve Achilles Tendon Strength & Health
For many people, the treatment won't just end there. Stretching is also an important part of tendon healing - and it's the final step needed when healing your achilles injury with conservative treatment methods.
You would be suprised by how many people there are that don't understand the importance of stretching an achilles tendon injury. Before returning to full activity after an injury, physical therapists prescribe gentle stretching... This is because stretching is the secret of healing any soft tissue injury. Consistent stretching is one of the only solutions available to break up scar tissue that forms on your achilles tendon as it heals.
Stretching with use of a Cold Compress or Ice Pack and TShellz Wrap is even better!
Stretching your Achilles Tendon is
more beneficial when combined with
A Deep Tissue Achilles T•Shellz Wrap
This helps to increase elasticity of tissue and stimulate blood flow before stretching.
There is a Unique Formula used for Achilles Injury Recovery...
We're going to let you in on a key piece of information... In every physical therapy appointment your physical therapist will use conservative treatments, massage, manual manipulation and/or stretching exercises to give you this Professional 3-Step Treatment Formula:
Step 1 - Warm Up Your Achilles Tendon
For this 1st step many physical therapists will use heat, manual manipulation, deep tissue massage, clinical ultrasound devices or a warm bath to warm up your Achilles. The goal during this first step is to increase healthy blood flow circulation and relax your soft tissue.
'Warming up' your ankle will increase the elastic-nature of your tendon fibers making it much easier to stretch and when needed, hold the stretch. This will also extend the amount that you will be able to stretch your Achilles tendon.
Increase Your Blood Flow Circulation at Home
Use an Achilles TShellz Wrap for 15 to 20 minutes at least half an hour before stretching your Achilles tendon. An TShellz Wrap will promote Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy (Blood Circulation Boost Therapy) - a therapy that will increase the blood flow to your Achilles tendon while warming up and relaxing your injured tissue. Blood Circulation Boost Therapy will make your tendon fibers more elastic and pliable, allowing for more ease of movement when you're stretching and/or exercising.
Continued treatment with Blood Circulation Boost Therapy will also deliver much-needed oxygen, nutrients, antibodies and energy to your Achilles tendon. This will boost your own natural healing ability and speed up your time for recovery.
Step 2 - Stretch Your Achilles
The main goal of physical therapy is to exercise (stretch out) your Achilles tendon to improve flexibility and range of motion. After the physical therapist has warmed up your tendon, they'll get you to do a series of exercises that are focused on stretching the area and surrounding soft tissue.
This exercise may include heel slides that are focused on moving your quadriceps, groin, hip, hamstring, calf, shin and Achilles tendon.
Sometimes cardiovascular exercise, like using a stationary bike or treadmill, will be recommended under the supervision of your physical therapist.
Improve Your Range of Motion at Home
Your physician or PT can offer a stretching routine that will be beneficial to all of the tendons, ligaments and muscles in and around your knee joint. Stretch often as directed and increase your repetitions as movement becomes more fluid and natural for you. Strengthening your entire leg will also give you a better chance of slowly improving the mobility of your Achilles tendon.
Why are ankle injuries so hard to over come? In two words - scar tissue.
Achilles tendon tissue is meant to be soft and flexiable, ready to work and move extreme forces in everyday activities. Tears in your Achilles tendon will heal with scar tissue; little tiny band-aids that overlap each other on the tissue mending the injury. With the added scar tissue the tendon becomes rigid, less ready to move and unable to recieve the full force of your movements. If you're suffering with scar tissue now you may feel the effects with stiffness, tightness, weakness and tiredness in your ankle.
Scar tissue can form fast to bring together the edges of a tear, but working fast doesn't mean that the job's done right. When scar tissue forms it doesn't come together as neatly as regular (healthy) tissue would. Scar tissue fibers will lay down over top of your tear in a cluttered, messy and jumbled up way.
Imagine throwing a bunch of drinking straws in the air... When those straws hit the ground they'll land in a random, unorganized way. It even seems silly to think that those straws could land perfectly straight and all in the same direction.
Stretching helps to organize the scar tissue, increasing the strength of this tissue so it's more like the weave of a basket.
Step 3 - Cool Down Your Achilles
Toward the end of your appointment your physical therapist may introduce cold compression, acupuncture, or TENS to relax your tendon after the intense stretching and exercise.
Use an Achilles T•Shellz Wrap before starting your stretching routine. The T•Shellz Wrap will help increase flexibility during exercise and decrease the risk of further injury.
Use an Ice Pack or cold compress after stretching or anytime there is a flareup of swelling in the knee.
Our Achilles Tendon Therapy Formula is
Proven to Work!
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:
- Guarantee #1 - Use your products diligently for up to 60 days and you will experience a significant reduction in pain. If not, I encourage you to send back the items for a 100% refund.
- Guarantee #2 - You will not be left in the dark after purchasing any product from us. AidMyAchilles Advisers and Product Specialists are available 5 days a week by toll free phone 1-866-237-9608 or email to answer your questions or concerns.
- Guarantee #3 - Your order is guaranteed to be shipped within 24 hours on every business day.
- Guarantee #4 - All purchases receive a one year, full replacement warranty with guaranteed, prompt service.
- Guarantee #5 - You could save hundreds of dollars and possibly more, by utilizing our products, and getting back to work sooner.
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