How to Take on a Turkey Trot Without Achilles Tendinitis Pain

by | Nov 6, 2018

Why do we turkey trot? Perhaps it’s satisfying to have one big hurrah to bring in the big holiday season. Perhaps we try to sweat out the guilt of the feast we know we’re about to overindulge in. Or maybe we just like running in silly turkey outfits?

Whatever your reason for wanting to run on Thanksgiving morning, we approve! And there are plenty of opportunities to join the fun in the Salt Lake City region. We don’t want you to hobble before you gobble, though, so if Achilles tendinitis or heel pain has been bothering you, we have tips for treating that discomfort before your event.

But first, have a few servings of area Thanksgiving Day races you could participate in!

Thanksgiving Runs Around Salt Lake City

You could take on the Thankful 13, which holds a half marathon, 5K, and kid’s race along the gorgeous Jordan River Parkway Trail in Lehi. Experience beautiful views of the nearby river, ponds, and local wildlife (which hopefully won’t make you hungry).

The Thankful 13 benefits the Now I Can Foundation, which helps provide kids with disabilities the opportunities they need to fulfill their dreams.

If you enjoy a bit of formal(ish) dress up, the Pilgrim 5K at Thanksgiving Point might be your event. Each registration comes with a long-sleeved cotton tee made to look like a Pilgrim jacket or dress, as well as a bonnet or giant buckle hat. (The event organizers admit that the buckle hat is historically inaccurate, but no less iconic). Apple cider and pumpkin bars await pilgrims at the end of this voyage.

If you prefer your headwear a little more unconventional, then the 10th Annual Turkey Leg 5K & Kids 1K could be your destination. This run takes off at Heritage Park in Farmington, and beanies are their signature hat.

The Turkey Leg readily accepts donations of canned food for the local food bank, so fill up a bag before you go!

Lending itself slightly to the shame of Thanksgiving gluttony, Earn Your Turkey begins at the Orem Fitness Center. You can participate in the 4-mile run (a little less than 6.5K), or take the 2-mile health walk instead. Kids also have their own small, untimed race.

While you can “earn your turkey” in the calorie-burning sense, this race means it in a much more literal sense! Top finishers in the 4-mile and kids races receive actual turkeys. If you’re not the fastest, you can also get a turkey by being the most determined. Pick one of the turkeys left randomly along the course and carry it with you to the finish line!

Treating Achilles Tendinitis Before You Run

While turkey trots and other Thanksgiving running events tend to be more for fun than glory, nothing is fun if an inflamed Achilles tendon is giving you trouble.

We’ll say this now: if you have Achilles tendinitis on the day of your run, you should opt for a walk instead, or not participate. Running with Achilles pain is not only miserable, it can delay your recovery time or result in even more severe problems.

If your event is still several weeks off, there are ways you can help yourself heal and prepare in time for your run.

First thing’s first, though: if you are experiencing acute heel pain after running, give us a call. The best way to route a path to recovery is knowing exactly what’s going on and getting the best treatment and advice for your individual needs.

That said, there are still some great general tips for helping your Achilles recover:

  • Rest up. We know many of you who are committed to routines do not want to hear this, but the frequency and intensity of your running will need to dial down for a bit to allow your body time to heal. Depending on how severe the condition is, you might need to temporarily stop altogether. Follow our best recommendations for you and stay away from anything that is going to put excess stress on your tendon and calf muscles.
  • Soften up. In addition to intensity reduction, also consider a change in the ground you train on. Flat and soft is going to reduce stress on your heel and calves. Opt for grass or soft trails if you can.
  • Ice it. Icing is a classic yet effective method for reducing pain and inflammation. Use ice on the areas causing you pain, but avoid using it more than 20 minutes at a time. You also do not want the ice or cold pack to be directly applied to the skin, as that might cause damage to the skin. Wrap it in a thin towel instead.
  • Consider an orthotic or change of shoes. In some cases, a patient’s gait can be contributing extra pressure or abnormal force to certain areas of the foot and ankle. This increases the chances of developing problems such as Achilles tendinitis, as well as increasing the time it takes to recover from them. Custom-made orthotics or recommended shoe types can help realign the feet in such a way to reduce this stress and ultimately increase comfort.
  • Warm up. Placing focus on warming up your Achilles tendon and attached calf muscle is essential if you plan to keep moving, but stretching in general can also help a more sedentary form of recovery. Calf stretches and foam roller work can be effective additions to a warm-up routine.

The way you approach your Achilles tendon recovery can mean the difference between a Thanksgiving of family fun and a Thanksgiving spent with your leg up on the couch while everyone’s getting the fixin’s ready.

Anderson Foot and Ankle is here to help you heal in the fastest and safest ways possible, so you can get back to doing what you love while reducing the risks of getting hurt again! Our Salt Lake City office is happy to hear from you. Just give us a call at (801) 269-9939 to schedule an appointment.

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