Achilles Tendons need time to recover between runs. If you run too much and don’t give them recovery time they will start to complain. If this goes on for too long they will give you pain.
Stability running shoes with a drop of at least 10mm are the best running shoes for Achilles Tendonitis (for most people).
Strong calf muscles will help prevent it occurring in the first place.
If you’re coming back from an Achilles problem or had one in the past, a pair of these shoes can help form part of the answer for you.
As with any running shoe. Comfort should always come first when selectin the best running shoes for Achilles tendonitis.
Here are two characteristics that should be considered.
Running shoes with a drop of at least 10mm are ideal for those who have had issues with their Achilles tendon in the past. They will reduce the stress and not stretch them as much as a pair of running shoes with a lesser drop.
The extra support of a stability running shoe will help prevent your feet getting tired too quickly. The lower part of your leg needs a little help to prevent another incident in the Achilles area. Stability shoes will give you that extra help that could be the difference between a comfortable run or aggravating the Achilles tendon.
What is the Achilles Tendon
The Achilles tendon connects the two calf muscles to the heel bone.
What Causes Achilles Tendonitis
There are two schools of though or ways of describing the way in which Achilles tendonitis can occur. To be perfectly honest I don’t pretend to know which description is accurate. I’m not a physio so I’m presenting these two descriptions for your information only.
Too much running without enough recovery time puts the Achilles tendon under too much stress. They become tight and this results in them becoming inflamed. This will cause scare tissue to form adding to the tightness. If this goes on they can tear or snap.
Too much running without enough recovery time causes the Achilles tendon to deteriorate. If this goes on for a period of time they get worse until they cant cope and give pain.
Its interesting that there are two very clear and confident descriptions out there. Both describing the same issue in very different ways. (Again) I’m not a doctor but maybe both are true. I prefer description two, somehow makes a rest day sound like a very good idea.
How To Avoid Achilles Tendonitis
As ever strength comes first and in this case it’s the muscles of the feet and calves. The calf muscles in particular as they act as shock absorbers, reducing the strain on the Achilles tendon.
Heel drops should therefore be included in your strength routine. Along with the strength work calf stretching should be includes after every run.
Increasing your cadence while reducing your stride length will reduce the strain on your Achilles tendon.
Buying some more appropriate running shoes will always help to avoid Achilles tendonitis. But only when combined with the strength, stretching and cadence practices.
Have a rest day. If you were running everyday when your Achilles problem first started. Listen to your body and give it a rest on one (or two if you are over 40) day a week.
Build milage slowly (the 10% rule). Increasing the load on the Achilles tendon too fast too soon will cause the problem to return.
Avoid the urge to sprint 100% flat out. I find avoiding that urge quite easy but if you’re a track regular. Think about building that aerobic base for a while before testing your top speed.
How Should Achilles Tendonitis Be Treated
If you’ve experienced a catastrophic failure of the Achilles tendon, seek medical attention straight away.
If you find it painful to walk on after ‘the incident’, give it the ice treatment and rest it. If it has not improved after a few days, you should see a doctor.
If after a couple of weeks you feel back to normal try starting to do a few heel drops and stretches. If that doesn’t trigger the pain again. Put together a routine of strength and stretching before you go for your first run back.
Slow and shot is the way to go when returning after you’ve had an Achilles issue. If you’ve selected a nice new pair of running shoes they will also help you avoid Achilles tendonitis in the future.
Conclusion: Best Running Shoes For Achilles Tendonitis
Buy stability shoes will at least a 10mm drop.
If you’ve suffered with Achilles tendonitis in the past don’t run too far or too fast when you star back at it.
Try to build strength and flexibility in the lower leg.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for Achilles tendonitis to heal?
It can take anywhere between six weeks to several months.
Can compression socks help prevent Achilles tendonitis?
Yes but compression socks should not be seen as a replacement for finding the root cause.
Will zero drop running shoes help with Achilles tendonitis?
No. They could make it worse.