A major cause of Achilles pain is running too much too soon. When you are starting to build up your mileage for an upcoming longer race – or coming back after time off, runners have a tendency to want to get longer mileage in quickly. However, this is a major culprit in running injuries. You want to make sure that you are only increasing your mileage by 10% from one week to the next. For instance, if you are running 10 miles this week – next week you should only run 11 miles. This is a great rule of thumb to build your mileage safely.
When you first notice your heel pain, you want to start treating it as soon as possible to keep it from getting worse. You want to follow the RICE treatment that many runners are familiar with. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Apply ice to your Achilles area. You don’t have to go out and buy a fancy ice pack. An easy way to do this is to simply put ice in a washcloth and use that to ice the area. Icing will keep down any swelling and make the heel area feel better. You may also want to take ibuprofen to help keep the swelling down.
You can find wraps or elastic bandages for your Achilles tendon at most drug stores or grocery stores. It is important to keep the area bandaged if you are doing some light running on it. When you are finished your run – or whenever you can, make sure that you are keeping your heel elevated. This will also help with any swelling.
Even when you are resting your Achilles tendon, you want to move your ankle/heel area a little bit to keep it from getting stiff. A great and easy exercise to do is to simply move your foot around in a circular motion. This will help keep your range of motion and keep it flexible.