Treatment and Prevention of Achilles Tendonitis

Running Injuries – Part Two

The Achilles’ tendon is a major tissue that connects the back of the heel to the two major calf muscles: the Gastrocnemius & Soleus muscles. This vital tendon absorbs several times the body weight with each stride you take, so it’s no surprise that Achilles tendinitis is a pretty common condition among runners. Achilles tendinitis occurs when there is too much stress placed on this vital tendon, resulting in inflammation and irritation of the entire tendon. This condition makes up roughly 10 percent of all running injuries, according to the survey.

achilles-tendonitisCauses: Achilles tendonitis is caused by many factors, including improper running shoes, tight and/or weak calf muscles, a rapid increase in training volume, and sometimes, being flat footed. Plus, runners with a BMI of 25 or higher who run a 9-minute-per-mile pace or faster are also at greater risk of getting injured.

Symptoms: The main symptom is a tender pain in the lower calf near the heel, or on the back the heel—especially when you run, tip-toe or when you first walk in the morning after getting out of bed. Plus, there can also be some strange noises in the tendon when the foot is flexed or pointed.

Fix it: If you have it, then you should stop running and take as many days off as possible. You cannot run through this injury as it will only get worse. And if you keep running through pain, you will exacerbate the injury, which can take you up to six months or more to fully recover. Next, apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes on the injured area two to three times a day. To relieve the pain, you can always stretch your calves and wear supportive shoes.  For more, research suggests that putting on compression socks for hard runs to relieve and prevent Achilles tightness.

Prevent it: First of all, strengthen your calves with calf raises and eccentric heel drops. Strong calf muscles will guard your Achilles against re-injury. Also, stop wearing flip-flops and high heels, all of which can wind the Achilles up. Also, make sure to stretch your calves regularly—especially after a run. Plus, work on improving your running form and find the best footstrike that works the best for you.

By David Dack for Runners Blueprint