The achilles and ankles thread

Since I’ve started running again I’ve been made aware of my achilles again. Not painful when running, but a bit stiff in the mornings especially. So I’ve been rolling the calves (I have really right soleus) and stretching etc. Also started s&c.

The pain isn’t really in the traditional place though i.e. The centre of the achilles. But rather around the side. May be connected to ankle issues that I have. Last few ultras I’ve had my ankles battered to pieces. Hangover from 20 years of footy.

Woke up this morning and this bit is a bit swollen when I fully dorsi flex under load (standing). This is the bit that (I think) has been sore. It’s hard to isolate sometimes, and I’ve not been paying close enough attention to it. Is it achilles linked or the sole us, or something else? Any tips or advice? !


Similar place to where I’ve been having trouble. Physio thinks mine is tendonitis, the tendon which runs round the back of the ankle and through to the arch near the big toe.

Not that he’s right but he keeps telling me that rolling and stretching won’t help. Strongly believes in strength and specifically heavy weighted exercises using a similar movement pattern to running (activity which was causing the pain).

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OK that’s interesting, thanks. Mine isn’t painful when running, I just know it’s there during the day of that makes sense?
Only just noticed the swelling. Don’t know if that’s new, or I’ve just not spotted it.

I get similar and my physio says tendinitis. Strengthening and lots of stretching helps me - heel drops off the stairs is my friend for this.


I’m supposed to do these


This was first thing that came into my head when GB said tight calves. I don’t know the answer, but I’ve heard it multiple times that runners complaining of sensation of tight calves is nearly always weak calves. Especially Achilles tendonitis for heel drops.


I’m now making an effort to strengthen calves to cope with workload. Single leg calf raises, pistol squats plus a bit of glute work.

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Yes, same here but if it’s sore I make do with a straight drop. The guy who does those videos- he’s pretty good I think and often look at some of his tips.

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Tight calf’s do often lead to problems around the ankle and foot for me.

Looks like you could be rolling inwards, have you tried arch supports?

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Thanks for the input. I’ll respond later when I have more than 30secs to myself at a time!

Tibialis posterior is where I had some discomfort last autumn/winter. I think that’s what ultimately caused my plantar fasciitis as all my discomfort is right at the back of the plantar fascia and on the medial side in the same area tibialis posterior inserts.

My recommendation would be to try and resolve asap!

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Similar here, and my expert says tendonitus, exercises are over step and calf raises building up gradually (I have to due to sessamoiditus):

2 x 10 , 3 x 10, 3 x15, 3 x 25, 3 x 15 single, 3 x 20 single, 3 x 25 single, 3 x 15 with weights, 3 x 20 with weights, 3 x 25 with weights.

He suggested weights in a rucksack as apparently nowadays holding a weight is not as biomechanically pc!

Further progression goes to dynamic push offs

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How often are you doing those @Clive?

@Chriswim funny you say that as I’ve always been told that my calves are almost over developed. I seem to have a stride pattern that is really calf dominant when going uphill or quickly, and I’m quad dominant when cruising. My glutes however are as strong as wet tissue paper!

I’m starting to take my s&c seriously for the first time. I’ve written a little program with @grifter help, and I’ve done that one or two times a week. Looks like I’ll have to up the calf stuff my program is very glute and hip heavy as they’re my huge weak points.

@jeffb not tried inserts before. But I was worried that my new Altra’s aren’t doing me any favours. I think I was a bit naiive in diving straight into a 100 miler in them! But they’re too expensive to just bin, so I’m limiting them to one run a week, which I think is a sensible compromise.

I have no idea how to tell if I am overly pronating, other than finding someone to film I guess. Could be a good call though.

@Jgav I’ll try the exercises in that video and add it to my little routine.

Seems like quite a few people having the same/similar issues though. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not?! :joy:

I think I’ll do an easy, shorter run tonight then see how it reacts and play next week appropriately. Probs go see the physio again as well, as like @stenard said, I really don’t want to be out for ages again. I seem to be having a rough last 12 months, and I find it quite tricky to fit in cross training. Running suits my lifestyle right now.

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@gingerbongo between 2 - 4 times a week with day off in between.

I was also told to ice straight after but due to no cardio, didn’t have any pain afterwards.

Funnily enough, after unsuccessful (for knee) pain free 15 min wattbike session Fri, I did feel pain in the achillees area!

But yeh, I do two different core and strength sessions, so at the moment, the calf strengthening is during one of those sessions… 2 sessions you ask, well in my defence m’lud, no cardio due to injury (apart from swimming) is slightly boring!

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Having achilles tendinopathy means you need to load the tendon, which is what the help drops are for. The reason for using static heel holds and heel drops is because you’re loading the tendon isometrically (not moving) or eccentrically (muscle lengthening) is because it allows the tendon to be loaded without applying compression and this reduces the chance of making it sore.

Once you’re passed this initial phase you then move on to exercises that shorten calf muscles. Throughout it is best to make sure you are doing any f the exercises you want to do as many with a bent knee as with a straight one so you are specifically loading the soleus. Same with calf strengthening and stretching, you need to do some of it with a bent knee to target the soleus.



Ive got the same tight lower calf issue I got last year and the year before - but I cant find my posts about it.

This time it seems to have coincided with bring swimming back into my training week.

Apart from eccentric calf raises which I definitely was doing, what was my likely course of remedy?

Stop running or only run easy?
Keep cycling?
Keep swimming?
Keep squatting?

Whenever I’ve had issues there, it’s always been high loaded eccentric calf lowering exercises that have helped massively

Get a dumbell/kettlebell/barbell
Go up on both legs
Slooooooowly lower on the affected leg

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Ueah im already doing the eccentric calf raises, Im just not sure if thats the only thing I did previously.

I remember that it just goes away fairly quickly or it did when I did whatever I did the last two times! :sweat_smile:

I did 6x400 run intervals today, so a bit lighter than usual, but its got stiffer.

Sorry @joex but when you say eccentric calf raises you mean heel drops ( maybe into calf raises)? I would look at any of the calf strengthenong exercises like heel raises in the lunge position to target soleus. Prehab guys are always good for this sort of thing Calf Strengthening or for runners or another one

Yeah, heel drops into calf raises on the stairs.

Seemed to work previously but the short run crippled me today and its getting stiffer. Not sure I can do any raises at the moment, will need to let it heal a bit first.

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