4 Secrets To Treating Achilles Tendon PainMay 22, 2022
The first step in treatment of Achilles tendon pain is RICE…(but before you go buying a 10kg bag of basmati) lets digest the following:
R – REST
I – ICE
C – COMPRESS
E – ELEVATE
Rest your leg up at hip height and use a ice pack (or frozen bag of peas) placed directly underneath your achilles/heel area. Leave ice pack compressed on for 20 minutes, and off for 40 minutes and repeat 2-3 times in the evening. This method is best used when you have first strained your achilles. A heat pack is nice to use once inflammation has settled after a few days and can then be alternated from ice to heat.
Once the achilles tendon has settled with rest, it is important to introduce some very gentle stretching to the calf muscle as stiffness usually accompanies an achilles strain. Place your affected leg in a straight position a step back and lunge forward with your other leg (knee bent) with hands against wall until you feel a gentle stretch at the back of your leg. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 2-3 times in the morning and evening. Do not over stretch as this could cause a flare up again.
The most important advice when out walking/at work is the appropriate amount of heel height in your shoes when you have achilles tendon pain. Best practice is to avoid wearing any shoe that has a flat heel counter of less than an inch. Runners are the best choice of footwear for reducing excessive pulling on the tendon and providing a soft heel collar to further reduce irritation on the achilles. Flat and pumps are usually the worst for exacerbating achilles tendon pain.
- Strengthening work
Once the achilles tendon has settled with the above advice, it is essential to introduce some strength work for the achilles in order to prevent future flare ups. Current research in this area recommends seeing a Podiatrist/Physical therapist for a progressive rehabilitation plan to increase the strength at a safe and gradual rate to prevent repeated strains/possible rupture of the tendon. It is essential to also look at other areas such as potential weaknesses in your foot/ankle, calf flexibility issues and other variable factors to make sure you never have to put up with Achilles Tendon pain again!