Saturday, May 23, 2015

3 Steps to Treat Achilles Tendonitis

For the last six (yikes!) years, I've struggled with Achilles Tendonitis off and on. Mostly on, sadly. Despite taking off months from running, every time I returned, I could immediately feel the hot strained feeling of lurking tendonitis. Now, after about eight months without pain, I'm happy to share the three things I did to return to running.
  1. Rest. The most dreaded of treatments - not doing anything. Whilst resting, ice. Rest some more. When you think you've rested long enough, rest for another month. During my last "Rest" phase, I took up rock climbing. It saved my sanity and my fitness.
  2. Strengthen. Before returning to running, strengthen the muscles around your ankle and calf. Heel lifts turned out to be my healer. Start standing on one foot on a flat surface. Press up, from a flat foot to tip toe, and back down. I started with 10/side and was shocked at how tiring that was. After a week or two, up the number to 15. Then move to a stair and let your heel sink a little. Feel the burn.
  3. Lift. Ask your doctor if one leg is longer than the other. If slightly yes, try a mini insert under the heel of the shorter leg. I believe my feet were made to run without a full-foot support but I also have a 1/4-inch difference in my leg lengths. This means that one tendon has to reach further to touch the ground. While covering mile after mile, that poor tendon gets a bit weary. Boosting it just a bit seems to alleviated some of that strain. 
Running shoe inserts

These inserts are available on Amazon. They are stackable so you can lift a little or a lot. The grey ones are more invasive - longer and higher. I didn't like them but a single clear one under the liner of my left running shoe has been a game changer.
Keeping in mind I'm not a medical pro, I'm just related to one, give these steps a shot. As my orthoped told me, there's no harm in trying because, if you can't heal yourself, the next step is a surgery that takes almost a year for recovery. So, may as well rest, strengthen and make minor adjustments first.

Happy running!