Age 40 – Common Running Injury, Achilles

Posted on 05 February 2014

One of the most nagging injuries among runners is Achilles soreness. It becomes more prevalent as we age especially when hitting the magic number of 40. The old word of Achilles tendonitis has been revamped to a more technical term of Achilles tendinopathies. No matter what you call the pain, it can be an injury that can last a long time if you don’t treat immediately. It can be very similar to getting a bad case of plantars fasciitis.

Causes: The recent statistics in runner’s surveys illustrate the problem, 11% of total injuries are related just with the Achilles. As we age, our calves get significantly tight; fatigue quicker and we seem to aggravate it more often. Also, we don’t stretch often and when increasing mileage quickly it can become a significant problem. Achilles pain will normally involve an intense pain on the tendon and many times very close to the bottom of the heel.

Personally, I have found that increasing hill running mileage and not keeping the heel down will aggravate the injury. Also, you may experience the pain during speed work as it stresses the Achilles. Other causes may include the specific flexibility of the running shoe and pronation. Pronation can cause the Achilles to twist in many cases.

Recovery: The best medicine for treatment of Achilles issues is to stop running as prescribed by most doctors. Not a solution for most passionate runners, but this injury can last a long time so be cautious coming back to soon. Consider taking a few ibuprofens along with icing several days if possible. Self-massage techniques along with the use of a foam roller can help speed up the recovery. Use the Stick

(www.thestick.com) often as part of your post run warm-down routine. Also, consider pool running with a running vest and cycling (spinning in a low gear) as alternatives during your recovery.

Once the pain is gone, consider coming back slowly with toe raises, skipping rope and monitoring any pain. Then gradually build your running mileage when your pain free. Most self-treatment programs will do the trick but if it continues to become a problem then consult with an orthopedic doctor to see if the problem is scar tissue on the tendon.

Prevention:  Stretch and strengthen the muscles in the foot, calves and front of the lower leg (shin).  Toe raises regularly along with trail running with help build strength and flexibility.   Also, if you promote excessively then consider stability shoes.  After consulting with your doctor, orthotic prescriptions may be helpful as well.

The old standard rule applies – change your worn out shoes regularly.  Look at the side of the shoe if you see wrinkling in the sidewall cushioning time to replace them ASAP! Hoping you all remain injury free.

 

 

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