Heel Lifts For Achilles Tendonitis
What Is Achilles Tendonitis?
If you have been diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, you are probably familiar with the concept of heel lifts and may have even tried them. But to understand why heel lifts might work for you, let’s first take a deeper look at the causes of Achilles tendonitis and what is actually happening in the body. Achilles tendonitis is an injury to the tissue that connects the calf on the back of the leg to the heel. It’s typically associated with sports, specifically running, or just general overuse. Because it is an overuse injury, symptoms tend to get worse with use, continued stress, and activities like running.
How Do Heel Lifts Work?
The idea behind using heel lifts is to relieve some of that strain by relieving some of the tension that is on that tendon. Of course if your Achilles tendonitis is already so advanced that you have torn or ruptured the tendon, this may not be the best treatment option. It is important that you see a doctor to determine if heel lifts are the appropriate treatment plan for you. Heel lifts have been shown to be effective in bringing relief to patients who also lower their activity levels during their treatment period. Their use is often paired with physical therapy and sometimes over-the-counter pain medication.
How Do Runners Deal With Achilles Tendonitis?
If you are a runner, you may also choose to use heel lifts during the period of your rehabilitation when you begin training again. Heel lifts during running have been shown to reduce the strain and load on the Achilles tendon. However, if you return to running too soon, you do risk re-injury. Runners can help to prevent Achilles tendon strain by making sure they have adequate arch support and cushioning in their running shoes, stretching often, and mixing strength training into their routines. If your running shoes have a thin or flat insole that do not provide much arch support, you should consider replacing them with an insole that is flexible enough for your foot to have a normal range of motion while still providing arch support. The Protalus T-100 is able to add in arch support, cushioning, and corrective alignment technology without taking up much space in your running shoe.
How Long Will I Have To Rest?
Soft tissue injuries can take weeks to heal so the waiting can be hard. But if you have tried using heel lifts along with physical therapy for several months and see no improvement, it is time to return to your doctor. They can order imaging tests to assess the extent of your injury and determine if you have a rupture or are a candidate for a more aggressive treatment such as surgery. Although surgery is typically not needed for Achilles tendonitis, it is an option when the tendon needs to be repaired.
How Can I Prevent Achilles Tendonitis?
If you are beginning a new exercise routine, remember to start slow, be patient with your body, and don’t be afraid to rest if you feel pain. Make sure you have the right gear such as shoes, insoles, and an exercise plan that has been reviewed by a professional, such as a trainer at your gym, before you begin. Pain does not equal progress. Achilles tendonitis is a common injury for which a little rest, and some simple interventions, can go a long way.