Athletes and those who lead an active lifestyle are most likely to suffer from Achilles tendinitis. That’s because it tends to be an injury resulting from overuse of the tendon. When this tendon, which attaches the calf muscle to the back of your heel bone, is repeatedly aggravated over time, it can become inflamed and painful. Oftentimes, symptoms can also be triggered when you suddenly increase intensity or duration of exercise, especially without proper warm-up or stretching.
So what are some steps you can take to prevent this chronic pain?
● Stretch daily, as soon as you wake up. You can stretch the calf muscle to help reduce painful symptoms with your first steps in the morning.
● Wear supportive shoes. Especially for runners, you should make sure you replace shoes that lose their supportive features and are worn down. Depending on how much you use your shoes, it can mean replacing shoes as often as every 3 months. Be sure that the heels do not slide around and have enough cushioning to reduce impact on the heel bone.
● Warm up and increase your workout slowly. As mentioned above, sudden increase in intensity or duration can cause onset of painful symptoms. Start slow, warm up, and increase your workout levels over several sessions.
● Train and strengthen. Strong calf muscles, as well as ankle and feet muscles can help you stabilize your Achilles tendon. Do other exercises to strengthen the muscles, rather than only sticking to running.
● Take extra care if you have the following risk factors that make it more likely for you to suffer from Achilles tendinitis: Male, over 45 years old, flat feet, obese, high blood pressure, and previous ankle injuries. If you have injured your ankle before, you’re more likely to re-injure your ankle. For some severe injuries, you may require surgery to repair a ruptured tendon!
After a diagnosis, you may be prescribed physical therapy or the use of custom foot orthotics. If you think you might be suffering from symptoms of Achilles tendinitis or other ankle problems, make an appointment with our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group at our office in Jonesboro, AR.