Many runners are familiar with Achilles tendinitis, a common injury where the tendon on the back of the ankle becomes inflamed. Although this swelling can be painful (especially during strenuous exercise) and requires a bit of TLC, it can be prevented. Keeping these tips in mind, you can reduce the chances of this common injury so you and your muscles can continue a stress-free stride!
- Stretch: One of the main causes of Achilles tendonitis is lack of flexibility. When your Achilles tendon is tight, it can easily becomes inflamed — especially with exercise. Prevent injury and keep your calves flexible by stretching before and after your workout with these calf stretches.
- Check your technique: Proper technique, especially while running, is important to prevent increased stress on your muscles. Excessive overpronation during a run is a leading cause of Achilles tendonitis. If your runs are often painful, then check your technique. Asking a trainer to evaluate your form and keeping these tips in mind will make you a mindful runner and avoid injury. You may also need orthotics to readjust your foot position altogether.
- Invest in proper running shoes: If you're starting to notice a dull or sharp pain anywhere along the back of your leg tendon, then it may be a sign of Achilles tendonitis as well as your cue for a new pair of kicks. Without proper support, the tendon is stressed and inflamed. Make sure your shoes offer the right support and are flexible, since inflexible running shoes force the Achilles to twist. When it comes to your health, don't settle on an average shoe. Choose a shoe that is designed for your sport and your needs.
- Warm up: One of the main causes of tendonitis happens from abrupt movements that cause microtears in the tendon. These small tears are the result of sudden movements when the muscle is not warmed up. Prevent stress to the calf muscle by making sure your are fully warmed up before a run .
- Remain aware: Simply being aware will not only prevent injury, but also make you a better athlete. Achilles tendonitis often occurs when you begin a new fitness regime or increase your mileage. If you start to notice a slight pain, then ease up and treat it properly. Tendonitis is curable, but if it was not treated or you choose to "push through it," the tendon could tear or even rupture.