What are the best shoes for Achilles Tendonitis?

What is Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis is a common overuse injury characterised by inflammation, irritation, and pain in the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It often occurs because of repetitive stress or strain on the tendon, typically from running, jumping, or sudden increases in physical activity. Individuals with tight calf muscles, improper footwear, or biomechanical issues may be more susceptible to developing Achilles tendonitis.

What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles tendonitis symptoms include pain and stiffness in the back of the heel, especially during physical activity or upon waking in the morning. If left untreated, it can progress to more severe conditions, such as tendon degeneration or rupture.

What is the treatment for Achilles Tendonitis?

Treatment typically involves rest, ice therapy, stretching exercises, physical therapy, and, in some cases, orthotic devices or footwear modifications to alleviate pressure on the tendon. Severe cases may require corticosteroid injections or surgical intervention.

At Highett Podiatry, we focus on conservative management, including soft tissue therapy, restrictive taping, heel lifts to reduce the load on the Achilles, along with rest and footwear recommendations.  We encourage all of our patients with Achilles tendonitis to wear good, supportive footwear with a minimum of a 12mm heel-to-toe drop.

Below is a guide to the best footwear for Achilles Tendonitis.

What features in a shoe help with my Achilles Tendonitis?

  1. Heel Cushioning: Look for shoes with ample heel cushioning to reduce stress on the Achilles tendon. A cushioned heel can absorb shock and provide support, especially if you tend to heavily heel strike while walking or running.
  2. Heel Drop: opt for shoes with a moderate heel-to-toe drop, ideally around 12mm. A higher drop can help reduce strain on the Achilles tendon by placing less tension during activity.
  3. Midfoot Support: Adequate support through the shoe’s midsole can help distribute weight evenly and reduce strain on the Achilles tendon. Look for shoes with a strong midsole, or use orthotic inserts for additional support.
  4. Flexibility: Shoes should be flexible enough to allow natural foot movement where the toes bend while providing stability and support through the mid and rear foot. Also, avoid shoes that are too stiff, as they can restrict movement and potentially exacerbate Achilles tendonitis.
  5. Fit: Proper fit is crucial for preventing friction and irritation that can worsen Achilles tendonitis. Ensure the shoes have enough room in the toe box and securely hold your heel without rubbing or slipping.
  6. Orthotic Compatibility: If you use orthotic inserts or custom-made orthotics, choose shoes with removable insoles that can accommodate them comfortably.

Podiatrists at Highett Podiatry recommend the following shoes in 2024 for Achilles Tendonitis

RUNNING SHOES:

Brooks Ghost

–     Neutral shoe

–     12mm heel toe drop

Mizuno Wave Rider

Neutral shoe

–     12mm heel toe drop

WALKING SHOES

Brooks Addiction Walkers

–      Non-slip leather shoe

–     12mm heel to toe drop