Are you feeling pain in your heel while you exercise? If so, you may suffer from what is known as Achilles tendonitis. This injury is prevalent amongst runners of all levels, and cause can serious discomfort when left untreated.
To help you recover from this nagging injury and get back exercising, we have broken down the most common causes of Achilles tendonitis, as well as therapy to help alleviate the pain. Combine this treatment with the recommended alternative exercises, and you can keep Achilles tendonitis from impairing your next run.
Causes & Symptoms of Heel Pain in Women
Your Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles to your heel, and is one of the strongest muscles in the body. As you will likely guess, it plays a significant role in the biomechanics of your ability to run.
The most common symptom is a sharp pain in the back of the tendon. This general soreness is present during most any type of exercise, and can make the simple act of walking uncomfortable.
Achilles tendonitis may be more prevalent in female runners who are flat footed, and suffer from overpronation. This inward rolling of the foot puts extra strain on the Achilles region and surrounding muscles.
Additionally, sudden increases in intensity of a workout may lead to soreness in your Achilles tendon. Women who add aggressive speed training or hill sprints to their running regimen oftentimes complain of these adverse side effects.
When you subject your Achilles tendon to new stresses, the area may become inflamed. If you decide to be tough and “power through it”, you risk a reoccurring injury that could impair your entire running career.
How to Treat My Running Heel Pain
Like other nagging injuries, it is important to address your Achilles tendonitis before it becomes severe. The last thing you want to do is ignore the discomfort until it reaches a point where it is far more serious.
If you suffer from any pain in the back of your heel, then you need to taper back your workout intensity and ease off your miles. Avoid working out for 4-5 days, and listen to what your body is telling you: ”I need rest!”. If the heel starts feeling better, it’s OK to ease back into your workout routine, but if it’s still tender, then continue resting.
Along with taking anti-inflammatory medication, another helpful treatment is icing your foot. Try to place your entire ankle in a bathtub full of ice water, or a five-gallon bucket. Let this rest for 15 minutes, using the time to decompress. This will minimize inflammation of the Achilles tendon and speed up recovery.
Do not try to overly stretch the region. You risk aggravating the tendon and doing more harm than good. Instead, take note of your shoes. If you have worn-out soles, especially in the heels, you are lacking the necessary cushion. Consider purchasing new shoes that are built for your particular body type to protect the region.
Your long term health is not worth the risk of a few days of training. Take these necessary precautions and you will ensure that your body is in great shape for the long term.
How To Prevent Heel Pain When Exercising
Achilles tendonitis is an injury that can bother you for many years unless you stay active in prevention.
While you should avoid overly stressing the tendon, gentle stretching of the region may help after the pain has subsided. My preference is the wall calf stretch. This stretch should be conducted only after your muscles are warm, but I’ve discovered that it can be very helpful.
When resting your Achilles tendon, it is a great time to explore various cross training activities. Biking and swimming are two such exercises that work wonders. These activities allow you to receive a great cardio workout without causing pressure on the sensitive Achilles region.
By combining exercises and listening to your body, you too will avoid the discomforts of running heel pain. Stay active in maintaining your fitness and health, and you will be able to reap the rewards for a very long time.
Are you experiencing a different type of nagging pain? Find out how to recover from these other types of running injuries…