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Do Heel Cups Help Achilles Tendonitis

Learn about the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis, footwear attachments called heel cups, and using heel cups to help treat Achilles tendonitis.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated March 24, 2023.

Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles in the lower limb to your heel bone. It occurs when you overload the tendon and can hinder the performance of daily activities.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis

The common symptoms that you're likely to experience if you have Achilles tendonitis are:

  • Pain, tenderness, swelling, and warmth around the heel
  • Reduction in range of motion when flexing the foot
  • Thickening of the tendon

» Purchase the best insoles for achilles tendonitis

What Are Heel Cups?

Similar to custom orthotics, heel lifts for Achilles pain reduce the amount of load passing through your Achilles tendon. As such, orthotic devices are a good way to manage the symptoms of Achilles tendonitis while working through the rehabilitation period. They’re often used in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and exercises (stretching and strengthening).

Heel cups benefit Achilles tendonitis by elevating the hindfoot and taking tension off the Achilles tendon. Consequently, the muscle is shortened and needs only to stretch a little when walking or running. A firm heel cup will provide adequate support to your heel, reduce the tension in your Achilles tendon, and allow you to return to your normal activities while healing continues.

» Read more about how orthotic insoles can help treat Achilles tendonitis

Using Heel Cups for Your Achilles Tendonitis

While there may be no evidence that heel cups lead to permanent change, there are enough suggestions to conclude that it helps, to some degree, with tendonitis. As such, heel cups are worth a trial in managing Achilles tendonitis.

Soft tissue injuries can take weeks to heal. Thus, for the effect of the heel to be observable, it may be necessary to use the heel cup for 6-12 weeks before discarding it as non-effective. If, however, there is no improvement after that, it’s time to seek an expert opinion from your doctor.

Achilles Tendon Custom Orthotics

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