|The Achilles' tendon. PD image from Gray's Anatomy, from bartleby.com . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
- Stretch. This really should be a no-brainer, because you stretch before you run, right? One of the main reasons the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed is because it has become tight from lack of proper use. Stretch your calves before and after your workout to prevent the tendon from getting tight.
- Check out your technique. No one has a perfect running technique, and we often run the way that is most comfortable for us. Just because you don't have perfect technique doesn't mean you can't have correct technique, however. If you're finding your runs are painful after your run, check out how you're running. If you naturally pronate when you're walking or at rest, it's likely you're going to overpronate when you're running- and overpronation is a leading cause of Achilles tendonitis. An orthotic in your shoe will help correct this deformity.
- Get good running shoes. Don't be cheap about your running shoes, especially if you run frequently. You're doing yourself the biggest harm by being frugal. The sharp pain along your Achilles tendon can also be a sign that you need new running shoes. When shopping for new running shoes, find ones that fit your feet the best (check out our blog post, below, about it!), and especially make sure they are flexible, since rigid shoes allow the Achilles tendon to twist.
- Warm up. When a muscle has been jolted into sharp, rapid movement, the likelihood of it tearing it will increased. Make sure you always warm-up before your run with stretching, jogging in place, or doing cardio.
- Remain aware. Be aware of when you are in pain, and take care of it immediately. If you're starting a new running regime, be aware of when something doesn't feel right. By being aware, you can track your body and its aches and pains.
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