>Running 101>Achilles Tendinitis and advice needed
I hurt my Achilles Tendon (mainly left) two Sundays ago. Last week 10 miles with 5 tempo made it worse. Sunday I felt no pain and ran 7 miles but my left Achilles tendon hurt a little again. After a couple days rest and I didn't feel pain, last night I tried 2 miles slow. I could feel a tiny little pain during the run. This morning there is no pain.
Today's schedule is 11 miles. I am nervous about running the whole 11 miles. So I am planning to run 5 miles on treadmill and bike for 30 minutes.
Is it a wise plan? Do you have Achilles Tendinitis experience and how long did it take to fully recover and how did you deal with it?
5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08 (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - 6:10/mi for 4mi (08/14), FM - 3:03 (09/14)
since nobody else is helping ya out. The general advice is ice, rest, and some folks swear by rolling out the calves so they stay loose and don't put unnecessary tension on the tendon. I had a minor bout with it a year ago when I started running too much too soon. One night in my run my right achilles developed an intense pain about 10 minutes into my run. Luckily I was by a bus stop so I cut the run short and hopped a ride home. I rested, iced/sprayed it with cold water in the shower, rolled it, massaged it, etc. I was still bicycle commuting though and it wasn't giving me any grief on the bike as long as I didn't stand up and mash a hard gear up hill. I waited a week from running and tried a short run, it was a little tender at the end so I waited another week, then it started feelin ok and I started really gradually rebuilding the mileage.
Folks also like to do some calf strengthening stuff like reverse calf raises (drops really) to help mitigate the problem but don't start that while the tendon is still damaged or you risk making it worse. Good luck and be patient.
photos, race reports and whatnot
In June of last year, I was in peak marathon training for the San Francisco Marathon, which was at the end of July. About 5 weeks prior to the race, I noticed my left achilles tendon was more sore than normal, especially in the morning. Since I ramped up my mileage to 60 miles per week, which was my most ever at that time, I just figured it was normal soreness. I was also running more hills then normal to prepare for San Francisco. However, the stiffness/soreness was usually gone an hour after waking up. Then on a routine 10 miler, I notice some more serious discomfort, but no sharp pain. However, it got worse throughout the run, but was never bad enough to stop. Then, about an hour after my run, I could barely walk and it was very painful to put any pressure on it and to the touch. I started icing once a day, and a few days later I thought it would be best to see a physical therapist, especially if I wanted to keep my San Francisco hopes alive. The therapists advice was to strengthen my core and ice it. She gave me some exercises that kicked my butt, but honestly I never got in the groove of doing them regularly. She also massaged my entire leg to help breakup the scar tissue. Lastly, she notice my pelvis was twisted, which was adding more stress on the tendon. I guess this might explain why I only got it on one side. She straightened me out, and I went back 4 more times for a message in two weeks. In all, I had to take two weeks off from running, but I was able to bike and swim. I was able to quickly ramp up to run 13 miles two weeks before the marathon, with some discomfort, but it seemed to be getting better. I was able to complete the marathon with minimal discomfort. I would say it took about 8 weeks from initial injury to complete recovery.
I would stop all speedwork immediately. As for splitting your workouts up, I think that is a good plan. I would probably double whatever I replace with biking. For example, if I was going to run for 30 minutes, I would bike for an hour. Just be very cautious since you could be feeling OK one day and be in crutches the next with an achilles injury. Listen to your body. Looks like your target marathon is not until May so you should be thinking complete recovery first and foremost.
Marathon: 2:48:49 (Boston 2014) - Half: 1:22:11 (Berkeley 2013)
2x sub-24 100 mile finisher
Next: Big Sur Marathon - Blog: http://jbfinn.blogspot.com/
If you search the forums for achilles tendinitis, you will find several threads offering a ton of advice and people's own stories.
Thank you all three for the reply.
Last night I did 5 mile run and 30 minute bike. After the run, I could feel my left tendon a little sore. This morning I can still feel it, not terribly painful but it is just not quite there. I don't feel painful while walking. I can feel some sore when I rotate my foot.
I have done some message and eccentric calf raise but I haven't tried ice.
I found this thread is good regarding this issue. Any suggestions for getting over achilles tendinitis?
Letting off steam
The A.T. heals slowly because there's little blood supply there. Sometimes healing can be torn up by moving too quickly before it's warmed up. Before you start running, soak your ankle in hot water (hot tub if available, or bucket of water), wiggle it around, try to warm it before you start.
Definitely ice after running. I've found ice massage (with ice frozen into a cup) is more effective than ice packs - take your pick.
Agree with stopping speedwork until you've got rid of the problem.
Some people put a heel pad in the shoe on the injured side, to reduce the range of motion that the A.T. must go through on good articeach step. If you over-pronate, shoes with more motion-control (or a supportive insert) may help.
You should be able to do eccentric heel drops (stretching the A.T. only, no load).
Here's a good article on the subject, including how to do the heel drops: http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/achilles-tendonitis-and-insertional-achilles-tendinopathy-in-runners/
Simi Valley HS Hurdler
I'm going on 5 and a half months with achilles tendinitis now. My first reaction was run through whatever it was (This was during XC season). I eventually had to take off a whole month due to problems with my back and my achilles getting so bad that I could barely run (It started getting really bad when I did a lot of hill work). With that break it got a bit better but was still there, as it has been stated before that area has a low blood supply so it will heal very very slowly if you continue running on it. Now don't make my mistake of continuing to run on it without much of a taper because of it. I ice it and try to put as little exertion on it as I can when I'm not running. Now obviously I haven't gotten to the point where its gone away but there is very little pain in my achilles now for me. The pain has completely left the upper part of the achilles tendon and is now only residing in the heel bone where the achilles attaches (This is due to the achilles being swollen slightly and being compressed as it enters and exits the area). It is a slow process but really take the time to get better and not let it worsen. Pretty much everyone else here has said things that I have not mentioned (Calf raises to prevent it happening again when healed, etc). Hope this helped!
Prs: Freshman Sophomore (Goals)
110mHH: 15.97 15.71 (14.4)
300miH: 46.97 46.18 (42)
HJ: 5'2 5'4 (5'8)
5k XC: 20:26 19:46
Thank you both.
A friend (non-runner) asked how my marathon training is going. I told him that my Achilles is injured. His response scared m: "You might need a surgery."
I haven't done any running for a few days. I am going to try some easy run tomorrow.
Almost all my injuries have been associated with trigger points. I bet you have some tight soleus muscle with trigger point causing the referred pain in your achilles. Look up trigger point and Achilles and you might find a quick fix. What worked for me is to cross your leg with the Achilles issue over your opposite knee and find a very sore spot deep in your calves. Once you find that spot apply as much pressure as you can stand digging your leg into your knee. It will hurt like hell and you may feel pain shoot up your back. My muscle tend to freak out and twitch. Hold for 30 seconds and try to apply more pressure. Hopefully this will release the trigger point. you will be sore but you should find relief. you may need to do this several times. Good luck
I started developping AT issues towards the end of marathon training. I was expecting to DNF, but by some miracle, it all worked out fine. But I continue to have some issues. Here is what I have found:
- the eccentric calf drops did a lot of good initially, but I would agree that you should avoid doing them too aggressively, particularly if you are healing (once healed, maybe you can go at it a little harder) I found that when I did them on one leg, there was a danger of aggravating the problem; if you do on two legs, the load is less, and I found this to be better
- foam roller is hugely beneficial. I strated with the Stick, but definitely prefer the foam roller
- some of my worst pain has been following strides at the end of a general aerobic run
- I read from one or two people that you should never ice AT, so I avoided. I tried last night, and it worked well for me, but of course, one night is hardly scientific proof
- Similarly, I have heard that you should not massage AT
- Hills: well, when I ran my marathon, I felt somne discomfort over the first 6-7 miles, whcih were flat. All discomfort disppeared over the next three miles due to hills and descents, and didn't come back for the remaining 16. Probably the hills helped to stretch the tendons a little
- I am finding that the pain is not necessarily AT, but can also be smaller tendons around the ankle. I have some oain on the outside of my right ankle, and also under the heel, but the actual Achilles itself shows no tenderness or swelling
- Maybe a cliche, but general stretching, corework, and particularly working on glutes seems to help.
Also, many will tell you to completely stop running to heel. This may be sound advice, but I am not doing this for the moment. If I can reduce or even eliminate the discomfort by doing all the things above, I will continue running. If the discomfort remains at this level, I will go for some PT. If it increases, then I will probably rest. I do not recommend this ofr anybody, it's just what I am / will be doing
Personal bests (bold = this year): 5K - 23:27 / 5M - 38:42 / 10K - 49:31 (track) / 10M - 1:24:26 / HM - 1:51:17 / M - 3:58:58
Next races: NYC Marathon, Nov 2014
I have only been running 3 yrs with only a bit over 1,000 miles logged, but last Fall after ramping up my mileage too much too quick for my first Marathon, my achillies were so stiff and sore after my last long run (20 miler), I thought I was done. But my PT, the best in town, told me 10 days before the Marathon "We've got time, no problem". She shut down my running, performed three Graston technique sessions in those 10 days on both Achillies. My range of motion was far better than what I had been used to in many years after just the 1st session. I did complete my first Marathon, achillies were not an issue. Tops of my feet got sore and one hip killed me. What I liked about the Graston is there seems to be very little recovery time after the procedure, there was immediate relief for me. I've had several touch up sessions on achillies and calves with great results. Go Graston! Good Luck to you.
I haven't experienced Achilles tendonitis, but maybe my posterior tibial tendonitis has some parallels. Two things: 1) Be patient. A year since its peak, I'm feeling mostly free of it, but still aware. 2) This may be completely bogus, but mine only started getting better and staying better after I started taking daily multi-vitamins/minerals. Again, can't prove anything, but I'm going to keep taking them.
Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.
I've been battling an achilles issue of late as well. It's not serious but nonetheless seems destined to be a constant low-level nagging issue while I train for Boston.
So far, what has worked for me in dealing with it is to a) wear compression socks or sleeves or tights whenever I run, then afterwards b) stretch, c) ice and d) stick the calf muscles (I don't have a foam roller but probably should get myself one).
Since I started doing these things after every run, the condition actually seems to be improving.
The other thing I have noticed - and this may seem counterintuitive - is that higher heel drop shoes tend to aggravate the condition. You would think a minimal shoe would stretch the achilles more and cause irritation, but actually the heel crashing caused by more conventional shoes feels worse.
I've had Achilles tendinitis twice before and am currently experiencing my third, most severe bout.
Mine has manifested itself once (the first time) behind my ankle on the inside of my leg and twice at the heel/arch junction in my foot which I thought was PF but the doc said no.
The remedy has been 100% concentration on the calves, especially the inside parts like the soleus and areas running down the tibia. The first two times I had one bout of one hour of electrical acupuncture (not sure the exact name, but acupuncture that they hook up to electrodes that shock) and electric stimulation (same thing except with suction cup type things). 15 mins for each plus another couple of minutes of ultrasound. That sorted it right out and I ran the next day with no pain whatsoever.
On my own I just stretch and vigorously massage the insides of my calves. Best exercise seems to be to cross the afflicted leg over the other leg , grab my calf and dig both thumbs in as hard and deep as possible, then roll my foot 10x in each direction. Then move my thumbs down my calf and continue. Then all the regular foot and calf exercises you see on youtube.
That seems to work pretty well, but like I said I'm in my third bout of it now and that hasn't helped so much so I'm going in for acupuncture and stim today to hopefully get through it.
I didn't have to skip any runs before, though I've taken the last two days off. Hopefully won't have to miss any more runs after today, though.
Great replies. Thanks all.
Last night I ran 2 miles. Although I didn't feel pain, I could feel some heat down there. After stopping, I could feel a little pain. So I first time ice massaged it and also tried GoingPostal's suggestion to find the trigger point. I realized that the sore point is far up in the Calf. So I deep massaged it. I think it is helpful. This morning I don't get the usual pain like last week. I will continue to try those methods.