What is Achilles Tendinitis and How Can You Avoid It?

A quick guide to the causes, symptoms and prevention of Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury that affects the muscle that runs from your heel to your calf (the Achilles tendon). Common in runners and other athletes, the injury is characterized by pain in the heel of your foot and, sometimes, swelling. If the pain is severe you should see a doctor, as you may have torn the tendon.

If the injury is not severe, it can heal on its own with rest. Ice will help to bring down swelling and pain, as will elevating the foot. Sometimes doctors will suggest light stretching, ankle warps or shoe inserts, but cross-training is key for athletes that have been cleared.

As always, though, it’s best to prevent Achilles tendinitis altogether—here are a few ways to keep your Achilles healthy.

Increase exercise intensity and distance slowly, doing too much right away is a common cause of injury.

  • Always warm up and cool down.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and are supportive. Replace worn out shoes.
  • Take time to stretch regularly and strengthen your calf muscles.
  • Stop what you’re doing if you feel pain in the back of your heel or calf.
  • Incorporate cross-training into your regular workout regimen.