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Tips to Keep Running when Rehabbing Achilles Tendinopathy

Hey runners!

Are you dealing with Achilles tendinopathy but don’t want to stop running? Yes yes…I know how it goes… And believe it or not, not all medical professionals want you to stop exercising just because it currently contributes to your symptoms!

First off, make sure you do know what you are dealing with. Pain in that area can come from a few different issues. Tendon issues are treated differently than bursitis issues and bony issues, etc. Just make sure you’ve been to a trusted medical provider to assist in this. Performance physical therapists are the musculoskeletal experts and would be the best place to start. They can refer you to the necessary provider should you need any further care.


Dan Pope with Fitness Pain Free summarized what the research states really well with 4 ways to stay running while rehabilitating Achilles tendinopathy.  

1.       Increase your running cadence by 5-10% (Lyght et al, 2016)

-Your running cadence is the number of times both feet touch the ground in 60 seconds.

-Increasing this reduces stress on the Achilles tendon and can be a useful strategy especially in patients with a slow cadence.

2.       Adopt more of a heel strike pattern (Lyght et al. 2016)

-It’s been found that a forefoot strike increases stress on the Achilles and a rearfoot strike reduces the stress.

-This may be a good way to at least temporarily continue running without worsening your Achilles pain.

3.       Ditch the treadmill (Willy et al. 2016)

-Treadmill running results in 12.5% more peak Achilles tendon force compared to overground running.

-Reduce or eliminate the treadmill running and get outside!

4.       Run slower (Starbuck et al. 2021)

-Temporarily remove faster runs. The focus on building run volume over intensity may be beneficial because faster run speeds directly increase stress on the Achilles.


a woman trail running in Asheville, NC without achilles tendinopathy pain

Hopefully these research-backed tips help you deal with your Achilles tendinopathy symptoms while you rehabilitate back to full go!

Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

-Dr. Sieara


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