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Achilles Rehab (3/3)

Return to Running (or continued training :) ) with Achilles Pain

If you’re just landing here and want more info on rehab prior to your return to running, see the previous 2 blogs about Achilles tendon pain and rehab essentials! In this post we’ll chat about ways to modify but continue training while rehabbing that Achilles.

Depending on the severity of your Achilles tendon pain, you may be best taking a short period of time away from running to let things calm down. This is often the case in an acute (freshly) painful tendon, where even just a couple days off running combined with resistance exercises (see rehab essentials above!) can really reduce your pain. I highly recommend seeking guidance from a qualified physical therapist so they can help determine your readiness to return to running - it can be really challenging to figure out how much is too much, or how much isn’t enough, on your own.

After any amount of time off running due to pain or injury, I recommend my runners start back gradually with walk-run intervals on flat ground. Flat ground is especially important in the case of Achilles sensitivity, as hills, speed work, and the treadmill can increase loads on the calf muscles and in turn the Achilles. This could lead to a “too much too soon” situation and a flare-up.

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If discomfort is manageable and doesn’t make you limp, you may be ok to continue your training with some small modifications. Many cases of ongoing tendon grouchiness are alright to train through, as long as you are not progressively feeling worse. With continued training, the following changes may be helpful:

1. A long warm-up: include dynamic movements such as marching in place, side steps, and fast walking.
2. Run later in the day after you've had some time to be up and move around.
3. Avoid or minimize hill training, speed work, and treadmill runs
4. Modify workouts on days you're feeling sore - particularly if you had a speed or hill workout planned. We want to respect but not fear tendon soreness.

Achilles tendon pain can be frustrating, but taking these measures will go a long way in helping you get back to and continue training.

Have you been dealing with a nagging Achilles issue? Let’s chat.