Achilles tendonitis or Achilles tendinopathy causes gradual onset pain in the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. Here we explain how wearing sports insoles can help recovery and reduce the risk of Achilles pain.
What is Achilles tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. The term Achilles tendinopathy is probably more accurate because this describes more common degeneration as a result of wear and tear, rather than acute inflammation of the tendon.
Overuse is generally considered the main cause of Achilles tendon pain, however, there are a number of factors which make overuse more likely. Not least of which is your foot type and the way you run.
Foot biomechanics is all about how your foot moves as you run and considerably affects the stresses, strains and impact going through your bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
A good amateur runner may take 1500 steps per mile. Running 30 miles a week means 45 000 steps. Running on flat, hard surfaces means putting the same load through the tendon every step.
But why exactly does foot biomechanics matter and how can insoles help? Here we explain how correcting poor foot biomechanics through insoles helps prevent and recover from Achilles tendon injuries.
You have probably heard this many times before. In general there are three foot types in runners; overpronators, neutral and supinators.
Overpronators have feet that roll in or flatten as you run. In effect, your foot arch collapses as you put weight on it. Supinators (or over-supinators) have feet that roll out. If you over-supinate then you will most likely have a rigid, high arched foot. Neutral runners have naturally great feet for running.
Overpronators and Achilles pain
Overpronators are at more risk of suffering Achilles tendon pain and here is why. As your foot strikes the ground the arch under your foot flattens.
This causes your Achilles tendon to bend and twist. As a result, the tissues on the inside of the Achilles tendon stretch more than the outside. In addition the tendon also rotates inwards more than it normally would.
So you can see exactly how poor foot biomechanics and overpronation causes increased load on the Achilles tendon. Multiply this by 45 000 steps per week and your chance of sustaining Achilles pain through overuse is increased.
Insoles for Achilles pain
Wearing an arch support insole such as the F3D Support+ helps control the position of your heel and support your arch as you run, walk and even stand.
Wearing the insole corrects the position of your foot, allowing your Achilles tendon to work more efficiently without bending or twisting whilst you run.
When to wear insoles for Achilles pain
When you run the forces through your foot and lower leg are much larger as you strike the ground. Wearing your insoles in running shoes is important. However, most people also spend a lot more time walking or standing. Therefore, it is equally important to wear them in your normal work or day to day shoes as well. The more you can reduce the load through your Achilles tendon, the more quickly you are likely to recover.
What about neutral runners and supinators?
Whilst not as common as overpronators with Achilles pain, if you over supinate then you benefit from an insole with aditional cushioning such as the F3D Cushion+. Supinators generally have rigid, high arched feet which lack natural shock absorbtion.
If you are lucky enough to have a neutral running gait then you may still benefit from wearing insoles. Even perfect feet were not designed to run repeatedly on harf, flat surfaces. The F3D Neutral insoles sits in between, giving the right balance of shock absorption and arch support to not only reduce the risk of injury, but improve performance with a more efficient foot strike and gait.