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5 tips to help you sleep after Achilles surgery

How to Sleep After Achilles Surgery
3 minutes, 17 seconds

Your Achilles tendon is the tissue that attaches your heel bone to the muscles in your calf. You have one of these tendons in each of your legs. It’s what helps you walk, run and jump! When you experience an injury to your Achilles tendon, it might require surgery depending on the severity. 

What actually happens during an Achilles surgery may vary depending on what the injury is. However, most Achilles surgeries involve a medical professional stitching the tendon back together. The goal is to repair the tendon if it has torn or ruptured and to restore its functionality again.

If you’ve recently undergone Achilles surgery and you’re having trouble sleeping, keep reading below for some tips on how you can get better sleep each night.

What types of issues might require a surgical procedure on the Achilles tendon?

  • Tendinitis — Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendon. It’s most often caused by repetitive motions and movements. It can often be confused with plantar fasciitis.
  • Tendinopathy — Tendinopathy is a condition caused by the deterioration of the tendon over time.
  • Tendon tear — A tear in the Achilles tendon can be painful and result from overuse or a sudden traumatic injury.
  • Tendon rupture — A tendon rupture is a type of tear where the tendon is completely torn or broken, as opposed to a small tear. This can also result from overuse or a sudden traumatic injury.

What are the factors that might make sleep harder for you after your Achilles surgery?

If you’ve recently had Achilles surgery, you might experience disruptions to your sleep from a variety of symptoms. Some of these may include but are not limited to swelling, inflammation, pain, bruising, numbness and nerve pain.

What are some of the ways that you can get better sleep after Achilles surgery?

  • Consult with a physical therapist — One of the first things you should do both before and after surgery on your Achilles is to meet with a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help mentally and physically prepare you before you go through with your procedure. Therapists can help you build strength around your Achilles tendon to protect it and minimize muscle loss and weakness after the surgery. During the recovery process, physical therapy sessions can be beneficial for pain management, strength building, and improving range of motion. They will be able to help you work toward improved function in your tendon and help address any issues you have. If you’re dealing with poor sleep as a result of your Achilles surgery, a physical therapist can certainly give you tips for improving your comfort through the night.
  • Try a new sleeping position — If you haven’t already, one good option to try out is a different sleeping position. You’d probably be better off sleeping flat on your back rather than on your side.
  • Use pillows to elevate your legs — You can place pillows underneath your legs and knees to keep your legs elevated so that they’re positioned above your heart. 
  • Use an ice pack — Another option is to use an ice pack to help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. You can use an ice pack leading up to the time you go to bed and even while you’re in bed going to sleep. If you think it might be helpful, you can also switch out your packs in the middle of the night after your original pack changes to room temperature.
  • Take pain medication — Another option for better sleep after Achilles surgery is taking pain medication before bed. Pain medication can help the pain subside and may reduce inflammation while you’re sleeping so that you can get a better night’s sleep.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for help sleeping after your Achilles surgery

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your quality of sleep after (and before) an Achilles surgery. 

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Come find help for your injury or chronic condition today!


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