Running Injury Treatment & Prevention: The Soleus & Achilles

This Sock Doc Video was made by Altra Zero Drop Footwear as part of their RunTalks series. I discuss how to naturally assess, treat, and prevent common lower leg injuries specifically related to the soleus muscle. Many athletes, especially runners, suffer from shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and other injuries due to a poorly functioning soleus.

Stretch it? No.
How about ice? No.
Orthotics or thicker shoes? Of course not.

Check out the video, heal up, and run.

Comments

  1. Peter Wood says:

    Hi Steve
    Great talk, as always helps reinforce the key principles I have gathered from you.
    Please, please try to get your video angles better so when you give examples, all we can see is someone’s head: if that is your soleus, you are in a bad way ;-)
    Thanks again
    Peter

  2. Thank you so much for the video and website. I’m learning a ton. I am suffering through a bone spur (confirmed by xray) / Achilles tendonitis on my right foot.

    I got the way too expensive custom orthotics from the podiatrist only to suffer horrific hip pain in the opposing hip as a result. Got myself educated through this site, ditched the orthotics, and have transitioned quite easily to the zero drop shoes (barefoot at home has always been my norm and I never did heels).

    My entire life I have had large, super tight calf muscles. I’m not an athlete at all (quite the opposite sadly, though I think me trying to change and start a walking program caused the bone spur this summer).

    I suffered a soleus tear on my right leg years ago (same one that now has the Achilles tendonitis/bone spur) and the doctors all told me no connection. Somehow me thinks differently now.

    Two questions: I still have some sharp pain in my heel. Some days are fine, others not so much. Given I’m not walking any extra, I spend a fair amount of time on my feet in my normal day to day so there isn’t really much “resting” I can do. Is this normal? Do I still need a bit of a heel rise until the pain goes away? The trigger points I’ve found are actually higher up, about two inches or so below the knee on the outside/back of the calf. Is this the soleus too or another muscle that may be contributing?

    The rolling with “The Stick” and trigger point work has reduced the tightness of my calf muscles significantly but there is still room for improvement. I do not want to further contribute to a growing bone spur on my right heel and definitely want to get back to walking pain free again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! And thanks again for all you do.

    • Check out the other foot/lower leg videos and the articles on barefoot walking/running.

    • justsomeguy says:

      I did not watch the video. But for this type of condition “eccentric heel drops” have helped me a lot. 4 varieties, only drop to “flat” level, drop below flat (using a step), and bent knee version of both.

  3. The timing of this video was terrific! I’ve been suffering through an arthritis flareup for days after too much hiking, and the trigger point therapy you illustrated brought back my flexibility in the joint like magic! Every time I read or watch something of yours, you get me more interested in kinesiology. Thank you!

  4. For Susan,
    there is injury prevention forum on this site,there You will find a lot of answers,
    now one short from me,I have suffered this year from achillies tendonitis for months,heel pain.
    Dont rush Your transition and if You will notice and discomfort after running in minimalistic shoes get back to higher running shoes.In fact in the period of transition try to run in minimalistic shoes once a week.slow,short distance.It takes a time for soleus muscle to grow and stretch.I was amazed when I was transitioning how sudden my soleus muscle started to grow!The problems You have,it would be even dangerous to run in minimalistic all the time.

    Now after for one year of transitioning I am running once a week in a minimalistic shoes and its better and better,yesterday I was running in fast pace after it no any pain!
    I adore zero drop shoes but for trail marathon races I will take higher shoes ,I need at least some support.

    • Thanks (to all) for the additional info – very helpful. I’m not a runner, so overdoing is not an issue. Just struggling with my normal day-to-day walking. The minimalist shoes are fantastic and very comfortable. I don’t have calf pain or anything like that after walking in them all day. Several days in a row, no Achilles pain and then, seemingly, out of the blue, the Achilles acts up and is painful. I don’t know if that means I still need to waffle back and forth between “normal” shoes and minimalist shoes or what. I can’t make any correlation of activity (lack of activity or whatever) that triggers the Achilles pain. It is still MUCH better than when it originally hit back in July but how frustrating and terribly confusing this is to treat.

  5. Try to strengthen Your soleus muscle as much as You can,there are many
    excellent Dr.Gangemi advices on this great site,follow them!
    Achillies pain will pass away sooner or later,You can use “normal” shoes
    in the meantime with minimalistic,too ’till it heals.

    I am very curious about muscular imbalances iin thethe lower leg,I do hope that
    Dr.Gangemi will publish some nice video and article about it,I how to deal with it,I have the same issue in my right leg,there is something wrong,the way the leg hits the ground or something else,some imbalance,with a left leg I dont have any problems at all.
    It would be great to visit him,but for me isnt easyhe is on the
    other side of the globe.

  6. Thanks for the video. It really helped to explain a variety of conditions that can be prevented by running properly.