5 things you CAN do to help your Achilles pain!
- Have a look at your footwear. How old are your shoes? Athletic shoes are designed to last 600-800kms. That sounds like a lot but for most people it's only about 6 months wear! Annnnnd that's when you only wear them for the activity they are designed for. If you wear your runners all day, you really should be getting a new pair every 3-4 months or perhaps consider a different type of shoe for daily wear.
- Then think about your work shoes? Do you wear high heels? Or even dress shoes with a bit of heel? These are great for reducing compressive load on the tendon but if you then put your runners/footy boots on which may be quite flat (zero drop) imagine how your Achilles feels! You are now putting it under the stress of activity and you've taken it out of its comfort zone. Of course it's not going to be happy! Try to mix up the heel heights of work shoes so that your Achilles doesn't get used to being in a shortened position.
- Keep active, in some form at least! Tendons need to be worked to strengthen – keep an activity diary so you can work out what activity is causing you issues and then you can modify your training to help with your pain. If you recently increased your activity over a short period of time, you may have done too much too soon. Back it off a little bit, change up the terrain, avoid hills etc.
- Get a massage. Or use your foam roller. Stretching is a big no no for tendon issues, however tightness in the gastrocnemius/ soleus complex is an associated issue – massage can release tension without adding to the compressive load on the tendon.
- Come and see us or your Physiotherapist/ Osteopath for a tailored rehab program. I can't stress the importance of being true to yourself in regards to rehab. If the Achilles isn't loaded appropriately it will not get to a point where your normal activity is okay for it to handle. I have lots of patients who tell me they have done all the rehab stuff… but often when I really quiz them they didn't do it consistently or gave up after a month or so. All good things take time, as does strengthening the largest tendon in our bodies!
- If you're really struggling with pain, we have Dolorclast shockwave therapy available at our clinic. Shockwave therapy is a fantastic treatment for lots of injuries including Achilles tendinosis. To keep it simple, shockwave therapy increases blood flow for healing and reduces pain. It is a very well-researched and reputable treatment with lots of randomized control trials (high quality studies) to support its effectiveness; they are now using it in all AFL clubs and large sporting facilities. So we are very very lucky to have access to it down here!