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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
B) Achilles Tendon Stretching Exercises:
- 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.
- 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.
My Recommendation: I like to always stretch both legs at once, this saves those crucial minutes!
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 $35 on sale.
- Don’t risk your future mobility!
B) Fit Supporting Shoes Properly:
- Fit your shoes in the evening.
- Your feet are the most swollen at night.
- Use a Brannock device to measure your size properly.
- Measure your foot length.
- Measure your arch length.
- Measure your foot width length.
C) Achilles Heel Pain Orthotic:
- Get a good rigid over the counter foot orthotic.
- There are many crummy brands out there.
- Get a rigid pair that supports the arch.
- This is extremely important.
- Try ordering Powersteps online, they are about 20-30$.
4) Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis!
- Does the bottom of your arch hurts as well?
- Think Plantar Fasciitis!