Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Achilles tendinitis means you feel pain in the large tendon that extends from in the back of your heel to your calf muscle. It hurts most when you get up in the morning and when you start to walk or run. It will heal only if you stop running and find another sport that doesn't hurt when you do it, such as cycling, swimming, or pulling on a rowing machine.
The Achilles tendon is made up of thousands of individual fibers, like a rope with thousand of threads. The fibers are broken by applying a force greater than their inherent strength. No medicines hasten healing. As soon as the tendon stops hurting, doctors usually prescribe strengthening exercises, but you have to exercise against greater resistance to become strong and strong resistance prevents healing. So start out by jogging very slowly daily until your tendon starts to hurt and then quit for the day. Soon you will be able to jog for more than a half hour, but that will not condition you enough to compete in any sport. When you no longer have any pain, you can strengthen the tendon by learning how to run fast. You must stop immediately if you feel a pulling behind your heel and each intense workout will require several easy days to allow you to recover. Try to run very fast once or twice a week, never on consecutive days.