If you have pain in your lower heel, then you might have a heel spur or some other such injury. On the other hand, if the pain starts about four inches up your leg, you have an achilles injury. Achilles injuries are triggered by a rapid increase in how much exercise you do. If you don't give your achilles time to strengthen, then it can get inflamed, the inflammation can trigger increased wear, and your achilles can even start to break down. As is the case with any injury, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Understanding What Causes Damage to Your Achilles
A few inches above where your achilles inserts into your heel is a location known as the watershed. This is a place that does not get a lot of blood flow, and this in turn can make this area prone to wear. If you are going to begin a new exercise routine for your legs, then you need to take time to do some calf exercises to strengthen your achilles.
Strengthening Your Achilles
One easy exercise is stand on the edge of a stair and let your feet bend down as far as they will go, you then stand up on your toes. This is a modified calf raise in that if you do your calf raises on flat ground, then you will not get the full range of movement that you will get from doing the calf raises on a stair. Increasing the range of movement will decrease the risk of injury due to overextending your achilles later on.
Dealing with Minor Injuries
If you begin to feel pain in your achilles, then you should stop whatever exercise is causing the heel pain. Ice the tendon for twenty minutes at a time for two days to numb the pain and to reduce the inflammation. Once you have given time for the inflammation to subside, you can promote healing. Because of the decreased blood flow at the watershed of the achilles, the achilles will not heal easily on its own. To promote blood flow, you need to use a heating pad. Don't set your leg on the heating pad, but instead drape it over your achilles. Heat your achilles for at least twenty minutes and don't follow it with ice because the ice will decrease blood flow and cancel out the benefit you get from applying heat. Apply heat off and on for another couple of days before you start easing back into your exercise routine.
These couple of steps should keep your achilles healthy, but if you are plague by injuries, then you should consider going to a podiatrist to get more specialized help.