Achilles tendon injuries are very difficult injuries to overcome, and happen mostly because of overuse and are considered to be injuries that are most likely to be ‘career ending.’ But there’s never any need to panic because there are multiple treatments for Achilles injuries and all of them are effective depending on your sort of injury.
The healing process in this particular tissue actually makes it stiffer and less elastic and that’s one of the reasons why Achilles injuries become chronic. This makes it even more susceptible to damage during running. And as we age, the Achilles tendon becomes stiffer and this is why these injuries are more common in older runners.
The first step in handling an Achilles injury is to immediately cut out running from your training regimen. Continuing to run on an injured foot will never make it better. But it must be noted that off loading the tendon for long periods of time isn’t effective either. A balance has to be maintained. You have to calculate the amount of running that can be done when the symptoms are latent and one way of finding this out is by sussing out morning soreness.
There is good evidence that slow, heavy load-strength training can improve a tendon’s tolerance to load and this is one of the gold standards for treatment. Again, it becomes important to keep in mind that all aspects of strength training should be equally balanced. If you overload strength training then this treatment fails.
Load management is key to treating a sore Achilles tendon. It is important to give it time before considering other options – say, three to six months. This is primarily because there isn’t clear evidence if other options have better outcomes.
To re-iterate – watch out for Achilles soreness. Be aware that symptoms can be latent. Have patience while taking it easy with your training, and don’t rush back. This can be a lifelong problem, but only if you’re not careful. With care, patience and regular exercise, anything can be conquered.
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