The Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in your body, connects the muscles of your calf to your heel bone. You count on this tendon whenever you walk, run, jump, climb stairs or stand on your tiptoes to reach that top shelf.
Achilles tendinitis is a common condition that develops when the tendon grows irritated and inflamed through overuse or degeneration. Symptoms can include persistent pain in the back of your heel, difficulty walking, and swelling, tenderness and warmth of your Achilles tendon.
Before you endure these levels of discomfort unnecessarily, take advantage of six things you can do to lessen your chances of developing Achilles tendinitis in the first place.
The more body weight you’re carrying, the more stress you’re putting on your Achilles tendon. Stay with a healthy diet and lifestyle to manage your weight as much as you can, and if you’re struggling to get to a healthy weight, visit your primary practitioner for extra help and support.
Running is a fantastic way to strengthen your leg muscles and improve your cardiovascular health. However, going from couch to marathon without gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your running routine is a big invitation to irritating and damaging your Achilles tendon.
Start any exercise regimen slowly, and gradually lengthen your workout and increase intensity over a few weeks, even months, rather than days.
Whether it’s cold outside or you simply haven’t warmed up properly, exercising when your muscles are cold leads to tightness and additional strain on your Achilles tendon. Always warm up properly before you go for a run or start your workout, and be sure to stretch it out afterward, too.
That spontaneous game of soccer with the guys on Sunday might sound like a great idea, but if you haven’t played any sports recently, you’re putting yourself at risk of irritating your Achilles tendon and damaging other muscles and ligaments in your body.
Play sports regularly rather than rarely to keep your body working in tip-top condition and prevent Achilles tendinitis from ruining your day.
Working out in worn-out shoes can also wear down your Achilles tendon because your heel and calf aren’t supported properly. Your running shoes should be well cushioned and have firm arch support to reduce the risk of tendinitis.
Replace your sports shoes regularly to ensure they’re giving you all the support you need.
Doing too much of the same thing, including running, can cause irritation and degeneration. It’s always a good idea to have a variety in your exercise routine to ensure that more muscle groups, ligaments, and tendons are building up strength and durability.
Alternating high-impact activities like aerobics, running and jumping with gentler, low-impact activities such as cycling and swimming can give you a full-body workout that prevents Achilles tendinitis rather than encourages it.
If you want to find out more about the best ways to prevent Achilles tendinitis from striking you down and keeping you down and in pain, visit Dr. Kazmer at Kazmer Foot & Ankle Centers for a full assessment and prevention plan unique to you and your exercise regimen and goals. Simply call or book your consultation online today.