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How to Stop Achilles Pain When Running

How to Stop Achilles Pain When Running

How to Stop Achilles Pain When Running

The ultimate guide

Written by Chris Bradley

Where is the Achilles Tendon Located?

If you experience Achilles pain while running, you’ll understand how painful it is and even depressing, particularly as it can affect your ability to remain active. Achilles pain is a common running injury, defined by pain around the back of the heel and leg, swelling, heat around the area, or stiffness after resting for long periods. So, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms during or after running, continue reading to learn more about Achilles pain, such as its common causes, treatments and prevention methods.
Man after achilles tendon rupture operation

The Achilles tendon is the length of tissue that connects your calf to your heel bone. It is the thick tendon at the back of your leg.

Since the Achilles tendon allows you to push off while walking, running, and jumping, it makes sense that it’s the strongest tendon in your body.

What Causes Achilles Pain Whilst Running?

Many factors can contribute to Achilles pain and affect overall foot health, some of which are listed below:

  • Tight or fatigued calf muscles.
  • Increasing your mileage too quickly.
  • Overtraining.
  • Hill running.
  • Speed work.
  • Stiff, worn out, or poor-quality running shoes.

What to do if You Experience Achilles Pain Whilst Running?

If you experience pain while running, then instantly stop running. Do not continue with this form of exercise until you have sought proper treatment.

Take a break from exercising or start cross-training, putting less strain on the area. For example, go swimming instead of running or try other low-impact exercises like cycling.

It’s essential that you take steps to mitigate symptoms, avoiding activities that cause them; otherwise, heel and lower leg pain can worsen, even turning into tendonitis.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

You can have an Achilles injury in several places, but most people have it in the muscle-tendon junction. This type of injury often heals within four to six months with the help of physiotherapy and other appropriate lifestyle changes, which we’ll cover later in this blog.

As mentioned, Achilles pain can turn into tendonitis, leading to tendon tears; at this point, you may require surgery, making early intervention vital.

With Achilles Tendonitis, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • A dull, sharp pain.
  • Limited ankle flexibility.
  • Redness around the heel and back of the leg.
  • A burning sensation.
  • A nodule (a hard lump caused by a buildup of scar tissue).
  • Difficulty standing on toes.

So, other than putting high-impact exercising like running on hold, what else can you do to help alleviate Achilles pain?

Wear Supportive Shoes

Wear appropriate footwear to go running in. Your trainers should match your foot’s arch, providing you with enough comfort and support.

Avoid shoes that put pressure on the back of your heel, as this can irritate the insertion of the tendon. A trainer that has a higher heel may be an appropriate choice.

Stretch Before Running

If you’re experiencing Achilles pain, avoid aggressive calf-stretching exercises, opting for gentler solutions like foam rolling to loosen the muscles.

When you can resume running, ensure you stretch your calves before each session. You should also perform calf stretches in the mornings to ensure the area doesn’t stiffen and you maintain flexibility.

Know When To Rest

When you’re fatigued, take a rest; this may be essential even before you start feeling Achilles pain.

If you are in the stages of recovering from Achilles pain, then apply an ice pack to the painful area for around 15-20 minutes every day to help reduce swelling.

Another way to reduce inflammation is by elevating your foot as much as possible.

Visit a Physiotherapist

As well as resting, stretching, and wearing the appropriate shoes, consider physio as part of your treatment to relieve Achilles pain.

Rest alone will not provide a long-term cure; the pain will return when you resume normal activities.

On the other hand, a physiotherapist will help to rehabilitate your tendon, improving strength to enable it to withstand weight and repetitive actions once more.

A qualified physiotherapist, like one at bodytonic, will have a hands-on approach, incorporating different techniques, such as calf massages, to work on pressure points and relieve any knots. They will also give you a tailored exercise programme to help improve the strength of your tendon.

Now you understand what causes Achilles pain and the ways to reduce symptoms. Ultimately, while rest, ice, and medication offer short-term relief, physiotherapy will help to restore flexibility and strength, ensuring you can safely return to running.

If you are looking for a physiotherapist in Central London, then look no further.

bodytonic clinic is an award-winning clinic based in the heart of London; since 2006, we have offered a full range of treatments, from physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic or shockwave therapy, and more.

bodytonic also offers various massage treatments, such as sports massage and deep tissue massage, to relax muscles, reduce pain, and restore function.

So, regardless of whether you have only recently started experiencing Achilles pain while running or it is an ongoing problem, book a physiotherapy appointment today; one of our professional physiotherapists can help reduce symptoms and minimise any further damage.

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