Are you tired of suffering from Achilles tendonitis, the nagging pain that hinders your every step? Well, look no further! In this article, we will reveal the secrets of what causes this frustrating condition, and even more importantly, the best tennis shoes for Achilles tendonitis that can help you prevent and recover from it. But wait, there's more! We'll also explore other low-cost methods to treat and prevent Achilles tendonitis, ensuring you can finally conquer the ground beneath your feet. Brace yourself for a journey towards pain-free running and ultimate foot comfort!
What is the cause of Achilles tendonitis?
In simple terms, Achilles tendonitis is primarily caused by overuse. The tendon becomes inflamed when it undergoes repetitive strain. According to Dr. Schaeffer, the Achilles tendon is used whenever you walk, jump, run, or move with your feet and legs. However, running tends to have the greatest impact on the tendon, which is why runners are more susceptible to Achilles tendonitis.
Nevertheless, similar to how connective tissues can be strengthened through progressive overload, the Achilles tendon can also be trained and strengthened. Dr. Schaeffer explains that Achilles tendonitis commonly occurs when someone runs faster or longer than what their previous training can support. Other factors that can increase the risk of Achilles tendonitis include hill running, running on hard or uneven surfaces, and wearing poorly-designed running shoes, according to research.
What should you look for in running shoes for Achilles tendonitis?
Finding the right pair of shoes can be a challenge for individuals with an Achilles injury. It is recommended to visit a running store and get properly fitted. The ideal running shoe should be comfortable, supportive, and durable.
Here are some tips from Norton and Martin to help you choose the best running shoe for your needs:
- High drop: Look for a running shoe with a high heel-to-toe drop, especially during the initial stages. A high drop refers to the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot, typically between 5-12mm. Once your calf muscles have gained strength, you can transition to a lower drop.
- Heel cushion: Look for a shoe with a heel cushion that helps distribute weight evenly across your foot and absorbs impact, reducing pressure on your Achilles tendon. Additionally, ensure that the material around the heel does not compress or rub against your tendon.
- Heel rocker: Consider shoes with a rocker bottom, such as Hokas, as they can alleviate stress on the Achilles tendon.
- Good arch support: Look for shoes with adequate arch support to maintain alignment and reduce strain on your ankles during each step.
- Neutral shoe: A neutral shoe offers more cushioning and support compared to a stability shoe. However, if you tend to overpronate (when your foot lands on the outer heel and rolls inward), you may require a stability shoe. It is recommended to visit a running shoe store and have someone observe your running to ensure you choose the right shoe with appropriate motion control.
- Heel counter: The shoe's heel counter, which is the material wrapping around the back of your heel, should be firm enough to provide support without causing irritation or blisters during extended wear.
Related: When to Replace Your Running Shoes
The following running shoes are recommended for individuals with Achilles tendonitis and incorporate many of the aforementioned qualities that runners should look for to alleviate Achilles pain:
HOKA Rincon 3 Running Shoes:
The HOKA Rincon offers the perfect combination of ultra-softness and responsiveness. It is a cushioned shoe with a low-profile design that allowed the author to resume running after experiencing plantar fascia tear and Achilles tendonitis. While it provides comfort and speed, it may not have the same durability as other shoes and may need to be replaced after 200-250 miles.
Read the full Rincon review here.
HOKA Bondi 8 Running Shoes:
The HOKA Bondi 8 provides maximum cushioning and support. With a soft midsole foam and compression pads at the heel and forefoot, it offers added comfort and shock absorption during each stride. However, it may feel clunky, so it may not be the ideal choice for speedwork.
Read the full Bondi review here.
adidas Solar Glide Running Shoes:
The adidas Solar Glide running shoes offer excellent support and performance. Equipped with BOOST trademarked polymer midsole and LEP 2.0 in the sole, these shoes provide a springy and powerful feel. They offer foot support without feeling rigid, making them suitable for rainy runs. However, they may not be the best choice for speedwork or long runs.
Brooks Ghost 15 Running Shoe:
The Brooks Ghost 15 is a popular running shoe known for its cushioning and support. It effectively absorbs impact, reducing fatigue during long runs. Its midsole offers optimal cushioning without adding excessive bulk or weight. However, it may require some time to break in.
ASICS Gel-Kayano 29 Running Shoes:
The ASICS Gel-Kayano 29 offers a balance of plushness and lightweight design. With a dual-density midsole for shock absorption and energy return, it is suitable for long runs and tempo runs. Its flexible outsole reduces muscle fatigue over time. However, compared to the Rincon, the Gel-Kayano may feel slightly cumbersome.
Saucony Triumph 18 Running Shoes:
The Saucony Triumph 18 is a lightweight and comfortable running shoe with ample cushioning in the midsole for a more comfortable running experience and added protection against injuries. Its breathable upper helps prevent overheating. It is best suited for base-building runs, as it may start to feel heavy after several miles.
New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav Running Shoe:
The New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav v1 features a fresh foam cloud-like midsole that offers a lightweight and ultra-cushioned ride. With a neutral design, it provides support and stability for your heel. The moderate 8mm drop allows you to continue wearing this shoe even after your Achilles tendonitis heals. However, the wide toe box may not be suitable for those who overpronate and can lead to sliding and blisters.
If you need assistance with your running goals, consider checking out the run coaching services offered by the author. Additionally, be sure to explore their free training plans.
Your choice of footwear can also help prevent and aid in the recovery from Achilles tendonitis
According to Dr. Schaeffer, the shoes you wear while exercising can have a significant impact and help you avoid Achilles tendonitis. It is recommended to select shoes that provide a good balance of cushioning, arch support, and heel support to reduce tension in the Achilles tendon.
Here are seven shoes that podiatrists recommend for Achilles tendonitis:
Asics Gel Nimbus 25 — $160.00
Runners, take note. The Asics Gel Nimbus offers excellent cushioning and medial support, providing runners with much-needed relief for their Achilles tendon. According to Dr. Dan Geller, a sports podiatrist, the 8 millimeter heel-to-toe drop of this shoe further reduces stress on the tendon. Additionally, the Asics Gel Nimbus comes in 13 different stylish color options.
Mizuno Wave Creation 20 — $170.00
The Mizuno Wave Creation 20 is a lightweight sneaker that provides the perfect amount of cushioning on the heel to alleviate Achilles pain. The shoe's breathable material is an added bonus.
Brooks Ghost 15 — $140.00
The Brooks Ghost 15 is a tried-and-true sneaker that is friendly to the Achilles tendon. It features a stable midsole, wide toe box, and a 12 millimeter heel-to-toe drop, all working together to relieve stress and strain on the tendon. Additionally, the shoe comes in 27 different color options.
Hoka Bondi 8 — $165.00
The Hoka Bondi 8 is designed to encourage the proper motion of the foot while running. Its rocker-type structure allows for more freedom of movement, minimizing the load on the Achilles tendon and calf. This shoe promotes better form and reduces the risk of Achilles tendonitis.
Skechers Women's Max Cushioning Elite Sneaker — $105.00
Skechers sneakers, including the Max Cushioning Elite Sneaker, have become popular among those dealing with Achilles tendonitis. This shoe offers a cushioned midsole and a soft textile upper for comfort and support. The padded heel collar and integrated toe guard provide additional protection for the Achilles while on the move.
New Balance 1540V3 Running Shoe — $179.00
The New Balance 1540V3 Running Shoe provides excellent cushioning in the heel and superior stability with its high-tech midsole. It also features a breathable mesh upper, making it comfortable and lightweight even in warm weather.
Kane Revive — .00
The Kane Revive, although not a sneaker, is a great adventure shoe for individuals with Achilles pain. Made from the proprietary material RestoreFoam™, this shoe offers structure, support, and excellent cushioning. It also has a 10 millimeter heel-to-toe offset, which helps ease tension on the Achilles tendon.
Other affordable ways to treat and prevent Achilles tendonitis
If you prefer not to spend money on another pair of sneakers, there are alternative options to make your current footwear more Achilles-friendly.
A heel lift is a shoe insert that provides a small lift under the heel, reducing tension on the Achilles tendon. According to Dr. Geller, a five millimeter heel lift is usually sufficient to ease tension.
Another option is to use an insole, which supports the entire foot. The right insole can transform your current sneakers by providing impact-absorbing cushioning, shock-absorbing heels, and flexible arch support. Dr. Schaeffer recommends Dr. Scholl's Prevent Pain Protective Insole and SuperFeet Adapt Run Insoles as good options.
Please note that our editors independently select these products, and making a purchase through our links may earn Well Good a commission.
In conclusion, Achilles tendonitis can be a debilitating condition for tennis players, but it doesn't have to be the end of your game. By understanding the causes of Achilles tendonitis and selecting the right running shoes with the necessary support and cushioning, you can protect your Achilles tendon and prevent future injuries. Additionally, taking simple yet effective low-cost measures such as stretching, strengthening exercises, and utilizing ice and compression techniques can aid in your recovery and prevent the recurrence of this painful condition. So don't let Achilles tendonitis hold you back - equip yourself with these invaluable tips and get back on the court stronger than ever.