At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we fully expect to start seeing more cases of Achilles tendonitis once the “get fit” New Year’s resolutions kick into high gear. Although becoming physically fit is an excellent goal, too many of our Hartford and Middlesex county patients can be overzealous in their approach, which often results in lower extremity pain and injury.
The Achilles tendon is a long band of tissue that stretches down the back of your lower leg, connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. While this is a very strong tendon, overuse can cause it to become inflamed and even to suffer damage in the form of micro-tears.
Below are five steps to take to prevent Achilles tendonitis:
Don’t overdo it when starting a new exercise routine. The most common cause of injury to the Achilles tendon is a sudden increase in physical activity after an extended period of inactivity. Once the resolution to get in shape has been made, many times people get carried away with their enthusiasm and a “more is better” approach is adopted. The better course is to start out slowly and gradually, over a period of weeks, work up to a higher intensity workout of longer duration.
- Stretch it out. Whatever sport or activity you choose, start by warming up your muscles with some light movements and then stretch your calf muscles before going fully into your routine.
- Wear the right shoes. Choose footwear that is specifically designed for the activity you are doing. Patients who overpronate are more likely to aggravate their Achilles tendon. Talk to our podiatrists, Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. and Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M., for shoe recommendations if you overpronate.
- Choose a sound fitness program. Hill running, stair climbing and rapidly pushing off or increasing speed when running are all activities that can inflame the Achilles tendon. Be sure that these types of activities are done in moderation if they are part of your workout plan.
- Get pain evaluated promptly. If at any time during your workout your Achilles tendon starts to hurt, stop and rest. If the pain persists after your workout, contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices for an appointment to determine if there is inflammation or injury.