5 Tips to Prevent Achilles Tendon Injuries
The Achilles tendon travels along the back of your ankle. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone, and when it is stretched or torn, even simple movements like walking and jogging can be excruciatingly painful. Severe Achilles injuries might produce pain even when standing.
When a tendon is strained, it takes time to repair since it is a thick cord of connective tissue. As a result, preventing an Achilles tendon injury is far easier than managing one. To avoid Achilles tendon pain or trauma, follow these five tips:1. Stretch and strengthen
Stretch your calf muscles daily by drawing your toes toward your shin or standing with your heels dangling off the edge of a stairwell. Each time, hold for 15-30 seconds. Foam rolling your calf muscles can also help to loosen them and reduce strain on your Achilles tendons.
Calf strengthening exercises, such as seated or standing calf raises, can help your muscles and tendons absorb more force, which can help prevent injury. Consult our doctors about the best exercises for you.2. Increase workouts slowly
Increasing the number of miles you run or the intensity of your exercises too rapidly can put your Achilles tendons in danger of injury. Increase the intensity, duration, or distance of your workouts gradually, adding about 10% more each week. Doing too much too quickly leads to pain and harm.
Warm up for 5-10 minutes before your activity with a jog, brisk stroll, or a sequence of jumping jacks and lunges. This will improve circulation to your Achilles tendons and calf muscles, allowing them to handle the job ahead of them.3. Wear the right footwear
Choose running or sports shoes with good heel cushioning. In addition, have your gait evaluated at a local running store. Having the proper footwear allows you to exercise and move around in shoes that provide adequate support for your feet, reducing your risk of strain. And, as your shoes begin to wear out, replace them to maintain proper support.
If you must run, choose the surface with care. Rather than using cement, choose a trail or track. Running on concrete increases your chances of straining your Achilles tendons.4. Mix up your workouts
If you run, dance, or kickboxing, your joints and tendons, particularly your Achilles tendons, can take a battering. Reduce the intensity of a few of your weekly workouts to give your body a vacation. Swim, use an elliptical trainer, or rowing machine to get a workout without risking Achilles tendon injury.
5. Rest at the first sign of pain
If you have a minor aching, stiffness, or throbbing in the back of your heel and ankle, avoid jogging or other high-impact activities for a few days until the pain goes away. Pushing through the pain may aggravate the tendon and increase your chances of developing long-term tendinitis.
Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center can assist you if you have any foot or ankle problems. Make an appointment online or by phone now.Symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury
If you think you may have injured the Achilles tendon, you may feel one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain down the back of your leg or around your heel.
- Pain that worsens while you exercise.
- When you first get up, your Achilles tendon is stiff and sore.
- The day after exercising, you have tendon pain.
- Swelling and soreness that worsens as you move around over the day.
- Your tendon is thickening.
- Heel spurs are bony growths on the heel bone.
- Flexion of the afflicted foot is difficult.
- A "pop" sound and a sudden acute pain indicate a ruptured tendon.
Even if you follow these Achilles tendonitis prevention tips, there will always be some chance of damage when staying active. It may appear difficult to find "good news" when thinking about injury, but there is at least one: most foot and ankle injuries may be properly treated using nonsurgical methods.
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