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Does Massage Help Scar Tissue From Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of Achilles tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is caused by intense physical activity such as repetitive stress of cycling, running, or jumping. The body produces scar tissue in an attempt to stabilize the area. It creates an ongoing cycle that worsens your condition over time. Massage can help accelerate healing if you have scar tissue from Achilles tendinitis or suffer from a closely related problem.

Although the efficacy of massage is unproven, it remains to be a complementary and alternative medicine for specific conditions and general wellness. This article discusses how massage helps scar tissue from Achilles tendinitis.

Scar Tissue Management

Diagram showing Chronic Achilles tendon tear

Your physical therapist may suggest massage as an alternative treatment if you developed scar tissue from Achilles tendinitis to help with the remodeling process. It is important to check with your doctor to ensure that scar tissue massage is appropriate and that proper healing has taken place. Keep in mind that massaging a scar that has not healed properly could cause more damage than good to the developing tissue. It can open an unhealed scar leading to a bacterial infection that could delay the healing process. Before beginning the massage for scar tissue, it is important to ensure that it is fully closed and has no signs of scabbing. Have your doctor or physical therapist assess the scar to ensure that massage is safe for you.

Types of Massage That Can Help Scar Tissue From Achilles Tendinitis

  • Sports Massage

A sports massage focuses primarily on areas that contain soft tissues. The amount of pressure used in this type of massage therapy may vary depending on individual preferences. The techniques used in sports massage increase the body temperature to help loosen and break down the scar tissue caused by tendinitis. Not only does it break down the scar tissue but also reduces pain and promotes relaxation.

  • Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage uses deep, firm pressure and targets the deeper muscle fibers and tissues. It helps to break down collagen fibers and adhesions caused by scar tissue. The development of adhesions around the Achilles tendon can restrict movement and cause pain. A deep tissue massage helps to break down the scar tissue to decrease pain, ease restriction, and reduce stress.

  • Remedial Massage

Remedial massage focusses on the source of pain to treat the symptoms and the cause of the problem. A massage therapist can either use gentle, deep, or shallow pressure depending on the problem. It promotes healing of the scar tissue by balancing the tone, length, and tension of the muscles and tendons. Remedial massage can help repair damaged tissues, make joints more mobile, and stimulate blood supply.

Massage Techniques Used to Break Down Scar Tissue

  • Deep Transverse Friction

This technique is often used on dry skin to break down a buildup of collagen fibers that form because of the scar tissue. A therapist uses the thumb or fingertips to apply pressure along muscle fibers. It loosens and breaks down the collagen fibers by increasing the temperature of muscles. This helps to reduce the scar tissue within the muscles causing a decrease in pain and restriction. As a result, it increases your range of movement and promotes relaxation in the Achilles tendons.

  • Acupressure

Acupressure involves the application of pressure on trigger points located within the body. Applying pressure to a specific trigger point restricts blood flow, causing an ischemic reaction. An ischemic reaction causes restriction of blood flow to certain areas and then increases once the pressure is released. The scar tissue softens and breaks down when the pressure is applied and increases when the pressure is released to repair damaged tissues and improve muscle conditions.

  • Lubrication and Stretching Aids

Applying a small amount of oil lubricates the scar and the surrounding skin, making it pliable during the massage. Mediums such as castor oil, lotions, and vitamin E oils can help prevent the scar from drying out. You can also use stretching aids when approaching scars crossing over a joint. You can combine the stretch with massage to lengthen the scar tissue as it helps in pliability and flexibility that promotes healing.

Scar tissues caused by Achilles tendinitis can be treated with massage, stretching, and regular exercise. This ensures proper remodeling of the scar and restoration of normal mobility and function. Proper care and treatment of the scar tissue from tendinitis is essential for improved outcomes. It is important to seek medical help if you experience persistent pain or do not see any improvement with massage and other home remedies.