injury prevention

How to Ease Achilles tendon Soreness for Running

If your Achilles tendon has pain after running or workout, physiotherapists recommend you stretch your calf muscles and the Achilles. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body – but it’s also susceptible to serious injuries during a sport that will keep you on the feet and employs some pushing-off motion.

I’ll discuss how to reduce Achilles tendon soreness, for better running, before it escalates to a tendon tear – which otherwise has slow and painful recovery.


Avoid Achilles Tendon Rupture

Running might inflame your Achilles due to calf muscles’ tightness and excessive rubbing of the structure surrounding it. Further, the Achilles tends to weaken over time after every run – which could lead to tendon tear or rupture.

Therefore, stretching your calf muscles regularly (before and after runs) will help ease the pressure landing on your Achilles. For athletes, particularly runners, I recommend the Soleus stretch and Gastroc stretch for a minimum of 4 minutes every day.

Another great hack for beating pain from Achilles tendonitis is to cut the running stride to the most appropriate. Also, use the outer heel when striking the ground – this is particularly true for forefoot/ and midfoot striker

Upper Calf Muscle (Gastroc) Stretching

In this exercise, you’ll need to stand and faces the wall that is appropriately an arms-length away. Next, slide the feet on your affected leg backward.

Ensure to keep your heel on the floor (turn it outward a bit) and knee must remain straight – until you have stretched your upper calf. So, maintain this position for about 15 seconds.

Lower Calf Muscle (Soleus) Stretching

For this stretch, place your foot and body just like in the Gastroc stretching above but now bend both knees until you feel the lower calf stretching. Equally, remain in this position for 10 seconds.

Achilles Tendon Stretch

For the Achilles tendon: Stand on a stair (or raised surface) with the balls of your feet, and place your heels off from the edge of the surface.

Raise your toes, maintain that position for 10 seconds, and then lower your heels to the farthest point possible.

Fit Your Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis

Shoe inserts (orthotics) such as heel pads can help cut the elevation and resultant pressure on the calf and Achilles tendon. Shoe inserts are particularly helpful for with Achilles issues triggered by over-pronation and angular tendon pulling.

Further, you’ll need to get fitted for Achilles Tendonitis shoes. Check out more info on top rated Achilles Tendonitis running shoes. You must make it a routine to have the shoe fitting or changing exercise so that you don’t put undue pressure on your Achilles tendonitis.

Gradual Running – 10% rule

If by any chance you’ll be increasing your intensity and distance or running – you must follow the 10% rule. The rule states that at any one time, you can only increase your running distance or intensity by 10% of your current values. This will ensure that you do not load your Achilles tendon suddenly, which would cause stress.

However, you must not keep off running (equivalent to Achilles tendon loading) for a long time as this could be detrimental. In addition, before beginning your runs make sure you warm the tendon using some warm water. On the flip side, when you close your running, ensure you cool the tendon using some ice.

Further, if you’re strength training, take it slow for a start. Listen to your Achilles tendon to let you know if you’re straining it – you could feel soreness or morning stiffness. Slow loading will enable your tendon gradually develop tolerance and thus avoiding sorenessor tearing.

Conclusion

Continue with these stretches daily for 2 weeks until the pain subsides. If symptoms persist, consult a doctor or physiotherapists to analyze the foot motion and gait since it could be the issue.

Remember to tell the medical practitioner about any specific run or stretch that increases the pain. I hope you’ll add these stretching routine to your running schedule now. Also, let me know if they help relieve the Achilles soreness.

Importance of a Dynamic Warm-up

Bye-bye-bye static stretching, and hello dynamic stretching! If you’ve read a few of my posts then you probably know how I feel about static stretching. Considering it can reduce performance and increase injury risk while presenting few benefits to runners, I’m not a fan – I’ll cover this more in-depth in an injury prevention series coming soon!

So, if you’re not supposed to stretch before a run, then what do you do? Well… it’s simple: a series of dynamic warm-up exercises that prepares your body to run.

Which if you think about it, static stretching doesn’t even accomplish what a good series of warm-up exercises should, like:

  • Increased heart rate and respiration (prepping your body for work)
  • Improved range of motion and lubricates joints
  • Increased capillary activation (fancy way of saying it’s delivering oxygen to your muscles)
  • More elasticity in your tendons and ligaments (reducing chance of tears)
  • Enhanced performance

That last point is what I really want to stress; I mean a simple series of warm-up exercises can help you run faster? Sign me up!

For some research behind this, in 2015 the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research published a study showing that male runners who were well-trained, run faster after a dynamic warm-up

Maybe more importantly, after years of evidence from runners (myself included) who have simply felt better after a dynamic warm-up, I’m a big believer in these types of dynamic warm-up exercises

Which brings me to share my favorite dynamic warm-up with you:

The Dynamic Sole Warm-up

This routine requires no equipment and can be done almost anywhere.

Since the routines in the Easy Injury Prevention for Runners (Coming Soon!) are all plays on the blog name, so is this warm-up.

Most of these exercises are done standing, so if you’re running a muddy trail, or from your car in the rain, just skip the first couple of exercises (Also, Q&A below!)

Below are instructions on how to complete the warm-up exercises in the routine (PDF w/ photos and instructions coming soon!).

#1. Hurdle Mobility:

In a table position – hands under shoulder, knees under hips – lift your leg so that your thigh is parallel to the ground and shin is at a 90-degree angle from your thigh. Make a circular motion with your knee like you’re moving your thigh over a hurdle.

The next movement is exactly the same, except in the opposite direction.

#2. Cross Over:

Lie in a supine position (on your back) with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg across your torso up to your left hand. The goal is to keep your shoulder and chest as flat against the ground as possible. There will be a good amount of rotation in your torso and hips as you swing your leg toward your hand. Repeat the same movement for the left leg.

#3. Scorpion:

Lie in a prone position (on stomach) with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg across your back up to your left hand. Keep your shoulders and chest as flat against the ground as possible. Like Cross Over, there will be a good amount of rotation in your torso and hips as you swing your leg over. Repeat the same movement for the left leg.

#4. Squat:

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. It’s okay if your toes are pointing slightly outward. Sit back with your butt like you’re sitting down in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive your heels down and return to the standing position, ensuring your lower back stays in a neutral position.

#5. Walking Lunge

Step forward with your right leg, flexing the knees and dropping your hips. Descend until your left knee almost touches the ground. Drive your right heel into the ground and push yourself back to a standing position while taking a step forward. Repeat with the opposite leg. Maintain a tall posture, and ensure your knee does not go too far beyond the toes while lunging.

#6. Walking Leg Swings (Zombie Walk)

With your hands straight out in front of you (like a zombie!), swing your right leg up toward your right hand. Keep both knees as straight as possible, and repeat on the opposite side.

#7. High-knee Skips:

Skip forward and drive your right knee up so it’s about parallel to the ground and drive your foot back down to the ground. Alternate each leg. Keep you back ball with an exaggerated arm swing and make sure you don’t slam your feet on the ground.

#8. Side Leg Swings

While standing in front of a wall or pole for suppost, swing your leg parallel to the support so your foot comes up about hip level. Make sure to swing your leg fully extended but not forcefully locked.

Dynamic Warm-up Q&A

To help get you started, I answered some of the most common questions you have asked me regarding dynamic warm-ups, stretching, and when you should do these exercises.

When Should I do This Routine?

This is dynamic warm-up so it’s done before you run, preferably right before running.

If you are traveling somewhere to run (like so many of us do) and won’t be able to get on the ground to do the first couple of exerises, just do the floor exercises at home and the standing exercises when you arrive right before you start running.

How Many Times Per Week Can I do This Routine?

Personally, I consider this an “easy” warm-up routine, so it’s best used before short, easy runs.

For faster workouts, long runs, and other challenging runs (like races), I suggest a more standard warm-up (coming soon!)

Is The Order of Exercises Important?

Absolutely! The sequence goes from general to more specific (floor to standing); simple to complex.

One of The Exercises Causes Pain – What Should I Do?

Skip it. None of these exercises should cause any discomfort, pain (especially sharp or stabbing pain), or hurt in any way.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Get Ready To Improve Your Running Performance With A Bike

When it comes to running, whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, there are some plenty of tips that you didn’t even think you needed. We have touched on the most obvious of them in a previous article on runningsolegirl.com. For a start, a healthy runner, needs to pick the right attire, which means that you need to choose shoes that can absorb the shock and protect your knees and ankles from getting injured. When you run, you need to accept that you are investing in your health. Consequently, you have to be ready to pay the full price for a pair of shoes that will help you to prevent injuries. But naturally, embracing the running side of life doesn’t stop there. Your body goes through a lot, especially if you decide to run long distances. You need to adapt your diet to your workout requirements so that you can fuel your body with all the nutrients it needs to perform. However, you can also improve your running performance with a bike. Want to see how? Read below.

Pick the Right Bike for Your Needs

Just like running requires the right equipment, cycling does too. However, the kind of bike you need will depend on your cycling abilities and preferences. Are you a road cyclist or are you an off-road enthusiast? If you fancy the idea of cycling along natural tracks in the countryside, you might need to studies some of the mountain bike reviews from mountainbikesreviewed.com to find out everything you need from brake power to suspension. As a rule of the thumb, runners need a light to a medium-light bike that is suitable for road and slightly out of the beaten track trails so that you can follow your usual running route. Stay away from heavy bikes, and pick instead bikes that offer a responsive, stable and smooth riding experience.

Bikes Offer a Friendly Training Option

Contrary to running, cycling offers a joint-friendly alternative, that is very helpful if you’re recovering from an injury or if you suffer from painful joints. In truth, cycling regularly can help your joints to become stronger and can gradually help you to prevent the development of long-term weaknesses such as arthritis. More importantly, it keeps your muscles active even through a recovery period, which makes it the ideal activity to maintain your strength without causing your body any further damage.

Bikes Can Develop Your Endurance

Last, but not least, cycling offers an ideal combination of strength and endurance; which can help you to improve your performance. Cycling long distances with periods of sprints is a preferred training method for runners who want to maximize their endurance. Since it gradually develops your muscles to sustain a bigger effort. Additionally, there’s no denying that cycling helps your lung capacity to grow; which is exactly what you need when you are running long distances. You will find yourself feeling less out of breath and able to tackle more sizeable running challenges. As surprising as it might sound; one of the best training approaches for a marathon is to go cycling, a lot!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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