Achilles tendinitis is a common problem in athletes, especially runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs.
It is mainly caused by repetitive or intense strain on the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone.
The fact is that your shoes play a major role in healing your Achilles injury.
There is no doubt that wearing the wrong shoe can exacerbate existing problems with Achilles tendonitis.
Even wearing the wrong shoe for a short duration of time can cause stress and pain to your Achilles tissues.
How can shoes affect Achilles tendonitis? Explained
Achilles tendinitis — it’s most likely a nagging pain in the back of your ankle.
The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body connecting the calf to the heel bone — the Achilles tendon helps propel us when we walk jump or run and it keeps that spring in our step but when it’s irritating you can feel it burning.
Probably you may know that Achilles pain is most commonly affected in athletes who wear the wrong footwear.
So, in most cases wearing the wrong footwear can increase your risk of developing foot problems like Achilles tendonitis, bunions, and plantar fasciitis.
So how do you choose the right footwear for you if you have Achilles tendonitis?
If you have an Achilles tendon that’s grumbly and despite all the rehab it doesn’t really like your running, I would go for the higher heel-toe drop and see if you can get it to quiet down that way.
If it’s an insertional one, and especially if you’ve got high arches, I would suggest lifting that heel up a bit, because especially for an insertional with a high arch it’s already putting more compression on there.
So, lifting the heel up a bit can take the compression off it.
Recent studies done by PubMed says High-top shoes significantly reduced peak Achilles’ tendon tension by an average of 9.9% when compared with low-top shoes.
Here are some tips for what type of shoes should you wear if you have Achilles’ tendonitis
- The first and the most important thing is the sizing of your shoes – Make sure that you are wearing properly fitted shoes for your foot. If you want to know more about shoe sizing check out this article.
- The second thing is wearing shoes that provide adequate cushioning and arch support.
- Change your shoes when they begin to wear out. Experts say even wearing a worn-out shoe for a short period of time may also increase the risk of plantar fasciitis and Achilles’ problems.
- Using high-heel drop shoes or using heel lifting inserts can help.
What shoes should you not wear with Achilles tendonitis?
We have already talked about what type of shoes are used for Achilles tendonitis so next, we discuss the type of shoes not to wear if you have Achilles tendonitis.
If you have Achilles’ problems, I would say not to use minimalist shoes.
Because the problem with minimalist shoes is of course that they’re minimalist. 😐
So, they… they’re flat and they’re going to give you more of that stretch on the tendon, so it’s going to have to work harder while you run.
There are a few things we can do about that.
The first is, definitely to make sure that you do the rehab to quite a high level: going through the full range over the side of a step if you want to get back to running with a little heel support in there.
When you first go back to running, you may… Sometimes people have two pairs of shoes.
So, they’ll have trainers with a bit of a heel and they’ll have minimalist shoes.
Well, start running in the one with a bit of the heel first and then transition back into these… bit by bit. Or, put a temporary small heel lift in your shoes, if that will work, and see if you can just offload it a bit like that.
Are ankle braces good for Achilles tendonitis?
The honest answer is that ankle braces don’t really help Achilles tendonitis. Don’t waste money on that.
Now, most ankle braces are there to prevent your foot from turning in and out and limiting that range of motion and it’s really doesn’t affect the Achilles tendon that much.
To be honest, if you’re going to limit that it’s stuck in one position — it doesn’t move up and down that’s not useful either.
Because immobilizing it can often make it feel more uncomfortable and the whole thing with Achilles’ tendinopathy is that it’s actually a weakened tendon and therefore it hurts with your activities.
So, we want to be strengthening it and by limiting more and more movement in it you can actually make the condition worse because the tendon can get a little bit weaker.
So, sometimes if you have a really painful tendon, it can be useful to put it in a boot and immobilize it like that for a short period of time.
No more than a week to get it to calm down but in most cases that is not needed.
Check Our article – Running with Achilles Tendonitis: Things You Should Know
Are compression socks good for Achilles tendonitis?
In the case of compression socks, they work differently from ankle braces. They don’t limit your muscle movements.
The research seems to say compression socks are good for Achilles’ pain.
You see compression socks help to improve your circulation and get the blood and lymph drainage better from the foot up to the heart.
So, you get rid of your waste products more quickly and you also get a better supply of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and other cells in your body.
What the research has shown is you can regain muscle strength and power.
If you use compression socks and also, it can limit the amount of muscle soreness you feel after running.
Just be careful that the socks aren’t too tight because otherwise, you will actually decrease your circulation they recommend that it should be firm but not uncomfortable.
I hope you found this article interesting and useful.
With that, it’s time to hear what you have to say.
Now you may have a clear idea about what type of shoes and braces is best for Achilles tendonitis.
Or maybe you have a question.
Either way, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.