If the warmer spring weather has you ready to run off those extra pounds you accumulated during the long cold winter, make sure you start out gradually to avoid Achilles heel pain. There is a fun page on MapMyRun that may help. Local runners have created maps of runs they have done around Collingwood and share stats about them. You can try some short ones at first and gradually move to longer ones.
The reason you begin gradually is to lessen the chance of injury. Your body needs time to condition your muscles, tendons and ligaments to this extra activity, as well as your heart and lungs. If you rush out and overdo things, you could damage your Achilles tendon, causing nagging pain at the back of your heel.
Achilles tendinitis is a risk for younger people who suddenly increase activity, run too often on hard surfaces, or have calf muscles that are too tight. The same is true if you do little physical activity through the week and then go out and play tennis or basketball on the weekend. In older people, arthritis can cause tendinitis if a bone spur forms and rubs against the tendon. These conditions irritate the tendon and cause swelling and inflammation as your body rushes extra fluid to the area to repair the damage.
Unfortunately, the best way to heal tendinitis is to rest from activity for a period of time. Yes, that means not running for a while until the tissue has healed. That doesn’t mean you have to sit inside all day. There’s no reason you couldn’t bicycle or walk some of those same routes.
As soon as you notice any pain at the back of your heel or ankle during activity or when you first get up in the morning, start RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and give Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood a call at (705) 444-9929. Quick action in the first week or two will reduce your risk of a chronic problem with a long recovery time. An examination and gait analysis may point out issues that are easily addressed with custom orthotics or physiotherapy. Massage, laser treatment for pain, stretches, and other technologies will help you heal, and we can provide expert running advice as well. Don’t wait—call today!
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