Achilles Heel Pain

Achilles Heel Pain: The Achilles tendon inserts into the back of the heel. If overused it can lead to insertion pain! Treat it at home.


Types Of Achilles Heel Pain:


1)Achilles Tendonitis Heel Pain:

Achilles Heel Pain
Soreness in the Achilles heel is most likely Achilles tendinitis. This is worse in the morning, but gets better with light walking.
  • The most common cause of achilles heel pain is an overuse injury.
  • This leads to inflammation of the achilles tendon, this leads to  Achilles heel soreness.
  • This will appear as morning pain that gets better with 15-20 minutes of walking!


Achilles Tendonitis Heel Pain Symptoms:

Sore Achilles Heel
A sore Achilles heel can predispose you to an Achilles tendon rupture. The chronic inflammation can cause calcification and weakness.
  • Pain in the back of the heel.
  • Sore insertion of the achilles heel.
  • Swelling may occur.
  • You may experience Achilles heel soreness in the morning.
  • The stiffness and pain go away with walking.
  • Decreased strength.
  • Sluggishness in calf muscle.

See the Achilles Heel Pain Treatment Section Below.


2)Achilles Heel Tear:

Achilles Heel Tear
If you have an Achilles heel tear, the pain will usually be severe! You will not be able to lift yourself up on that foot, even if partially torn.
  • An Achilles tear is usually partial.
  • A complete tear can occur, this will lead to a complete loss of calf muscle function.
  • Most common in males 30-50 years old.
  • Especially jumping or falling.

Achilles Heel Tear Symptoms:

  •  There will be a sudden sharp tearing feeling.
  • This is usually in a big fall.
  • Severe heel pain.
  • Will not be able to stand on tippy toes.
  • If you look at both Achilles tendons, there will be a groove if fully torn.


 3)Achilles Heel Spur:

Achilles Heel Spur
Over years or decades of chronic inflammation, an achilles heel spur can develop!
  • An Achilles heel spur can usually develop.
  • This usually happens after years of achilles heel pain & inflammation.
  • The chronic overuse can lead to micro-tears that fill in with blood.
  • This blood can then calcify over time.

Achilles Heel Spur Symptoms:

  • Achilles heel soreness.
  • Usually worse in the morning, gets better with light walking.
  • You can feel a palpable mass with your fingers.
  • It may press against the back of the shoe and cause pain.

See the Achilles Heel Pain Treatment Section Below.



4) Achilles Heel Pain Running:

Achilles Heel Pain Running
Achilles heel pain running is a result of overuse of your achilles tendon. Each step forces the achilles to absorb about 3-4x your body weight!
  • Walking and running are the most common causes of Achilles heel pain.
  • This condition is frequently due to overuse of the tendon.
  • Ever step you take during running strikes at 3-4x your body weight.
  • During walking this can be around 2x your body weight with each step.
  • So for most of us that is about 800 pounds of weight with each step!
  • This continues for a few thousand steps.

Achilles Heel Pain Running Modifications:

  • If your plantar fascia, achilles tendon and hamstrings are tight, this needs to be corrected.
  • Studies show that you need at least a certain amount of flexibility, which most non-athletes do not have!
  • If you cannot dorsiflex your foot 10 degrees (or 80 degrees to the shin), you are at risk!
  • This alters your running mechanics and places extra unnecessary strain through your foot and ankle.



Achilles Heel Pain Treatment:


1) Sore Achilles Heel Pain Relief!

  • This stage alone can give 50-60% complete resolution of symptoms!
  • It will take a couple days or weeks to decrease the pain.
  • Once the pain is gone, stretch and exercise to strengthen the Achilles!


A)Massage The Back Of The Heel & Achilles:

Achilles Heel Pain
Massaging the achilles heel tendon reduces pain within 10- 15 minutes.
  • Use your hands.
  • Use a tennis ball.
  • Use a rolling pin or any other on-line special item.
  • Anything will work as long as it doesn’t damage at the skin.
  • Any blood flow or motion will decrease the pain within 15-20 minutes.

My Recommendation: Freeze a water bottle, stick it in an old t-shirt and ice your Achilles!


B)Ice The Back Of The Heel & Achilles:

Achilles Heel Pain Treatment
Achilles Heel Pain is best treated by icing for 15-20 minutes 2-3x per day.
  • Do this 2-3x a day for 2-3 days.
  • The inflammatory process needs to end for healing to being.
  • Each session of 15-20 minutes will decrease the flow of inflammatory cells.
  • Afterwards the arteries will vasodilate flushing out inflammatory cells.
  • Ice has deeper penetrating power than heat.
  • But heat can work as well.

My Recommendation: Use ice rather than heat.


C)Topical or Oral Anti-inflammatory Medication:

Achilles Heel Pain
Achilles Heel Pain is due to inflammation. The sooner these inflammatory mediators can be decreased, the faster the healing stage can begin!
  • These include Ibuprofen & Aspirin.
  • This can be over the counter or prescription.
  • Do not take these unless instructed to do so by your physician or podiatrist.
  • Take a 1-2 week course of pills.
  • This will decrease the inflammation and speed up your healing time.
  • Take 2-3x doses per day as instructed by podiatrist,
  • This dosage builds up anti-inflammatory enzyme levels in your system.
  • Taking just 1-2 pills and then stopping does nothing for inflammation!

My Recommendation: Be careful of stomach irritation!


D)Once pain is decreased, start Achilles heel stretches & exercises!

  • Achilles heel exercises and stretching are needed to correct the cause of pain.
  • Studies show that at least 10 degrees of ankle motion off the floor are needed to walk without stressing the achilles tendon.


2) Achilles Heel Stretches & Exercises:

  • The plantar fascia & the Achilles tendon are basically a continuation of each other.
  • They both need to be stretched out to take tension off the achilles tendon.
Achilles Heel Pain Exercises
Achilles heel pain stretching needs to get at least 80 degrees of dorsiflexionto the leg.
If it does not, you are at risk for achilles tendonitis.
  •  Biomechanical studies show that the foot the foot needs at least 80 degrees of dorsiflexion to the leg (10 degrees off the ground.).
  • If it does not, the foot must compensate.
  • This puts increased stress on the Achilles tendon.


A) Plantar Fascia Stretching Exercises:

  • Most stretches of the plantar fascia, stretch the calf as well.
  • The calf and plantar fascia are essentially a continuation of each other.
Achilles Heel Stretching
Achilles Heel Stretching begins with stretching the plantar fascia. Stretch it for 15 seconds 2-3x per day.
  • Pick one stretch for each muscle group.
  • All stretches should be for 15-30 seconds until tightness.
  • Do these 2-3x per day.
  • The entire stretching session should take less than 5 minutes per day.
Achilles Heel Exercises
Another Achilles heel exercise is stretching your foot with a towel. Do this while watching TV in the morning!

B) Achilles Tendon Stretching Exercises:

Achilles Heel Stretching Exercises
Achilles Heel Stretching Exercises all work, the specific exercise is not the most important thing. Most people just never stretch at all, don’t be that guy!
  • Stretch your calf muscle as well as the plantar fascia.
  • Most stretches work both the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon.
  • All stretches should be for 15-30 seconds until tightness, 2-3x for the calf.
achilles heel stretch
This achilles heel exercise will both strengthen the tendon and stretch it out!
  • Stretching will take a long time, weeks and months!
  • This will keep you pain away and make you feel more athletic than ever!
  • Studies show stretching is the single most important thing to keeping the pain away.


C) Hamstring Stretching Exercises:

  • It is also extremely important to stretch out your hamstring.
  • All stretches should be for 15-30 seconds until tightness, 2-3x for the plantar fascia.
  • Stretching this muscle out will help take tension off the Achilles tendon.
Hamstring Stretching Exercises
The hamstring is a muscle that frequently is very tight! Flexibility here will help take pressure off the Achilles tendon.

My Recommendation: I like to always stretch both legs at once, this saves those crucial minutes!

Achilles Heel Pain Stretching
Stretch both legs at once, this works for both the hamstring muscle and the Achilles tendon!

D) Ho Long Do I Keep Stretching:

  • Pick one plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and hamstring stretch.
  • Ideally you will stretch even more muscles in the leg as you become more knowledgeable.
  • In a few weeks you will notice how flexible you are becoming.
  • It will feel less painful to walk and run.
  • With more elasticity, the joints work much more naturally.
  • You will be able to stand longer and run farther.
  • It should even decrease your knee, hip and lower back pain.
  • You will notice results in a couple weeks, and hopefully continue this habit for life!
  • Stretching is the secret to amazing running and walking biomechanics.

  • Don’t ignore it!




3) Extra Heel Support & Shoes:

  • This stage gives 80-90% success in relieving symptoms!
  • Once you regain some flexibility, support is needed!
  • This means good over the counter arch supports.
  • It also means a proper pair of shoes to keep the pain away.



A) Heel Supporting Shoes:

  • Get a good running shoe.
  • Make sure it has a stiff base.
  • May sure it is not too flexible.
  • Make sure there is enough room for your big toe and pinky toes.
  • The heel counter should be rigid.
  • The average running shoe should be worn less than 400 miles or so.
  • This is about 3-6 months, don’t keep a shoe for years!
  • I’m as frugal as it gets, but you can get a good new shoe for $35 on sale.
  • Don’t risk your future mobility!
Achilles Tendon Heel Pain
It is important to get good stiff soled shoes. Some shoes are much too flexible at the bottom and heel. Some people also wear them far too long!


B) Fit Supporting Shoes Properly:

  • Fit your shoes in the evening.
  • Your feet are the most swollen at night.
  • Use a Brannock device to measure your size properly.
  • Measure your foot length.
  • Measure your arch length.
  • Measure your foot width length.


Brannock Device for Achilles Heel
A brannock device should be used every year. Your foot does change since you have been a teenager!


C) Achilles Heel Pain Orthotic:

  • Get a good rigid over the counter foot orthotic.
  • There are many crummy brands out there.
  • Get a rigid pair that supports the arch.
  • This is extremely important.
  • Try ordering Powersteps online, they are about 20-30$.
Achilles Heel Pain Orthotic
A good Achilles Heel Pain Orthotic will take the tension off the tendon with each step!


4) Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis!

  • Does the bottom of your arch hurts as well?
  • Think Plantar Fasciitis!