How to Prevent and Treat Achilles Tendonitis: What Every Athlete Should Know

Dec 05, 2023
 How to Prevent and Treat Achilles Tendonitis: What Every Athlete Should Know
Don’t let a painful, inflamed Achilles tendon come between you and your sport. Learn more about how athletes can prevent injury to this vulnerable area and what treatments are available for tendonitis.

The term “Achilles heel” may come from Greek myth, but athletes know that the pain of an Achilles tendon injury is anything but fictional. This tendon plays a huge role in so many everyday movements, but you might take it for granted until it’s injured or tendonitis sets in.

Babak Kosari, DPM, FACFAS, offers patient-centered solutions for tendonitis and any other foot, heel, and ankle concerns, so you can get back to the activities you enjoy, pain-free. 

Read on to learn what every athlete should know when it comes to preventing and treating Achilles tendonitis.

The Achilles tendon

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and makes it possible to run, jump, and stand on your tiptoes. You can feel it stretch when doing these movements, as it connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

Whether you’re an athlete or not, you should protect your Achilles tendon. It’s a vulnerable tissue that’s necessary for moving without pain. Athletes are particularly vulnerable, requiring extra attention and care to prevent tendonitis.

Achilles tendonitis: Prevention and treatment

In most cases, tendonitis develops due to the overuse of the Achilles tendon from long periods of intense daily exercise or sports. The tendon flexes and stretches each time you run or jump, which causes wear and strain. 

If you’re experiencing pain and inflammation in your heel or calf area it could be Achilles tendonitis. You may notice visible swelling, as tendonitis can cause the tendon to become thicker, along with surrounding tissue inflammation.

Preventing tendonitis

Proper conditioning of the Achilles tendon is key to avoiding tendonitis. Try these warmup and cooldown stretches to prep your Achilles tendon for a workout:

Stair stretch

This stretch is also known as a bilateral heel drop. Start by standing on a step and letting your heel drop before raising back up on your toes.


Lunges are important stretches that every athlete should know. They’re also a good way to stretch out your glutes and quads.

Toe stretch

Sitting in a chair, put your leg out in front of you with your heel on the ground. Pull your toes up, keeping your heel flat, and hold for 30 seconds.

Warm up and cool down after every game and training session to prevent injury in the long term. Even if your Achilles tendon isn’t bothering you, repetitive strain could be starting. Choosing warmup exercises that use movements different from those common to your sport could help you avoid this type of injury. 

Treating Achilles tendonitis

You may experience a flare-up of tendonitis even when you’re doing everything right. Home care as soon as possible after symptoms start can help your recovery.  

Ice and anti-inflammatory medications are the go-to treatments for mild cases of Achilles tendonitis, and after a period of rest and downtime, you may feel ready to get back in the game. 

For recurring or persistent pain, it’s time to visit Dr. Kosari and our team in Northridge or Santa Clarita, California. Call or click to book your consultation today.