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Sore Achilles After Running? Causes & Treatment

Have you ever finished a run, only to be met with a burning, tight sensation in your lower calve? You’re likely wondering, “Why is more Achilles sore after running?”. 

The good news is, you’re not alone. Achilles discomfort and pain during and after a run is relatively common. Whether you’re a novice runner, an avid ParkRun-er, or an experienced marathoner, you’re likely going to experience a sore Achilles running, or after running, at one stage of your running career.

NQ Physio Solutions are North Queensland’s leading sports physiotherapy team. Within our clinic, we see and treat sporting and running injuries every day – the Achilles tendon is one of the most common problem areas for those who practice activities impacting the lower legs, like running. With our expertise and daily dealings with such injuries, we’re well-positioned to answer your questions surrounding Achilles pain from running. Within this article, we’re going to outline why your Achilles might be sore after running, how to manage Achilles pain, and how you can prevent this pain from occurring in the future. 

Why Is My Achilles Sore After Running?

Achilles pain during or after running is likely due to an overload type injury known as Achilles Tendinopathy (sometimes otherwise referred to as Achilles Tendonitis or Achilles tendinitis). Achilles tendinopathy is an overuse injury of the tendon that connects the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg, to the heel bone (your calcaneum).

Your Achilles tendon may become irritated for a number of reasons. However, if you noticed Achilles pain after a run, it has may been caused by a sudden increase in the intensity or duration of your running. Putting your Achilles under too much stress can cause the tendon to tighten, and become overworked; resulting in pain. Other things that can cause a sore Achilles include running on hard surfaces, inappropriate footwear, overpronation which forces the Achilles to twist and poor form.

Achilles Tendinopathy is not isolated as a running injury – it is common in tennis and basketball players too.

Sore Achilles After Running – Should I Be Worried? 

First things first – is a sore Achilles something to be concerned about? That depends. If it’s a new concern with mild discomfort, it can typically be treated at home with some self-management techniques. If it is an ongoing pain or inflammation concern, you may need to speak to a physiotherapist to better understand the severity of the injury and how you can treat the injury. Achilles tendinopathy is often characterised by pain and swelling that is worse after activity. 

If you are experiencing a sore Achilles after running, it’s important that you listen to your body and do not continue to run if the pain is bad and more than a mild discomfort. Over time the tendon structure may alter, losing elasticity and making the tissue less tolerant of load, stretching and compression. 

Treating an Achilles Tendinopathy

Treating an Achilles tendinopathy is dependent on what part of the tendon is involved, the severity of your symptoms and how long the tendinopathy has been present.. An accurate assessment and early diagnosis is key.  The faster the treatment is applied to the tendon, often the better your recovery will be. 

Your Physiotherapist will be able to assist with providing advice and a management plan which may include the following:

  • Modifying tendon load. This can be done by identifying the aggravating activities and reducing these for a short period of time.  Often it is not required to completely cease all activity. 
  • Heel raises or shoe inserts to reduce load on the tendon
  • Taping to unload the tendon
  • Prescription of a progressive tendon loading exercise program to rehabilitate your tendon. This is crucial to recovering from a tendinopathy.  It can be expected that a tendon loading program may be required for up to 12 weeks or longer for chronic tendon issues.

It is not common for surgery to be required to treat Achilles tendinopathy.

Learn More About Achilles Pain with NQ Physio

If you have injured your Achilles running or from any other form of sport, it's best to get onto treatment as soon as possible. Continuing to ‘work through' the pain will only make the injury worse and elongate your recovery. Your best course of action is to contact your local physiotherapist.

If you’re based in North Queensland, turn NQ Physio solutions. Our leading team of knowledgeable physiotherapists provide leading sports injury treatment in Townsville. We will help your recovery through adequate rehabilitation exercises to get you back to running sooner. Our appointments will include providing you with tendon loading program for you to incorporate into your routines so that you can prevent further injury. So, to successfully treat that sore Achilles after running, give our team a call today on (07) 4729 0055 and book an appointment.

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