Do you struggle with Achilles heel pain while training? My recommendation is to address the issue on both sides – anterior and posterior compartments of your lower leg. Here are some additional tips on managing the injury:
A. Strengthening and rolling the anterior chain is key. Roll right along your tibia but not on the bone. Kneel on the foam roller and roll the tibialis anterior from the lower side of your knee down to your ankle. Linger longer on the hot spots and stack your other leg on top to increase the pressure if needed. This muscle along with your Peroneals – which is a bit more lateral – needs to be rolled 5 days per week.
B. Sit on the floor and with a friend/ partner have them apply pressure on the top of your foot including your big toe. Start plantarflexed or toe pointed. As you draw up they are pushing down and finish in a dorsiflexed position . 2 sets x 8 reps. The first 4 are slow with more pressure and lighten the last four.
C. Your gluteals are probably weak and offsetting the load and allow your quads to do most of the work. Do the supine bridge before you train to wake up your glutes. Make sure your knees and feet are fist-width apart and as you push up with your hips keep the pressure on the inside of your feet not outwards. This will heighten the activation.
D. Stretch your quads and hip flexors.
E. If you are cycling, adjust your cleat position: slide your cleats back just a couple of mm. Make sure your toes are flared when you ride so you’re not flexing your toes/ arch. Lower your seat a couple of mm and sit back on the saddle. Gradually lower your heel at 3 o’clock without aggravating the Achilles.
F. Stretch your calf, soleus, and Achilles – but not weighted. Sit down, bend your knee and reach around your foot at the metatarsal pad. Pull up with a gentle pull straight up, then add a slight pull to the left and right. Gentle to start!
G. Post-exercise put a big bag of ice directly on your Achilles and around your lower leg. Wrap it with an ACE bandage but keep the ice on the skin. Sit for 10 minutes then walk around for 10 minutes. Take it off or you’ll get frostbite. This will sting but just bite your tongue!