Dealing With Achilles Tendonitis-A Pain In The Heel

Thank you to everyone who asked about my foot and sent well wishes.  I am happy to say that after a few days away from running my foot is feeling much better.  I am going to take a few more days off from running but I can already tell that I am definitely on the mend.

Yesterday I was able to chat with an awesome friend who also happens to be a DPT and after mentioning my symptoms I was happy to have him confirm that this was not the onset of plantar fasciitis but just a minor bout of Achilles tendonitis.  Everything I have done in the past 4 days has made a huge impact on my healing time.  So first off a big thanks and a shout out to Phil (aka Dr. Phil) for always being a pal and listening to my every ache and pain and heading me in the right direction.  How annoying it must be to be a physical therapist and hear about every single person’s aches and pains!  As a side note he did mention before that we runners are the worst at noticing every darn tweak or pain.


The first and best thing you can do with just about any form of tendonitis is rest.  I know, I know, you have a training plan or a race coming up and this will mess with it.  Honestly a few days off of your feet or at least away from running will help get you back to your training and for the long run, not just until the pain becomes intolerable and you are cut off from running for weeks or months.  If you must, go for some nice easy walks but avoid the pounding of your run.

Anti-inflammatories will help erase some of the pain and tenderness and help your body start to mending 20 minutes at a time followed by some light cross friction massage to help break down scar tissue.  Icing for longer than 20 minutes can actually have a reverse effect on your injury.  By leaving ice on for too long you may notice the skin turning pink or red.  This is blood cells rushing to the area, which will actually increase inflammation.  So stick to about 15 minutes on followed by 15 minutes off.

Keep ice in Dixie cups in your freezer and tear off the cup for an easy way to apply to injuries.

Keep ice in Dixie cups in your freezer and tear off the cup for an easy way to apply to injuries.

Put a sleeve on it.  Compression sleeves do a great job of keeping inflammation at bay.  I generally don’t run in compression sleeves but I have been known to sleep in them when I have injuries. Put these on under your pants and wear them throughout the day.  Wearing these tight bands can help to speed up your recovery.

My best pride check.  Race up a mountain ended with a cut knee, thorn in my hand, and my shoe is untied because I sprained an ankle.

Stretch it out.  I am not a big stretcher but now is the time to do it.  Make sure your muscles are nice and warm first.  After a walk or a hot shower is a great time to do some nice stretches.  Focus on your calves.  Often times in running our injuries stem from somewhere above the actual point of injury (think of IT bands and knee pain).  Sit on those feet and do some downward dogs.  Stretch those calves out against the wall.


Eat well and don’t worry.  Treat your body well and don’t freak out.  Taking care of injuries when they first arise will help to ensure that you are away from your running routine for a minimal amount of time.  Do things you normally wouldn’t.  I spent all day Sunday wandering NYC.  I am heading back home to Chicago this week for work so I spent the day shopping.  I even found a great Batman top for our Superhero Half Marathon later this month.

While I didn’t get to run the 10K this past weekend I had a great time cheering from the sidelines.  My husband is helping a young athlete train for his first half marathon and this was the race we chose to use as our shakeup before the main event.  This entire training program is really special as this young gentleman chose to run this race in honor of his grandfather and raise money for a cause dear to his heart.  I have been lucky to do a few runs with this boy and he has really worked hard and improved quite a bit.  They ran together with another friend from school and absolutely rocked this race.  Congrats to all of them!



Happy running!

36 thoughts on “Dealing With Achilles Tendonitis-A Pain In The Heel

  1. That is awesome. Thanks for the info. I had a “twinge” of pain in my heel on Sunday. It still is bothering me a little. I didn’t run yesterday and may not today. It is better, but I’ll follow your post and see if I can not be out for a couple of months as with my other injuries. THANKS!

    • Oh yes, I was out with PF and I turned into a pretty awful person. Knowing that a few days off at the start can make a difference allows me the patience to deal with it right away. Hope you are 100% again soon!

  2. Great info! I never knew that tip about icing too much, and that is helpful to know. I too have dealt with Achilles stuff and learned the hard way that rest really is the only way out of it!

  3. Dude that is insanity (the swelling). I have quite a few ligament and tendon issues, but mine don’t tend to swell like that–they just hurt terribly. Yoga is a goto for me–stretching out those calves and feet, but be careful not to over do it, even with yoga.RICE has it right. Simple, so infuriatingly simple, but it works!

    • Annoyingly simple, and frustrating. But you are so right. I can already tell a difference. Hope you are feeling better as well! Any chance you are going to run Chicago this year?

  4. SUCH great tips! Tendonitis has been the bane of my existence since February. It has definitely gotten better, but I’ve had to be very careful with it as I train because I don’t want it blowing all out of control again. I’m so glad to hear that you are on the mend!

  5. I’m so glad you are taking a few days off. People hate taking time off when training, but it means you can get better faster and you’ll train better afterwards too. Awesome post!

  6. Tendonitis sucks, but there are way worse possibilities! Glad it’s nothing worse.

    Instead of using Dixie cups for your ice cups, another option (that is reusable) is to use plastic cups (I have been using a couple of old yogurt containers for about a year now). To remove the ice when it’s frozen, just run it under the faucet for a few seconds and the ice will slip right out. Then just use a hand towel to hold it so you don’t freeze your fingers!

    Get better soon!

  7. I’m glad you’re feeling better!!! I had terrible heal pain a few months back and yoga (down dogs in particular) cured the pain! Great tip, too about NOT icing too long!! I’ve found that to be VERY true!! Great, great tips!!!! XOXO! Happy Tuesday!! Have a fabulous day!!

  8. Ahhh, that sitting on your heels stretch kills me every time. But I do notice my feet feel a lot better when I do it regularly.

    • It really is a bummer. Foot pain is annoying because there is no way to avoid feeling it, except for staying in bed all day but we runners aren’t so good at that 😉

  9. Wishing you a speedy recovery!! Sounds like you are on your way! I’m going to pin this post for future reference. Great info, tips and advice. I was having issues with my Achilles tendon a month or so ago so if it flares up again I will follow your tips. That paper cup thing is genius!

  10. Glad that you are feeling better! This is exactly what I needed to read – I’m having foot pain which I think is tendonitis and it’s a total pain. But rest, icing and stretching is where it’s at.

  11. Lucky you for having a friend that listens to your every whims. Haha. Thanks for the tips, I am actually relieved because I also experice foot pain and was afraid it’s PF but since it is not consistent maybe I’ll just take a break from running.

    • Yes just be patient. I woke up this morning so annoyed to still feel the tension in the back of my foot but I know with time and stretching and all that other good stuff it will be better.

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