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Can You Run With Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is most common among runners and athletes. It occurs as a result of the overloading of the Achilles tendon causing Achilles pain.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated February 17, 2023.

Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon as a result of injury. This injury is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon. It is common with athletes and is associated with pain above the heel after running.

Does Running Make Achilles Tendonitis Worse?

While you can run with Achilles tendonitis, it is not recommended. Running is a high-impact sport that repeatedly loads your Achilles tendon and can make the tendonitis worse. What should inform your decision to run or not with Achilles tendonitis is the severity of the condition.

You can classify severity into reactive and degenerative.

At the reactive stage where your pain is intermittent, minimal, and gets better with activity, running may still be a beneficial exercise for Achilles tendonitis.

For the degenerative phase, the Achilles tendon begins to thicken and pain worsens in intensity. At this phase, Achilles tendonitis can lead to eventual rupture if the condition is managed promptly.

Also, with insertional tendonitis, it is possible to run with a modified gait, while with mid-portion Achilles tendonitis, this isn’t possible.

How to Protect Your Achilles Tendon When Running

You don’t have to wait until you develop Achilles tendonitis before learning to protect your Achilles tendon, which can either prevent Achilles tendonitis from occurring or lessen the symptoms.

To do that, here are 5 ways:

  1. Increase running intensity gradually Allow your body room to adapt to the change in intensity of running instead of pushing yourself too far.
  2. Run properly Striking the floor with your midfoot when running is the proper way to run.
  3. Stretches Stretching before and after running will help you maintain flexibility and reduce Achilles tendon pain.
  4. Strengthen muscles Stronger foot muscles mean the Achilles tendon will undergo less strain when running.
  5. Proper footwear Choose a shoe with a heel-to-toe drop or wear a heel lift to reduce the strain on the Achilles tendon. Footwear can also be bolstered by using insoles for Achilles tendonitis.