So I gave in and went to the podiatrist and I am so happy I did. The funny thing is that since this past Saturday, I've had NO PAIN but I wanted to keep to my appointment and figure out what could possibly be causing the pain at my ankles when I run, jump, and dance. I did have some slight discomfort yesterday at kickboxing and I knew it could get worse if I continued to leave this untreated. Apparently, what I have is common. VERY COMMON amongst people with flat feet -
especially those who are on their feet often. I have an inflamed tendon at the heel - very early stages of Achilles tendonitis.
According to howstuffworks.com:
"Achilles tendonitis is an injury often associated with dancers, runners, and high-impact aerobic devotees -- all people who place repeated and great stress on the Achilles tendon, pulling it taut every time they land flat and hard on their feet."
Dancer - Check, Runner - Check, High-impact aerobic devotee - CHECK . . . This was bound to happen to me! But don't let it happen to you.
For anyone with flat feet and/or fall under any of these categories, follow these precautions to avoid injury:
1. Ice after your workouts. I say this all the time and read it everywhere but I don't necessarily always follow my own advice. The doc said I should ice the tendon after repeat use to help reduce inflammation.
2. Rest. Since its difficult for active people to rest. I asked the doc what that really meant. Like really, I can't just sit at home everyday after a workout . . . they are MY FEET. I sort of need them to walk and stuff. He advised that I should avoid overuse. Meaning, if I went to an hour kickboxing class, I should refrain from attending my friend's Zumba class and then going home and popping in "Just Dance" or practicing choreography. I probably shouldn't even have long walks with a friend after any of this type of activity. Don't judge me. Somedays, I will Zumba three hours straight with friends. We call it practice. My doc calls it torture to my tendons.
Which bring me to:
3. Alternate your workouts. If you participate in a step aerobics class on Monday, avoid the cardio-dance floor or even running on Tuesday. Participate in weight lifting or calisthenics instead.
4. Stretch your feet. Get a resistance band and pull your feet towards you. Work on moving your feet around in different angles. He said stretching helps in lengthening the tendon so it isn't working so hard.
5. Wear shoe inserts. I know they are so NOT COOL. When I was a kid, I felt like the biggest fool when my mom had me wear these wooden inserts to help my flat feet. They never created an arch and they made me feel "different" so I opted out of them. Now, I am told to wear orthotics in my shoes everyday. They will help lessen the impact on your feet. At least they aren't made of wood.
6. Wear shoes with some type of heel. Here I am loving that there are so many awesome flat shoes out this season and now the doc recommends heels! I hate heels! But, even a slight heel helps and sneakers with more cushion towards the heel will help as well.
Here's some further reading on the subject: Everyday Foot Problems