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With warmer weather finally upon us, we are throwing on our tennis shoes and going outside for longer runs in the sunshine. Hitting the pavement with the air under your feet is a great feeling when you’re a runner, but there are a few issues we must keep in mind when it comes to running…take care of your Achilles tendon!

What is an Achilles Tendon, anyhow?

The Achilles is a tendon that runs in a strip from the heel bone up to the calf muscle to help the foot push off the ground when the calf muscle tightens. It’s a necessity if you want to walk, run or jump, so any type of injury to this vital tendon can disable you just fast as it took ol’ Achilles down. When that tendon becomes inflamed we call it Achilles tendinitis, which usually occurs where the tendon meets the heel but it can also spread up toward the calf muscle. Along with the inflammation comes swelling and pain, and it can worsen quickly and even turn into more serious conditions if it isn’t treated.

How to proactively prevent:

  • Be sure to stretch before running full force! Tight, tired muscles can cause a burden on the Achilles. Also be sure to gradually increase the distance of your runs and do not over-train.
  • Don’t overrun hills or do excessive amounts of speed work.
  • When it comes to the type of shoe you are running in, be sure to choose one that is flexible enough to move with the Achilles so that it does not have to twist.
  • Also, be sure you aren’t moving your feet too far inward on impact! Doing this can cause a greater risk for Achilles tendinitis.
  • Protect your Achilles when you’re not running with dressy shoes that have support and make sure your tennis shoes fit properly, too!

How is Achilles Tendinitis treated?

We treat Achilles tendinitis by first reducing the inflammation and pain and then strengthening the tendon while providing the proper support. This can be done through orthotics or just better shoes. We’ll also show you some special stretches you can do to relax the calf muscle and reduce pressure on the Achilles tendon to avoid costly physical therapy. Surgery is only an option when it progresses into Achilles tendinosis, and even then, it’s only in extreme cases.

Pain in your feet is not normal, it is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If you feel like your Achilles tendon is suffering, make an online appointment or call 859-264-1141.