Why Your Feet are Getting Sore - Tendons hate change

So, beach days are just around the corner and you’re in a mad rush to get back into fitness so that you look at least semi amazing poolside.

Last blog we talked about people buying the wrong shoes for the wrong activity and how that actually leads to foot and ankle problems. What we need to talk about next is jumping into activity potentially too quickly or too intensely and ending up with an injury.

Most common injuries

The most common injuries that we see at A Step Ahead Foot and Ankle care as foot doctors, that’s right Podiatrists, is Achilles pain, heel pain or shin pain. These are often referred to as;

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Heel Spurs
  • Shin splints 

All these can be super painful and while we like to think we will “walk these out” or a bit of ice will fix it. Many times that’s far from the truth.

How do the problems start

And important change in our understanding that has emerged over the last few years is our recognition that tendons don’t like change. They are a bit like your granddad in that way. Tendons are the soft tissue that attaches muscle to bone. A great mantra to remember and to keep you generally out of trouble is “Tendons hate change” let’s all say it again “Tendons hate change” and again …..

Where did I go wrong?

So, what does change look like to a tendon. The change we are talking about is you going from doing very little activity to deciding to start a Bootcamp every morning at 6 am. That hot young Trainer has you running up and down hills, stepping up and down off boxes and running shuttle runs till you feel like they are gunna fall off.

Now, to someone that has had a modicum of activity this in itself is not a problem, however if your activity over winter has been  catching up on Netflix’s Stranger Things whilst eating popcorn and sitting under a doona on the lounge,  you’re tendons are experiencing change that they are not used to and let us tell you they are not going to be happy about at all!

What’s happening to me?

Tendons often have two responses: The first response is to become angry and inflamed. The other response is to degenerate and create damage in the tendon.

To make matters worse tendons can decide to do both at the same time! Bullocks!! Generally though it will begin with the tendon inflaming and becoming very angry. Think back to your days as a kid watching cartoons and “The hulk” remember when he’d say “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”. Yup Tendons are gunna be the same!

What to do?

The first thing you need to do is graduate your progression into exercise. This means perhaps starting with two or three sessions in your first week, not five! Allow your body (in this instance tendons) time to get used to the activity and also some time to recover.

Now if it’s too late and you find yourself with the problem already? Try heading back to our earlier post about making sure you have the right shoes for the job!

In many cases you can also try icing the area in the initial stages particularly if you can see the obvious swelling of the area. There are many examples and resources you can head to whilst searching through the web. In general the best principle is to look at a regime of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off of icing. For the first 48 to 72 hours. As a preference I like immersion in ice water perhaps we chat about how to do that in a future post.

What happens when it’s longer than a week?

If the injury goes on longer than a week and you don’t see progression it would be our suggestion that you had to see professionals like us at A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle care, did you expect us to suggest anyone else?

There are stacks of different therapies that are appropriate for these conditions. Ranging from heel raises to strength exercises, massage, shockwave therapy to assessing your walking or running mechanics just to name a few.  Good therapists, yep like our team of highly trained foot doctors, will know which therapy is best for which condition. Plug plug plug ….. A good therapist will develop a treatment plan. They won’t just rely on one magical therapy or one single intervention cure. (Big tip here if they suggest a single intervention approach I’d be searching for another therapist)

If you’re not able to visit my team at Astepahead a step ahead foot and ankle care, say for example you’re reading this in New York or worse still the eastern suburbs of Sydney! (which for some reason seems to be further away than New York)  And you need to find someone other than us. I have on my agenda to write another post that talks about what to look for, and how to go about finding and identifying awesome practitioners. And how you could go about identifying whether or not the practitioner is the right choice for you. So hold your hat that is coming up.

Again if you would like to visit myself all my team send you can contact us at the details below. Until then I hope you are happy healthy and active.

I hope that helps. Make sure you head to our information below and our links to look up more information about heel pain, foot types, and other sports injuries. We look forward to making you happy, healthy and active.

Have you tried our Heel Pain Calculator?

ABOUT DR BRENDEN BROWN

Founder of A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care in Sydney, and former president of the Australasian Podiatry Council, Dr Brenden Brown (A.K.A Dr Foot) is a wealth of knowledge on how to take care of your feet, including how to find the best shoes.

Follow him on social media:
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A Step Ahead Foot + Ankle Care has become the leaders in the field of Heel pain care, using innovative treatments.

Firstly, we provide upfront, “warts and all” advice! We will tell you what you can do and CAN’T do to get relief (loads of practitioners are too scared to tell you).

* No medical treatment can guarantee 100% success. Registered medical and health professions in Australia are by law not allowed to guarantee success. This comes as a result of all human bodies reacting differently to treatments. Patients should thoroughly consider all treatment options available to them.