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Runners with Achilles and Calf Issues...What do we do? A response to a reader's question

Recently, one of our readers reached out with a great question: 

Readers Question

"I currently have a few marathoners who seem to be having recurrent Achilles tendinitis and gastro/soleus strains.  I have tried stretching, Graston tech, eccentrics, and other traditional exercises / treatments.  Any suggestions on what to look or suggestions for training modifications would be greatly appreciated. "

Our Response

You're doing a lot of great things already.  Keep up the great work! This can be a population that is often really easy to help....or really difficult and challenging.  Here's a few things you can look into and see if any of them may apply to your runners.
  • Here's a blog we wrote that summarizes some of the literature and give ideas on plans for insertional achilles issues:
  • Types of runs: One really big thing for this group is to limit their hill running initially and then slowly reintroduce it because of the increased load on the plantarflexor complex with ascending hills
  • Training:  Many runners run too hard too often and this can be a contributor to recurrent calf issues.  Check out our "5 Things Top Running Professionals Should Know" which touches on this.
  • Shoe-wear: It's not atypical for runners who transitioned to a reduced heel drop to develop plantar flexor issues if they haven't adequately planned for the change.  Temporarily putting them back in their previous shoes to reduce this load may help them heal faster and then start them slowly progressing into the newer shoe again after a few months of calf raise exercises and plyometric activities.
These are just a few ideas to hopefully help out and get you started!
Thanks for reaching out!
Ari and the Certified Gait Analyst Team
If you have a question that you would like us to help with, feel free to reach out at [email protected].  We'll get to as many of them as we can!

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