Achilles tendinitis, along with plantar fasciitis, is one of the most common causes of aching, painful heels, especially among physically active men in their middle age years or later. Athletic overuse, often in combination with other underlying factors that may make a person more susceptible, can stretch and tear the tendon and lead to chronic pain and discomfort.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, though! If you’re the kind of person that struggles routine with Achilles tendinitis, a variety of strategies may be employed to help prevent future cases as much as possible. Our advice?
- Start slow with new activities. Your body needs time to adjust to a new sport or exercise program, so don’t try to go from 0 to 11 overnight. Ramp up intensity gradually, maybe 10-15 percent per week at most.
- Always remember to warm up, cool down, and stretch before and after any workout.
- Check your equipment. We know you love your blown-out sneakers, but your Achilles needs shoes with good cushioning and firm arch support. A specialty store can help you pick the right pair, and it’s up to you to replace them when they’re worn out.
- If you’re a runner, be tactical with your choice of terrain. Flatter routes are easier on your Achilles than hilly ones, and softer surfaces are preferable to asphalt and concrete.
- Stronger calf muscles mean better support and shock absorption for the Achilles tendon. Consider strength training for calves as part of your routine.
- Cross-train in multiple disciplines, with plenty of low-impact workouts mixed in to give your feet and tendons a chance to rest even as you stay active. Cycling and swimming are great options, although there are others.
- In some cases, an existing problem with your foot structure (such as flat feet or tight calves) or another foot condition could contribute to development of Achilles tendinitis. Our office can provide custom orthotics, physical therapy recommendations, or other conservative strategies to help you correct or accommodate these challenges.
If you’ve developed a case of Achilles tendinitis—or think you may have—making an appointment with Dr. Fox is a wise choice, especially if pain is particularly acute or recurs frequently. As Long Island’s heel pain expert, he will provide a full evaluation to identify or rule out any other potential causes, and help you develop the best possible treatment plan. Although Achilles tendinitis is usually managed successfully through home care, we also provide more advanced options for those that need it, such as minimally invasive Tenex treatment. To make an appointment at our Massapequa, NY office, please call 516-541-9000.