Running After Achilles Tendinitis

Have you ever been sidelined by an injury and felt like you’d never be able to return to your favorite activity? If you’re a runner who’s dealt with Achilles tendinitis, you know this feeling all too well. But don’t worry, getting back to running after Achilles tendinitis is possible with the right approach.

First of all, let me just say that recovering from Achilles tendinitis is no joke. It’s a painful and frustrating injury that requires a lot of patience and dedication to overcome. But the good news is that with the right treatment plan and dedication you can make it through.

So, what exactly is Achilles tendinitis?

It’s an overuse injury that occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, becomes inflamed. It can be caused by a number of factors, including overuse, improper footwear, weak hip muscles, and tight calf muscles. The pain can range from mild to severe and can make running, walking, or even standing difficult.

If you’re dealing with Achilles tendinitis, the first step is to rest and allow your body to heal. This means taking a break from running and other activities that put a strain on your Achilles tendon. It’s also important to ice (I’m a big fan of the 4-minute ice cup massage) the affected area and elevate your leg to reduce inflammation.

Once you’re feeling better, it’s time to start a gradual return to running. This is where things can get a little tricky. If you initiate your return too quickly or add increase mileage too fast, this can exacerbate your injury and set you back even further. But you also don’t want to wait too long, as this can cause your muscles to weaken and make it even harder to return to running.

So, how do you strike the right balance? Here are some tips for returning to running after Achilles tendinitis:

  1. Start with walking: Before you start running, it’s a good idea to build up your strength and endurance by walking. Start with short walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time.
  2. Incorporate calf stretches and strengthening: Tight calf muscles can contribute to Achilles tendinitis, so it’s important to incorporate calf stretches into your routine. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat several times. Strengthening of the calf muscle includes using eccentric (lengthening techniques) at an exceptionally slow speed.
  3. Gradually increase your running time and distance: Once you feel comfortable walking, you can start incorporating short periods of running into your routine. Start with just a few minutes at a time and gradually increase your running time and distance over several weeks.
  4. Focus on form: Pay attention to your running form, particularly your foot strike. Avoid overstriding and focus on landing midfoot or forefoot to reduce strain on your Achilles tendon.
  5. Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to return to running after Achilles tendinitis, consider seeking the help of a physical therapist. At Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy, our team of experienced therapists can provide a variety of treatments, including manual therapy, exercise, and education to help you recover from Achilles tendinitis and return to running safely.

Returning to running after Achilles tendinitis is as much art as it is science. It takes time, patience, and dedication to recover. But with the right approach and some skilled oversight, it’s possible to get back to doing what you love. We at Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy are here to help. We are locally owned and we love working with Athletes in our West Michigan communities.

If you need help with recovering from an injury and getting back to the activity that you love, reach out to your local Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy clinic today. Schedule a free consultation to determine if physical therapy is right for you or if you just need some tips and tricks to get you there. Click Here to Schedule.

Learn More About
the Author

Scott Devries, MSPT