Based on my recent experience of this injury, below are some tips on recovery. However treatment, should always be tailored to the individual, and specialist advice should be sought.
1. Stop and Rest: Allow the pain to subside coupled with regular icing and taking pain killers. Don’t stretch or do any heel dips, until the pain has subsided.
2. See a Physiotherapist: Physiotherapy helps to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. It can also help to reduce your risk of injury or illness in the future.
3. Running shoes: As a rule of thumb change them 300-500 miles. The ability of the shoe to absorb impact starts to diminish and it offers you less support, which increases the chance of developing injuries. Also consider wearing an ankle support with your running shoes.
4. Running Form: Get a specialist to analyse your running form, check if there is any over pronation. Further to changing your shoes typical treatments could include inserting a performance insole to help control foot movement, which provides more support to help reduce the chance of developing injuries. You can get £10 off by using the code: MARCUS10 from Enertor Performance Insoles.
5. Build strength and flexibility: Typically poor calf strength will lead to overcompensation in the Achilles’ tendon. So look at targeting the muscle groups in the leg including the calf. Everybody is different so there may be imbalances in other areas of the the body which lead to injuries. A Physiotherapist is best placed to advise with this. Therefore other forms of exercises like Yoga and Pilates should be considered to help develop flexibility and strength.
6. Sports massage: If you run regularly then seeing getting a sports massage should be part of your programme. For the Achilles, massages to the calf are essential. Sports massages help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by encouraging increased blood and lymph flow to areas the body, this helps speed up recovery to muscles which are fatigued. I use DOMS Ease aromatherapy oil for my sports massages. You can get a 10% discount by using the discount code: Marcus
7. Got a spoon: A sports massage you can do at home is to use the flat blunt edge, of a spoon handle, hold it pressed against your tendon and vertically go up and down the tendon for no more than 7 repetitions.
8. Ice: Apply twice minimum twice a day for no more than 7 minutes. Ensure that ice isn’t directly applied to the body which will result in a cold burn. Apply it with a cloth.
9. Ankle dips: Stand with your toes on a step and the rest of the foot unsupported. Then slowly drop the back of the foot down till you feel the stretch in the Achilles, then come back up again the effort should be in the extension dropping down phase. Do a minimum of 2 x 20 sets daily. A general principle with the Achilles recovery is to overload the tendon through concentric and eccentric loading, which develops strength.
If after a period of around six months your Achilles hasn’t improved despite applying the suggestions above, it’s time to consult with your Doctor as surgery may be required.