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Achilles Tendinitis: The Worst for any Runner

Beth Bradford

Jul 16, 2023

Injuring your Achilles tendon can sideline any workout.

The Achilles tendon is a powerful, vital tendon that bears the Greek hero's name. Your training could easily end if you suffer an Achilles tendon injury. I was sidelined for almost three months when my podiatrist found a pretty significant tear in mine. I was forced to wear a boot for six weeks.

Your capacity to jump off your toes is powered by two calf muscles, which are joined to your heel by the Achilles tendon. You may be straining your Achilles tendon if you suddenly increase the intensity or duration of your jogging or fitness routine. Your Achilles will also experience significant strain if your calf muscles are tight. Achilles tendinitis can develop if the tiny microtears from training are not given time to heal.

An Achilles tendon injury will cause pain upon waking up, as well as after moving around or exercising. The tendon itself may feel warm or swollen and touching it will hurt. If you attempt to stand on your toes, you'll feel pain in the Achilles. Young people often get Achilles tendinitis with overuse, whereas older adults may develop Achilles tendinitis due to arthritis.

How to treat and avoid an Achilles injury

Your doctor may prescribe an x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI if you think you may have hurt or damaged your Achilles tendon. The doctor may advise R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to aid in healing and pain medicine to lessen inflammation if the injury is not severe. A physical therapist could suggest activities to help the injured area become stronger and more flexible while it recovers.

Stretching should be done carefully. Stretching too hard or for too long might compress the Achilles tendon, aggravating tendinitis. Try foam rolling your calf muscles instead of stretching if stretching causes pain in your Achilles.

Calf raises can help to strengthen the calf muscles and prevent an Achilles injury. If you run, increase your program's time or intensity by just 10% each week. Additionally, you should monitor the wear on your running shoes and choose to run on a path or a track as opposed to concrete sidewalks.

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