Running with Achilles Tendonitis: Things You Should Know 

If you are one of the runners who have ever noticed pain in the back of the heel? 

Don’t worry, you are not alone!  

And it is that Achilles tendinopathy, poorly known as tendinitis, is one of the most typical problems of runners. 

Running with Achilles tendonitis

Running with Achilles tendonitis

As a center specializing in physiotherapy, we see a large number of runners who, while preparing for the marathon or speed race, start this type of tendon problem.  

If you are a runner, surely you have ever noticed a stabbing pain in the tendon that worsens when you finish running. 

It is the typical “tendinitis” (we really call it Achilles tendinopathy, not Achilles tendinitis).  

The latest studies say that one of the main causes is the lack of tendon strength, in addition to mobility deficits.  

I saw the majority of runners made the same mistake: not doing a good job of physical preparation and running too many days.  

And what happens when the muscles and tendons are not strong enough and we are going to run for too many days? The pain begins. 


So, the question today is: Is it okay to run with Achilles pain?

It comes as no surprise that the research has shown that up to a level of 3 out of 10 pain is okay to train with, and most of the research studies looking at specific Achilles tendon exercises as well as running with Achilles tendinopathies. 

But as long as the pain stayed at that level, all the subjects still managed to recover while they kept their fitness.  

Now in practice, I find it difficult for my patients to gauge what is a 3 out of 10 pains.  

So, I find something that’s useful is to think of it as discomfort rather than pain. So, if you doing your Achilles exercises or you’re going for your run, and all you can feel is a bit of discomfort.  

So, you kind of know it’s there but it’s not really painful – and then also, within the next 24 hours, you don’t get a massive increase in your pain. So, it’s again, you just know it’s there but it’s not really that painful, and it takes 24 hours then it’s gone – that level of discomfort is absolutely fine to train with.  

If it’s more than that, it means that your training session was a bit too hard, and you will have to pull it back. 

Does rest help Achilles tendonitis? Here is the TRUTH

Rest helps decrease pain, but does nothing to heal the tendon.  

The treatment of these injuries must be based on two clear phases; the first is to reduce pain through physiotherapy techniques and specific exercises. 

The second is to return to sports practice progressively. If instead of this you rest, the tendon will lose strength and quality, so when you run again it will not hold you at all.  

As we have already mentioned, each person is different and Internet exercises or routines are not useful for other people.  

You need a specific job for your case, your structures, and your reality. 

What causes your Achilles tendon to hurt?

There are several risk factors that can lead to problems with the Achilles tendon. 

The main function of this tendon is to bend the foot downward, with movement from the ankle (plantar flexion).  

This movement is essential to gain momentum to run or walk. When running, the Achilles tendon pushes against the force of your own body and gravity. 

The most common causes of Achilles tendonitis are: 

  • Increase training volume too much or too fast.  
  • Wearing shoes that do not fit properly (especially in the heel area). 
  • Shoes that are too stiff 
  • Imbalances in the hips 
  • Overpronation (foot tilting inward too much) 
  • An extreme shortening of the calf muscles  
  • Lack of time with bare feet 
  • Lack of ankle mobility 

The types of shoes are good for Achilles tendonitis

Running fashion is also a fashion in terms of footwear brands. What is the best shoe?  

It depends on each person and their way of running. Get advice from a licensed podiatrist to see which shoe suits you.  

Do not be seduced by the designs of the brands and by the “technologies” that are invented. 

By now you know that not everyone can run with Jaume Leiva’s NIKE. And it is that without good work of strength, power, and CORE you will not improve performance or avoid injuries. 

Here is a very interesting proposal to work the muscles of the foot, the great ones abandoned. 

How do I warm up my Achilles tendon before running?

In many blogs about the world of running, you can read different articles on how to warm up your Achilles tendon before going for a run.  

The main idea of warming up is to activate the body both at a muscular and sensory level so that we prepare it to go from inactivity to activity.  

Starting a high-intensity exercise without warming up or executing it poorly is hurt your Achilles tendon. 

Below I detail the warm-up routine that I do, especially before a competition: 


  • Mobilize – Joints of ankles, knees, shoulders, etc. 
  • Walking – 1 or 2 minutes. 
  • Run very smoothly from 500 to 1,000 m, alternating running with a gentle skipping and ending with a light sprint. The more muscularly rigid you are or the harder your training is going to be, the longer your pre-race jog should be. 
  • Mobilize joints, for 1 or 2 minutes, especially ankles and knees, and do dynamic stretching “without forcing” calves, quadriceps, etc. 

What to Do if You Experience Achilles Pain While Running?

If you have suffered from Achilles tendinitis for some time you should take a break from your running routine.  

Continuing to run if you are in pain is not going to make you perform well or run faster. Plus, you run the risk of causing even more damage to your Achilles tendon that could interrupt your training for months.  

Try eccentric strength exercises: the lengthening of muscles under pressure. This can help ease the pain or even eliminate it altogether. 

The two muscles of the gastrocnemius or calves are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. 

But keep in mind that eccentric strength exercises are only recommended if the tendon does not yet show signs of major damage.  

If you experience constant and severe pain in the region, avoid running and standing exercises for at least 15 days. 

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