but there’s this nagging tightness in your calf and some weird, tension and unpredictable pain in your heel. When you really think about it, you might also be experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- A grating or cracking when you move your ankle.
- Swelling, heat or redness at the base of your heel.
- A bump on the tendon where it attaches to the heel.
- When you pull your toes up, there’s some slight weakness.
- You may notice that your Achilles feels stiff first thing in the morning.
What’s the Problem?
Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive over-stressing to the tendon.
Insertion-Achilles Tendonitis / Bone spurs / Pump Bumps
Achilles pain can strike barefooters at the base of heel. This form of Achilles ache is also known as “insertion tendinitis”. The spurs result from over stressing a popular foot ligament, the plantar fascia.
Extra bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone can rub against the tendon and cause pain.
What’s the Most Common Cause of Achilles Aches?
Chronic over-use. In the ridiculous world of barefooting acronyms this problem is dubbed TMTS (Too Much Too Soon). TMTS injuries afflict athletes who put too much stress on their bodies without adequate time for recovery. Here are some common causes of TMTS injuries:
- Primary Cause:
Sudden increase in the amount or intensity of exercise activity—for example, increasing your BAREFOOT mileage without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance.
YOU SHOULD TAKE SHOD MILEAGE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. Just because you can run 10 miles in shoes, doesn’t mean you can run 10 barefoot. All barefoot mileage should be regarded as NEW TRAINING ACTIVITY.
- Secondary CAUSE related to Primary CAUSE:
Tight calf muscles—When calf muscles are given too much work, they become slackers and transfer load to the Achilles. BAREFOOT RUNNING WILL PUT YOUR CALF MUSCLES TO WORK. Even WALKING BAREFOOT will add STRESS to your CALF MUSCLES. You must allow time for recovery. MASSAGE tight calf muscles with a ROLLING PIN after BAREFOOT WALKING AND RUNNING. (See Below.)
Rolling Pin Massage alleviates tightness in the calf and can lead to a speedy recovery from Achilles tendinitis.
How do I avoid Achilles Pain?
Monitor your training volume, intensity and frequency of training carefully. If my Achilles ache, all I have to do is check my training. For instance, last week they were aching a bit. Upon reflection, I realized that I had inadvertently added 7 extra barefoot miles. No wonder, they reacted a little.
It’s important to vary your stride when you run distances longer than 3 miles. One of the many benefits of running without shoes is ability to alter your stride on the fly.
Barefoot running should be taken gradually. Here is a link to a FANTASTIC BAREFOOT HALF MARATHON TRAINING SCHEDULE. It provides plenty of rest days. I used it to run a half marathon at Wildwood in OR.
Watch this Video to Find Out Even More about Treating Achilles Pains:
Abrupt changes in training load are the primary cause of Achilles tendinopathy. Slow and steady wins the barefoot race.