I got achilles tendinitis some time ago. I got it suddenly after I ran two trips on the same day. (Pretty stupid). I remember I came back from my second trip and thought that my shoe fit too tight. Three weeks later it hurt so much I couldn’t run pain free. Then I googled it and found this video. Notice when he says near the end, “If you have pain right there on the top of the heel, it’s probably a compression thing”? Thank you, Youtube doctor! That was the problem exactly! My shoes had padded heels and a high, stiff heel-cap. I gave my tendon some massage and I did the toe-lifts in the morning, rested, and that has helped a lot! (There is a good article on this in the Sports Injury Bulletin.) After I ditched the old shoes I have been getting better fast, even though I ran a half marathon in the meantime. (Not very smart, but worked out OK.)
Now it’s time to get well for good, so I’m going to go for some swimming in the near future. If I get bored I try to think of the hundreds of endless, carefree runs I can do in the future.
It has got me thinking, though: When I started out i believed it was probably better to practice in padded shoes before going all the way “barefoot style”, but actually now I think the best way would have been to start with no shoes, or minimal shoes, and then stop when the calves or soles said no. (Walking home is better than heelstriking home.) After running in flats a bit I’ve become skeptical of the concept “transitional shoe”. You either land on the forefoot or you don’t. If you do, the padded heel is just in the way. Padded heels also often come with a stiff, supportive heel-cap. If you run forefoot, this is unnecessary and, in my case, harmful.
Go cold turkey!