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Achilles Tendonitis

Treatment methods for this common injury.

by Ron

 

Uh Oh!!!  I am blaming Achilles' mother on one of the most common injuries that plague runners - including myself!  If caught early on, treatment can be applied while still running - albeit on a carefully monitored reduced program.  Nevertheless, achilles tendonitis is a SERIOUS injury.  Continuing your current running regime while experiencing achilles pain can have catastrophic results - complete tendon rupture which will set you back several years.  Always a good idea to go see your doctor first when first noticing any pain.  (Yet I still continue to learn this the hard way!!!)

SYMPTOMS

Pain along length of tendon, most commonly near the heel.

Inflammation, redness.

A 'bump' indicating scar tissue build up.

Burning or discomfort in the morning after getting out of bed.

 

CAUSE

Micro-tears or inflammation due to stress.

Not stretching well. 

Stretching a cold muscle - not warmed up enough.

Tight or fatigued calf muscle.

Speed-work, hill training, rapid increase in distance/duration - that 10% rule again!

Arch getting flatter with age - arch deterioration.

Shoes with bad support or flexion, bad heel cushion.

Bad running mechanics (overpronating feet)

Wearing high-heals often (tendon becomes shorter).

 

TREATMENT

Stop running immediately or reduce your running till you are painless - bike at a high cadence or swim instead.

Take ibuprofen for a week.

Ice for ten minutes several times per day.

When it does not hurt to walk, do these exercises:

1)  Place you foot up against a wall, keep your knee straight and gently 'lean' into the wall.  Only go till it feels tight, no further.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat 2-3 times per day.  If this is painful, continue ice and rest or go see a doctor.

2)  Heel raises:  Try to stand on your toes.  Repeat 10 times.  When this is comfortable and pain-less, repeat but on stairs with your heels over the edge for an extended range of motion.  Try to build up to 20 times.  Do these twice per day.

3)  Toe raises:  Same as heel raises but raise the front of your feet off of the floor.

 - the goal of the above exercises are not to produce pain.  If still feeling pain, stop the exercises and go see a doctor/podiatrist.

 

POST PAIN

When the above exercises do not hurt, it is now ok to start running again.

Warm up with jumping jacks or a light jog before stretching.  Muscles need to be warm to get an effective stretch or they will pull/tear and injure.

Start off with a run/walk routine and slowly build up duration - do not exceed the 10%/week rule.

Avoid excessive hill and speed work.

Full recovery from pain is 6-8weeks.

 

Happy trails.

 

*I am not a professional in sports, sports medicine or the treatment of injuries.  Always seek the consultation of a professional before beginning any training program or injury treatment.


This summary written from the following sources:

http://www.time-to-run.com/injuries/thebig5/achilles.htm

http://www.podiatrychannel.com/achillestendinitis/

http://www.hhp.ufl.edu/keepingfit/ARTICLE/ACHILLES.HTM

http://www.coachr.org/achilles.htm

http://www.pamf.org/news/2001/0601_achilles.html

http://www.emedicine.com/pmr/topic219.htm

 

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