It goes without saying that regular exercise is hugely important to anybody's health, but if you want to avoid injury, you have to make sure you do it right. Achilles tendinitis is a painful and debilitating condition, very common among runners, and the root cause of it is often running with improper equipment or technique
Achilles tendinitis is a painful swelling of the Achilles tendon, that may be accompanied by tearing in more severe cases. Achilles tendinitis is a repetitive strain injury, and while the Achilles tendinitis is very tough, it does not respond well to overuse or excessive, high-impact exercise. It can also be difficult to treat, keepng you off your feet for extended periods and, in serious cases, perhaps necessitating surgery - with that in mind, here are a few simple steps you can take to avoid developing Achilles tendinitis.
Keep your exercise schedule regular - Increase the speed and distance of your runs gradually. Many new cases of Achilles tendinitis occur straight after a significant increase in intensity, without giving the body enough time to adjust to the new workload by building up to it gradually.
Know your limits - Achilles tendinitis is common amongst middle aged people, and while they may have run the same distances and speeds for years, the ageing process naturally wears away at the strength and elasticity of the Achilles tendon. While keeping active into later life is obviously a great boon, you may prefer to switch to lower impact exercises, such as cycling or swimming.
Loosen up - Stretching properly before a run is important, but you should always make sure your calf muscles in particular are properly relaxed - tight calf muscles during runs place extra strain on the tendons.
Footwear - Make sure you're wearing the right running shoes. Ideally, you should be running in a pair of shoes that provide both good arch support and proper shock absorption under the heel. Most importantly, you should make sure they fit properly. If you are required to wear orthotic inserts to correct improper gait, consult with your podiatrist before beginning any jogging routine, as you may be better off running with or without the inserts depending on your needs. You should also pay attention to the shoes you wear when you're not exercising - high heels are notoriously bad for the heels, and should be avoided by dedicated joggers.
Eccentric exercise - Eccentric exercises serve to tighten muscles without elongating them, and are effective at strengthening tendons and ligaments if done properly. A gentle routine of calf raises, heel drops and other eccentric exercises focusing on the calves will greatly strengthen your Achilles tendons against injury - however, you should make sure to always perform them before or between runs, and not straight after when the tendons are still recovering.
Contact a local podiatrist, such as Dapto Podiatry Clinic, if you're in pain.