The achilles is the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles–the gastrocnemius and soleus–to the back of the heel bone. When it’s under too much stress, it tightens and ends up working too hard, a condition call achilles tendinitis.
Achilles tendonitis is characterized by a dull or sharp pain at the back of the achilles tendon, usually close to the heel. Other symptoms include limited ankle flexibility and the cracking sounds of scar tissue against the tendon.
5 Tips For Relieving Achilles Tendinitis
1. Stop running.
If you have achilles tendinitis, consider slowing down or completely stopping your running routine. Replace your running routine with lower impact sports like swimming, water aerobics, and biking. Avoid weight-bearing activities which could aggravate the condition.
2. Take ibuprofen.
Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen when achilles tendinitis flares up. You can also take an aspirin. Anti-inflammatory NSAIDs can sometimes lead to stomach ulcers, so be sure to keep it in moderation and check with your doctor before taking any drug therapy.
3. Stretch the achilles.
Daily calf stretches are crucial to relieving achilles tendinitis but over stretching is not advised. Start with a gentle calf stretch and then build up to a wall stretch. Place your foot diagonal to the wall and hold for 10 breaths. Switch sides.
4. Choose a natural topical cream.
Choose a natural topical cream that includes an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever like ginger and menthol. Zax’s Original Heel Spur Cream is great option.
5. Ice and massage the achilles.
Ice the area for 15-20 minutes daily. Gently massaging the area, especially the scar tissue, is also a good idea. Professional massage may also be helpful.
Sara Novak is a Natural Health Care Expert for Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.