Foot with rednessThe weather might be “frightful” for the next couple of months, but adults in Nassau County still have an array of options for staying active. One of the more popular ones is playing rec basketball. There are various rec leagues in the community—you can contact Long Island Basketball Leagues, LI Hoops, Rockville Centre Basketball Leagues, etc. for more information—that enable you to participate in some competitive fun with friends.

No matter your physical activity of choice, of course, you want to stay healthy. Heel pain conditions tend to be rather common, but you can use these 5 strategies to prevent Achilles tendinitis to reduce your injury risk and keep you in the game!

Tips for preventing Achilles tendinitis include:

  • Ease into activity. As a starting point, make sure you don’t give max effort from the first day of your rec league. Instead, you need to gradually build up your conditioning and flexibility over time. Think about it this way – your body needs to be prepared for the extra stress you’re placing on it. Too many injuries, like Achilles tendinitis, could have been avoided if the affected individual took it easy at first, and then slowly built up his or her efforts over time.
  • Wear the right shoes. Well, you need to wear your left ones as well, but that’s not what we mean. Instead, this is a matter of wearing the correct shoes for the activity you perform. Keep in mind that a proper pair of athletic shoes will be durable, well-constructed, and provide the support your feet and ankles need.
  • Warm up and stretch. Always take the time to warm up with some light jogging, and follow with dynamic stretches. Not sure what we mean by “dynamic”? These aren’t the ones where you hold a position for 30 seconds. Instead, dynamic stretches are active movements that mimic the ones you will use in the activity you are about to perform.
  • Avoid overuse. Achilles tendinitis can result from overuse, when you spend an excessive amount of time placing stress on the Achilles tendon—say by engaging in high-impact activities several days in a row. A good way to make sure you aren’t overusing this valuable tendon is to cross-train.

Swap out a couple of days of high-impact exercises (like running or playing a lot of basketball) for low-impact ones. Examples of these include swimming, cycling (well, perhaps not until spring!), yoga, and even walking. Walking is a severely underrated form of exercise, so try to incorporate it into your overall fitness plan. During winter months, you may want to consider doing this on a treadmill (if you are concerned about the risk of slipping on icy surfaces).

  • Stay active. You can lower your risk of Achilles tendinitis by keeping active more regularly and consistently. We see many cases of this injury for “weekend warriors.” These are men and women who don’t do much physically during the week, but then go out like gangbusters and give everything they have on the basketball or tennis courts and soccer or flag football fields. A good guideline is to try and get around half an hour of exercise at least 3 or 4 times a week.

Our hope is that these preventative measures for Achilles tendinitis will keep you safe. At the very least, they will reduce your odds of sustaining an injury. Removing all injury risk from any physical activity is unrealistic, of course—accidents happen, especially when we are moving our bodies.

If you do need treatment for any lower limb injuries, remember that Foot Specialists of Long Island is here to help! For additional information on Achilles tendinitis prevention, or to request your appointment with our Nassau County, NY office, give us a call at (516) 804-9038. You can also contact us online right now!
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