Overcoming Achilles tendonitis

August 7, 2013

Injuries can be a real pain when you’re a fitness enthusiast. Lower body injuries can be especially challenging if you’re a runner or a cyclist. It’s always wise to take precautions against becoming injured, but sometimes they are unavoidable.

Achilles tendonitis is a frustrating injury that occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed from overuse or excessive strain. The Achilles tendon joins the heel bone to the calf muscles and is located at the back of the leg. It’s the body’s largest tendon and can endure a lot, but is still susceptible to injury when pushed too hard from too many miles logged on the home treadmill like the PS100 Treadmill or stationary bikes like the ES9.0 Upright Bike.

Achilles tendon injuries account for 5 to 12 percent of running injuries as well as a good portion of cycling injuries. Most issues occur at the midpoint, right above the heel causing pain from the heel all the way up the back of the leg.

Treating Achilles tendonitis
If you have a suspicion you’ve developed Achilles tendonitis, it’s best to get a doctor’s diagnosis. Never ignore it, as it can lead to a tear, and the only remedy at that point is surgery. To treat tendonitis is much less drastic. Achilles tendons receive little blood flow, so injury recovery can take a while to heal in full. The tendon needs to be stretched to increase flexibility and strengthened along with the muscles around it to withstand the pressures and distances of cycling and running.

Simple exercises like calf raises, rising up on tiptoes and lowering back down, can increase muscles mass in your calves. In addition, stretches like stair heel drops, standing on a step facing the staircase and dropping your heel, increases flexibility of the tendon and the muscles, which have tightened overtime with too much use.

It’s also crucial to take some time off to reduce inflammation. Icing the area will reduce any swelling and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Aleve or Ibuprofen will help with pain.

It is also a good idea to look into the footwear you’ve been wearing. Whether you’re on an outdoor bike, the road or home fitness equipment, improper footwear can lead to injuries because your feet are not being properly handled. Finding the right shoes for your foot type can alleviate pain and stress put on your Achilles tendon.