Your Achilles tendon is found at the back of heel of the foot, and pain in this area can indicate a problem that needs to be taken care of.
Achilles Tendonitis/Tendonosis is thought to account for up to 11% of running injuries. You are at increased risk if you dramatically increase your training, especially with and speed work.
You’re also more at risk if you have tight/weak calf muscles. The two main calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) attach to the Achilles tendon and when put under too much stress from overloading, can become inflamed (tendonitis). If left untreated or without modification to training, this can progress to a tendonosis (changes within the tendon structure), a more chronic, long-term version of tendonitis.
If you experience pain during or after running you should stop! Don’t try to run through it or you could find yourself facing a longer period of rehabilitation and more time off running. If caught early you may only be looking at a few weeks off, leave it longer and you might be facing up to 6 months off!
A great exercise to strengthen the calves and optimally load the Achilles is eccentric heel drops, start with double leg and progress to single leg. Your therapist can guide you through correct timing and repetitions.
Cross training can involve pool running, elliptical trainer, swimming and cycling if it’s not painful.
You can help prevent Achilles trouble by keeping the calf muscles strong and well maintained with stretching, foam rolling and massage. It can also help to perform daily heel drops, avoid over-stretching, and avoid wearing flip flops and high heels too often!
STOP – Severe pain & swelling even when not running. Pain when on tiptoes.
CAUTION – Dull pain in the Achilles at the end of a run but feels better after icing.
GO – No pain when running and pinching the tendon.
If you think you may have an Achilles injury and would like to get some advice you can book an appointment with our team HERE.