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Run Free: Tips to Prevent Achilles Strain

Sometimes running challenges are planned: you conquer hills or take a longer route to improve. Other challenges are not planned and can make your run much more difficult, like sudden weather changes, hostile dogs, and Achilles pain. You can’t control all your running challenges, but you can control some—with a little care, you can run free from Achilles strain.

Achilles strain is often the result of your tendon being stiff and inflexible or overworked. The hard impacts and tension from pushing off the ground when you run aggravates your Achilles. If you’re not careful, you can easily strain the tendon. Inflammation sets in and the tissue begins to degenerate, making it increasingly painful to run.

Achilles strain is preventable, though. The stronger and more prepared your tendon is, the more miles you can log and the faster you can go without pain.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your Achilles happy and healthy:

  1. Stretch – A stiff Achilles can’t stretch as easily to accommodate your running. Stretch it and your calves daily to keep them flexible.

  2. Strengthen – A strong tendon is less susceptible to many injuries. Perform strengthening exercises like heel lifts and others to build power in your Achilles and calves.

  3. Condition – Condition your tendon to handle more miles or faster runs. Start slow and increase your miles or speed over time so the tendon can grow to handle it.

  4. Cross-train – Take time to do more than run—low-impact activities allow you to challenge your Achilles (and legs) in other ways.

  5. Rest – Don’t push yourself too far. Plan days off in your routine to allow your Achilles to recover from the stress of your runs.

  6. Warm up and cool down – Before you hit the trail and after you’re finished, warm up and cool down carefully. That way your tendon is prepared to perform at the start and eased down from the strain of your run.

The more you invest in your Achilles tendon now, the better it will be for your running in the long term. No one likes taking a forced vacation from their regular miles. If you aren’t sure how to best care for a problematic tendon, or you’re already dealing with an injury, let our experts at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC in Metairie, LA, help you run strong. You can use our website or call (504) 708-4810 to make an appointment at our office today!

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