ZocdocAnswersHow can I break up scar tissue that has formed as a result of an Achilles tendon tear?

Question

How can I break up scar tissue that has formed as a result of an Achilles tendon tear?

I am a 24 year old that partially tore my Achilles tendon after receiving two cortisone injections very close to my tendon to reduce the pain and swelling associated with Achilles tendonitis. I received physical therapy for two years and even utilized nitroglycerin patch therapy. I am again able to run and cycle, but still suffer from stiffness and decreased flexibility due to scar tissue formation. Are there any self-massage techniques to help break down this scar tissue?

Answer

It sounds as though your experience with Achilles tendonitis has been a long ordeal. As you have been doing, the best place to start with this kind of injury is with an orthopedic surgeon who can then help coordinate physical therapy. From what you have said it sounds like you have done an extensive amount of physical therapy that has not fully gotten you back to your old baseline. Unfortunately, with some orthopedic injuries it is not possible to get back to your pre-injury baseline. However, there may still be some additional options you can try. First, you can always go back to your original orthopedist and physical therapist to see if they can give you a sense of whether or not this injury will fully resolve. If you would like to pursue a second opinion, your primary care physician should be able to help you select another physician or physical therapy group to consult. Depending on where you live, there may well be an academic center specializing in orthopedic issues where you could see a specialist. Second, if you have not seen a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist), this may also be a good referral option. PM&R physicians work with patients with rehab needs, whether from injuries or from lifelong conditions such as spinal cord injuries or cerebral palsy. Many PM&R physicians may also be able to help you connect with alternative medicine options for relieving chronic pain or musculoskeletal problems. Your primary care physician should be able to help you find a physiatrist in your area.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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