The Achilles tendon acts as a connector between the leg's calf muscle and the heel bone of the foot. Although this is the biggest tendon located in the body, it can be injured due to inflammation and even rupture caused by strain, overuse or trauma from an accident.
You will know in no uncertain terms that the Achilles tendon has been compromised because you won't be able to stand or put pressure on your foot, and there will be pain and possibly swelling at your ankle. The first course of action is to get off your feet and rest the affected leg, keeping it in an elevated position for as much of the time as possible to help reduce swelling. It's a good idea to keep your leg propped up on several pillows while sleeping at night.
Fill an ice bag with ice from the freezer and apply it to your ankle for at least 15 minutes, four to five times daily for the first day or two. This will help ease the pain considerably and decrease inflammation. Any over-the-counter pain relief product containing ibuprofen can also work wonders in giving pain relief.
It's safe to use a heating pad only after the swelling has gone down. The ankle may also feel better if you wrap it in an elastic bandage to give it some support and immobilize the injured area.
If you absolutely must be up and around within a day or two, consider renting crutches from a local medical supply house so that you avoid putting pressure on the affected ankle and leg.
If the Achilles tendon has been torn or ruptured, you may need some surgical repair work to help completely heal this area, followed by immobilization of the foot in a hard plaster cast. Many sports medicine specialists are opting to treat tendon ruptures now without surgery, placing the foot in a hard cast for about two weeks to immobilize it and further the healing process, then switching to a lightweight more flexible cast. After this cast is removed, rehabilitation exercises continue to speed the healing. The ankle is fitted with a functional brace that is worn for at least a month accompanied by an ongoing regimen of rehabilitation exercises.