The pain presented itself in the form of a constant, dull ache in my right heel. I initially thought I was suffering from heel spurs from plantar fasciitis.
When I visited my podiatrist, Dr. Richard Graves at Sol Foot & Ankle Centers, he diagnosed me with Achilles tendon bursitis (retrocalcaneal bursitis).
The bursa acts as a cushion and lubricant between tendons or muscles sliding over bone. There are bursas around most large joints in the body, including the ankle.
Dr. Graves gave me heel lifts to use with my orthotics. He advised against footwear that aggravated the condition by further irritating my heel. He also encouraged me to continue 'babying' my heel - I explained how I had to cushion my heel during yoga to avoid pain.
After getting the diagnosis, I visited Dr. Sebastian Gonzales from The Performance Place for some Active Release Techniques (ART) therapy sessions to help loosen up my tight calves.
Dr. Gonzales recommended I start doing eccentric heel exercises to increase collagen and strengthen my Achilles. Eccentric training is the lowering phase of an exercise.
Here's video of Dr. Gonzales demonstrating Eccentric Heel Lifts:
I perform Dr. Gonzales' eccentric heel lifts on my yoga blocks.
I roll daily on a softball to loosen the knots in my legs. At the moment, I prefer the firmness of the softball over the more forgiving foam roller. The smaller surface area also increases the amount of pressure applied on a given muscle.
I hesitate to use the ProStrech prior to a workout simply because of how deep the stretch can get.
I use the Stretch Out Strap to stretch my hamstrings and my adductors (inner thighs).
When I travel, I always bring my trusty softball, the Stretch Out Strap, and The Little Stick.
I also try to stretch whenever possible. For example, I frequently stretch at the gas station while I'm waiting for my car to fill up.
Whenever my heel is feeling sore or I have a long run, I will use kinesiology tape on my heel. After long runs or anytime my foot hurts, I ice my heel.
I'll be honest, I hated the splint at first. It was annoying and uncomfortable. I would kick it off in my sleep and every morning I'd find it lying on the other side of my bedroom.
As much as the dorsiflexion night splint irritated me, I quickly realized how much better my Achilles felt in the morning when I actually kept it on through the night.
Dr. Graves and Dr. Gonzales helped me through my posterior tibial tendonitis diagnosis so I am confident that with time, the Achilles bursitis issues will subside.