Achilles tendonitis is the nightmare of every runner. The condition can put you off the running track for from a few months to almost a full year.
Moreover, if you ignore the symptoms of inflammation and keep running, you may exaggerate the condition that will result in a rupture.
Does that mean you will have to forgo running if you are suffering from achilles tendonitis?
There is no black and white answer here. You can continue to run with achilles tendonitis but you will have to tweak your running regimen.
I wrote this guide to share with you the nuances behind running with achilles tendonitis. You will learn how to set up your running schedule in tandem with the condition. Here you are:
Can You Run With Achilles Tendonitis? The Answer and Nuances Behind It?
The short answer is, yes you can run with achilles tendonitis.
The long answer is, yes you can run with achilles tendonitis but with some strings attached to it. You will have to take note of how your tendon responds to your running schedule and make adjustments accordingly.
Here are the key tweaks, you will need to make to your running regimen:
- Start with running as per your regular schedule, no matter how intense it is.
- If you feel pain in the tendon that does not go away by the next morning, reduce the number of days you run in a week by half.
- If the pain still does not go away completely by the time you are to run again, reduce the distance you run by half.
- If the pain still persists, reduce the pace you run at by half.
- If the pain still persists, discard the idea of running and consult your doctor. Let him diagnose the severity of your condition and recommend treatment accordingly.
For Mild Cases
For mild cases, you may continue following your running regimen as long as your tendon does not feel pain. Even if your tendon develops pain that goes away the next day, you are very much good to go.
Even with a mild case, your running schedule should not be set to strain your tendon much. On the contrary, it should be set in a way that gives your achilles tendons enough time to rest and recover. Moreover, keep your pace and intensity of running to moderate.
In case, your tendon develops pain that does not go away, takes days to go away, or gets worse with time, you should immediately stop running and rest for a few days. Even better, you should consult with your doctor.
For Severe Cases
For severe cases, the most sensible approach would be to stop running and take a rest for a few days until you recover.
However, if you can not forgo running altogether, try to do it on alternate days and run for a shorter distance than usual. The rest days in between training days will ease your pain and allow the tendon to recover.
For severe cases, if you are not careful enough, you may get structural changes in your achilles tendon. Such a change will reduce the capacity of the tendon to tolerate load.
If left untreated, severe cases of pain may result in a rupture as the condition advances. So, always follow the advice of your doctor in such cases.
When You Should Not Run With Achilles Tendonitis
The Achilles tendon is a large and thick part of the body and it can take a lot of load on itself without going sore. So, you should stay on top of how the tendon reacts to your running schedule. Usually, after a run, you should wait for the next 24 hours to see:
- If the tendon develops any pain or not.
- If yes, if the pain is easily bearable or not.
- If yes, if the pain goes away on its own or not.
Besides the pain symptoms mentioned above, you should also take note of some secondary symptoms such as:
- If there is any thickening of the tendon.
- If there is any lump developing near the heels.
- If there’s any worsening of the symptoms such as disbalance or instability.
If you find anything abnormal that does not go away on its own with rest, you should stop running without a second thought and take a break from running for a few days. If the break does not help, you should consult your doctor.
Always Wear The Best Running Shoes for Achilles Tendonitis
You can not choose to run with any footwear but with the best running shoes for achilles tendonitis only. Wearing the right footwear could be the difference between a good recovery and worsening of the symptoms.
The right heel-to-toe drop, stack height, support, and most importantly cushioning around the heels are features that must be present in your running shoes if you are to run with achilles tendonitis.
Failing to wear the right running shoes for achilles tendonitis may lead to rupture of the tendon. If you are not sure about your current pair, check out my guide on the best running shoes for achilles tendonitis and choose one.
As you know by now, in most cases of achilles tendonitis, you will be able to continue your running regimen. Make sure you use pain as a tool here and adjust your regimen accordingly.
If there’s an increase in pain, reduce the number of days you run a week. If that does not help, try reducing your pace as well. If the pain still persists, stop running altogether and consult your doctor.
Thus, the answer to the question can I run with achilles tendonitis is different for each runner. It depends on the severity of the condition and how the inflamed tendon reacts to running.