Achilles Rehabilitation

When I transitioned from heel striking to forefoot running, I wore the wrong shoes, the Nike Free 5.0,  I did too much too soon, partly because forefoot running felt so good, I didn’t want to stop. Consequently, I partially tore my Achilles tendon.

  • Forefoot running is not a risk factor for Achilles tendinopathy, it’s doing too much too soon that causes the condition.

Achilles Rehabilitation

If you have suffered an Achilles injury from forefoot running, eccentric heel drop exercises (shown below) are one of the best methods to strengthen the tendon.

Achilles Rehabilitation

Start by standing on the edge of a step and stand high up on your toes, both feet on the step. Next, lift up one leg, and slowly lower the heel of the foot that is on the edge of the step. Lower your body down until you feel the stretch. Now, raise your body back up on to the toes and repeat.

Eccentric heel drops lengthen the Achilles tendon and a longer Achilles tendon is associated with greater elastic strain energy storage.

Also, eccentric heel drops was highly effective in breaking-up scar tissue and preventing loss of range of motion in runners with a partially torn Achilles tendon.

Since I partially tore my Achilles, I did eccentric heel drops exercises twice a day, everyday: once in the morning and later in the afternoon, until the pain was gone. I did 3 sets of 15. Within one month, I was back forefoot running again.

Ultimately, forefoot running is a form of eccentric loading because the heel is lowered to the ground after the forefoot has made ground contact. Therefore, light runs, making sure you forefoot strike properly, with periods of walking, may help overcome Achilles pain.

Avoid Icing Achilles Injury

New evidence has confirmed that the Achilles tendon may not become inflamed when injured. Hence, why Achilles tendonitis is now called Achilles tendinopathy, and why you should never ice the tendon, because there is no inflammation!

What accounts for the bilateral swelling?

The bilateral swelling is due to abnormal collagen fibers that recruit in response to tearing of the tendon. This is why icing will not help because there is no swelling from inflammation!

More From Run Forefoot:

Run forefoot, you are faster than you think!!

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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