Our Long Island Podiatrists Can Help You Recover From Achilles Tendonitis and Get Back in the Game

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that can result from repetitive motions, working your Achilles tendon, or heel cord, too hard, or not giving yourself enough recovery time between tough workouts. Due to how this condition develops, it may be possible for you to play certain sports, assuming these activities don’t require you to engage in the same repetitive motions that caused tendonitis in the first place. 

At Massapequa Podiatry Associates P.C. in Long Island, New York, our board-certified podiatrists treat a large number of athletes, across all age groups, who experience all types of foot and ankle injuries and are eager to return to their sports. We can work with you to make an individualized plan for your tendonitis recovery and help you decide when you’re ready to get back in the game.

Achilles Tendonitis Risk Factors

The Achilles tendon, also referred to as the calcaneal tendon, connects your heel to your calf muscles, and is the strongest and thickest tendon you have, supporting up to four times your body weight. It enables you to walk, run, lift onto your toes, climb stairs, and jump.  diagram-of-achilles tendon

Since this particular cord of tissue is so vital to many types of movement, it’s no wonder tendonitis is a common injury for people who:  

  • Play a sport that involves a lot of jumping, kicking, or sudden acceleration, such as:
    • Running 
    • Tennis
    • Basketball
    • Figure skating
    • Skiing
    • Dancing
    • Soccer
  • Haven't had sufficient strength, flexibility, or endurance training.
  • Suddenly increase the intensity of your workouts.
  • Don't alternate high-impact activities with ones that give your feet a rest.
  • Work out on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt that put extra pressure on your joints, instead of soft surfaces like grass, dirt, or a synthetic track.
  • Don’t warm up properly before exercise.
  • Have previously injured your ankle, lower leg, or back of your ankle.
  • Work in professions that require a lot of standing.

Other risk factors for Achilles tendonitis include: 

  • Being overweight
  • Flat arches
  • High blood pressure
  • Heel spurs
  • Worn-out or ill-fitting workout shoes
  • Taking certain types of medications 

Generally, men are more prone to Achilles tendonitis than women, and people who are over 45 experience the condition more frequently. 

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

Damage to the Achilles is most often caused by intense strain on the tendon. This stresses the cord and may cause tiny tears to develop in the fibers, and you might notice numerous signs of tendonitis, including:   

  • Pain, tenderness, or stiffness at the back of your heel, especially in the morning
  • Swelling of the tendon, possibly with a hard lump forming
  • Pain when you stand on tiptoe or push off or down with your toes
  • A creaking or cracking sound when the tendon moves or is touched 
  • Weakness in the impacted leg
  • Reduced range of motion in your foot and ankle
  • Redness and warmth in the affected area

Why Playing Sports With Achilles Tendonitis Might Be a Mistake

Once you injure a tendon, its strength and endurance decrease, and its sensitivity increases. You generally need four to six weeks of reduced activity to heal from tendonitis. 

If you try to maintain your normal training load, the activity will be more than the cord can handle. At first, you might be encouraged by the fact that you experience pain only at the start of a match, but it reduces as you warm up. However, if you continue to push yourself, this often further irritates the Achilles to a point where even walking becomes painful—and the tendon ruptures. To fully recover at this point requires surgery to correct the damage. 

When You Should Seek Medical Attention

Schedule a thorough examination with the foot doctors at Massapequa Podiatry Associates to determine the true cause of your heel pain. Our board-certified podiatrists believe treating the root cause of any foot condition is the key to lasting wellness. Here are some of the Achilles tendonitis symptoms we’ll want to evaluate: 

  • Any of the above symptoms are present for more than several days, even after icing, resting, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers
  • You have heel pain even when resting
  • You’re also experiencing numbness, fever, or tingling
  • You have diabetes or an infection
  • You can’t bend your foot down or stand on your tiptoes
  • You're not able to complete day-to-day activities like walking, working, or exercising 

Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis 

Our medical team takes several different approaches to treating Achilles tendonitis. We often combine them to achieve maximum benefits.


This application is most effective immediately prior to stretching and strengthening exercises. Try a heat pad or a warm soak for 10-15 minutes at a time.


Apply ice packs or an ice massage for 10-15 minutes every couple of hours and any time your symptoms worsen. Never apply ice directly to the skin, as this can cause tissue damage. Instead, wrap the ice in a thin towel to protect your skin.


Decreasing your activity or temporarily staying off your foot may be recommended in some cases.


Keeping your foot above heart level helps with swelling. Make sure your entire ankle is lifted, not just your thigh.


Ibuprofen, naproxen, and other anti-inflammatory medications may help with swelling and pain. Be sure to follow label instructions carefully and consult a doctor if you’re on other medications that could interact with pain relievers.

Switching Shoes

If you find that your shoe rubs on your Achilles tendon and causes additional discomfort, we might recommend different shoes or soft pads to cushion your heel.

Changing Your Exercise Routine

Non-weight-bearing activities like swimming, bicycling, and yoga can help you stay fit without putting as much strain on your Achilles tendon.


In the most severe cases, a cast or walking boot may be advised to reduce pain and limit activity. We might also recommend a heel lift or orthotic.

Physical Therapy

Strength training and flexibility exercises may be offered to relieve heel pain and regain use of the tendon. These methods often involve building up calf muscles, stretching key areas of your feet and ankles, and massaging tense tissue. 

In-Office Treatments

We offer a number of conservative treatments and surgical procedures for heel pain. Our goal is to always try the least invasive options first and only consider surgery as a last resort. Some of our more innovative interventions include:

  • MLS Laser therapy, a painless, non-invasive way to relieve foot pain from a variety of issues, including Achilles tendonitis.
  • Tenex, a system that uses vibrations to break down and remove damaged tissue without affecting adjacent healthy tissue.
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy, a procedure that involves high energy acoustic pressure waves sent into an area of damaged soft tissue, prompting increased blood flow, more rapid breakdown of calcifications, and accelerated repair of tissues.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy, a treatment approach that uses your own blood and cells to speed up the healing process.

How and When to Play With Achilles Tendonitis

Once you’ve completed the recommended course of treatment, your next steps may include:

  • Slowly returning to your sports activities at a tolerable level. This means recognizing a pain level of 2 out of 10, and being prepared to stop playing. 
  • Modifying your training, including how much time you’re in action. 
  • Taping, bracing, and adapting other preventative methods to help prevent future problems.

Strength training at the correct intensity, with slow progression, can help you regain use of your Achilles tendon during recovery as well. You can increase resistance with weights, using just one leg, or eventually adding hopping and jumping actions. 

Why Long Island Athletes Call Massapequa Podiatry Associates

We know your life is busy, so our office is open until 6:00 p.m. on Mondays and 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays to accommodate patient schedules. Our Long Island heel pain experts have a 95 percent success rate treating heel pain with game-changing relief, so we can get you back on your feet as quickly as possible and help you make changes that: 

  • Prevent future issues
  • Reduce the odds of your tendon tearing
  • Address your pain before it gets worse
  • Decrease the chances that you will need surgery
We strive to ensure each patient finds the quality care they need to enjoy staying active and engaged in life.