Every day, my personal training clients ask for advice about their assorted pains, strains, aches, cramps, and twinges. I’ve been involved in athletics and fitness long enough to have had them all, so, although I’m not a physician, I almost always have some helpful guidance. Recently, a client asked for advice regarding pain near his heel. From our brief discussion, it appeared that he was suffering from chronic relapsing Achilles tendinitis.

The Achilles tendon’s job is to help your calf muscle pull your heel, so you can rise up on your toes and push off when you walk or run. Some people get Achilles tendinitis due to lack of flexibility and mobility at the ankle joint, as well as overpronation at the ankle.

Tendinitis is defined as localized inflammation, typically caused by overuse. I’ve had loads of tendinitis, mostly in my elbows and rotator cuffs, and I know from experience, that, even in mild cases, it can take MONTHS of rest for the tendon to fully heal. If you suspect or have been diagnosed with tendinitis, you mustn’t start back up until you’ve been cleared by your physician or team doctor. At the first sign of symptoms, the best thing to do is rest, start a cycle of anti-inflammatory pain medicine, and do gentle stretching exercises. To prevent tendinitis from happening again, a proper warm up is extremely important, before athletic performance. Although stretching and strengthening are important for maintaining healthy, pliable tendons, they can be weakened by over-stretching and inflammation.

Some physicians and exercise physiologists will suggest a shoe with a soft, thick heel to support your run. I’m more of the mindset that you should use a minimal shoe, which will encourage proper mechanics and strengthening of the foot. In any case, I suggest seeking the advice of a medical professional. My Physical Therapist, Chris, at PhysioFitness, is an expert at sports injury rehab, and has been helping me by implementing Active Release Technique.

If you have joint pain, muscle pain, or any other exercise-related issue, please give Chris a call.  His hands are powerful, and his brain is loaded with great physio technique.

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