Sunday, December 18, 2011

The old "ice cube in the sock" trick for Achilles Tendonitis

I am grateful for Bay Area Half-Marathon Enthusiast Lauren Olerich of Sugarcoated Sisters for injecting some badly needed dignity to the "Ask Ramblings" forum with her question:
"Have you ever dealt with soreness in your Achilles tendon? While I'm running, everything seems fine. Once the shoes come off (New Balance WR890s), my right Achilles area gives me hell! The day after a run, I hobble around. Strangely, if I'm at home and not wearing shoes, the heel pain doesn't pop up. Any recommendations on how to avoid the pain? (Short of going shoe-less at work, of course!) Any warm-up exercises? Cross-training suggestions?"

Have I ever dealt with soreness in my Achilles tendon?  You bet and it's no fun!  The most effective treatment I've found for it is the "ice cube in a sock trick".  Simply put on a sock, and slip in an ice cube positioned over the sore area and leave it there for at least 15 minutes.  I've found even one treatment can really bring the soreness under control.

You can leave it there longer if you want and I've left it long enough that the whole cube melts.  You can repeat this a few times each day to bring down the swelling, but it's most effective to ice right after your run to keep the swelling down and allow as much blood as possible to repair the damage.

Tight calves will put a lot of pressure on the Achilles tendon, so keep them loose.  This video will help and I also do stretches numbered 4 and 5 here.  You want to be careful doing a lot of stretching with a sore Achilles tendon, so a balm like Icy Hot can help loosen the calves without putting extra pressure on tendon. 

Since you mention that going barefoot seems to lesson the pain, you might want to consider both running and everyday shoes that have low heel raises.  This doesn't seem to be a good time to be wearing high heels.

Good luck and let me know how this works out for you.  And remember, I'm not a professional physical therapist or anything.   Just another guy giving out free advice who hopes you get more than you paid out of it.

Got a beer running question? Submit it to Ramblings of a Beer runner via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or a comment to this post and if I use your question, your reward will be an Ortholite Shoe Insole, my brilliant response, and potential world wide humiliation on the Internet.

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