Achilles Tendonitis -how much longer?

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01/02/2003 at 15:28
I have been off running with this injury since completing the Dublin Marathon in October.I have had some physio,accupuncture and ultrasound.I have iced it,applied heat and done the advised stretches but am still not recovered.Can any former sufferers advise me how long it takes and what rehabilitation they took.I'm getting desparate.
01/02/2003 at 16:00
Hi Peter,

I sympathise. I've had it since last July. I went to a physio and had an excrutiatingly painful "treatment" meant to free my tendons of adhesions euphemistically known as a "friction massage", was fitted for and bought expensive orthotics, had a session of accupuncture (just one - maybe he was joking?) and a session of ultrasound. Although there was intermittent improvement, the reality is that I still have it, and I now also have worsening symptoms of sciatic irritation in my left leg.

I'm now with a new physio, closer to home and recommended by members of my club. He's a "back to basics" sort of bloke and believes that plain old mobilisation of the spine, in the form of regular stretching, is often the answer to these problems. He doesn't believe in the widespread use of orthotics. I don't know whether he's right or wrong, or whether there actually is a "right" and a "wrong" in relation to this sort of problem, but it seems to be worth a try.

Maybe it's worth you seeking out a new physio with a different approach? See if you can get recommendations from people locally.

Good luck - I know how frustrating it is! :)
01/02/2003 at 16:04
p.s. I forgot to say that some people consider sustained rest to be the only way out of this problem. They may be right :-(
01/02/2003 at 17:56
I can really sympathise with Richard. I've also got AT and I am beginning to suspect that Wee Piglet is right, and there really is no miracle cure, only time and patience.

I'm a beginner who developed AT in November after over-doing things. I've rested since Christmas but still no improvement. I saw a Podiatrist about two weeks ago, and was given all the usual advice about rest, gentle massage, stretching (especially letting the heels hang over a stair) and so on. Two weeks later, nothing seems to have changed.

I've been looking around on the Internet and I've found several people suggesting that stretching and massage may actually make matters worse. It does seem to be time and rest which does the trick in the end. I'm left wondering whether there is any point in going to a physio, or whether I should just save my money and try to be patient.
01/02/2003 at 18:23
Can I ask how bad a problem is this for people?

I have had some discomfort from my right achilles since about September last year. It is nothing much and doesn't stop me doing anything.

My long runs at the moment are about 1.5 hours long and the TA is minimally worse after that, but it is back to the usual level within minutes of stopping.

I have a sneaking desire to run a marathon so really want to up my mileage, but I am worried about making my TA worse.

At the moment I am not really doing anything (other than worry!)because nothing has changed for a few months and it doesn't limit me - I am just aware that it is there.

It would be really helpful to know how it affects others, if they don't mind saying.

01/02/2003 at 19:24
Hello Simon,

Mine is not normally more than mildly painful while I run. It's actually most painful when I get out of bed, or get up after sitting down for a while, in both of which cases I have to walk on tip toe (tip trotter, of course) for a minute or so until the tendon stretches. However,I think the problem with not getting it sorted out is that AT can easily become chronic, and worse in the longterm.

Also, if my new physio is right, it's likely to be simply a symptom of an underlying lack of mobility in the spine, which can develop into other problems later on (as is now happening to me: I now have sciatic irritation, and that's painful).
01/02/2003 at 19:30
this is very bad news for a runner, i had it myself a couple of years back. it was a
slow recovery for me (about 10months)
i found a good physio, & the 'frictioning'
treatment really did help (uncomfortable as it was at first) also the ultrasound.
i got back running with the most supportive shoes i could find. (new bablence 804s) an
orthosis on both heels & i only ran on soft
grassy surfaces for quite a while. it was a
long gradual recovery. glucosamine, i believe helped to build the tendons back up.
but 'easy does it' is the only way to recover. anything u ever knew about PBs for
a year at least.
u have my sympathies. but cheer up, november
i slipped a disc, & by comparison tendonitis
seems kinda CUDDLY.
no, all the best with it.
01/02/2003 at 19:32
that should read FORGET anything u ever knew
about PBs for a year.
01/02/2003 at 19:44
Hello Green,

You're the only other person I've come across (albeit in cyberspace!) who's had the friction massage, even though the physio told me that it's a common treatment. People at my club looked at me blankly when I mentioned it.

It's very interesting, and encouraging, to hear that it was helpful for you. Was yours really excrutiating, though? The pain when I had mine was just unbelievable! The physio told me (with a certain degree of relish, I thought afterwards) that he'd had roughty toughty rugby playing blokes passing out with it in the past! I'm wondering whether it really needs to feel like that. How was yours?

Many thanks for any further info you can give me :)
01/02/2003 at 19:48
I began with only mild symptoms,but foolishly carried on running and building up the mileage for my first ever marathon.I know now I should have stopped at the first sign of trouble.The thing with this condition is that you can run with it at first but believe me it only gets worse.
01/02/2003 at 23:04
Thanks for the comments
01/02/2003 at 23:24
piglet, yes it really did work, & yes the tendonitis WAS very painful, (although i HAVE revised my pain richter scale since the slipped disc, now THAT was off the graph.)
but the frictioning DID work, & it also helped subsequently as something i would do for myself on the road back into running.
as he explained it to me, the tendon is made of fibres that passes thru a protective sheath. he said the frictioning
(just basically stretching the the tendon
side to side within the sheath) helped to free the fibres up, as when injured they
developed fibres that bound them together & stopped them moving freely. & i DID find that i could visualise this freeing up as i did the frictioning & it really did seem to help.

hope this helps u & anyone suffering with this.

this is KROCKs corner isnt it?
02/02/2003 at 21:01
I've got AT at the moment. It's one of the most frustrating injuries I've had. It affected my left tendon a couple of years ago and I've no the misfortune to have it on the right. It does respond to treatment; ie massage, stretching, icing and Ibuprofen. As long as you're not sensitive to Ibuprofen you need to take double the max. dose on the packets (ie 3 lots of 800mg after each meal). It takes about 3 months to sort.
02/02/2003 at 21:38
A running injury book I read said running shoes are getting higher & higher at the back & linked achilles tendonitis to this. It advised always cutting the backs off new trainers. Slit the back off my old ones which did help. Couldn't bring myself to mutilate my good ones
03/02/2003 at 09:05
I've been trawling through the Forum looking at all the old threads on AT, and came across an intriguing response from one Shoeless LizzieB - the only person who really seems to have licked AT (admittedly a mild case) quickly and easily. I was not all that surprised to see that she used a completely unorthodox treatment of her own devising - physios, podiatrists etc are really not very good at curing AT, let's be honest.

This is what she says :

"This is going to sound v. weird but it worked for me....

I used to have bad achilles pain in the morning when I got up - could hardly walk downstairs - but pain would ease after a while and although it would hurt when I ran, I didn't rest (sport the numpty).

I figured that my achilles was mending itself at night (while my feet were pointing downwards as I slept) ... or perhaps scar tissue was forming? Anyway, I was undoing what had been done overnight as soon as I stood up.

SO.... (this is the weird bit) I made a couple of splints for my ankles - using a cut down cereal box and some sellotape - and would put them on at night so that my achilles would stay extended all night (toes pointing upwards).

Did it for about a week. It worked. Never had any more trouble.

But for serious achilles pain, I'd combine this with lots of icing, rest, massage etc."

Sounds like it's worth a try?
03/02/2003 at 10:58
Just adding myself to the list of sufferers (at least I will be notified of replies). Haven't seen LizzyB on the forums for a while or we could ask her for an update. Lovely lady (mad as hatter mind you).
16/02/2003 at 18:55
Blott's Mate - You have
"hit the nail on the head" with the bit about the heal tabs being higher. I am currently recovering from AT due to a change of brand. I have run in Nike trainers for about 5 years and always got on with them. In Jan, after hearing about getting into the FLM with my running club, I seaked advice for trainers to over the long runs. I was recommended Asics Gel Nimbus. After 25 miles in them, the AT struck. Looking carefully at the Asics and the Nike, I could tell that the heal tab was slightly higher and more tendon "hugging" (or rather pinching) in the Asics. Needless to say I have reverted back to Nike, rested for 2 weeks (no running), iced, ibupofen and physio, I think I am on the mend. Hopefully, I will be ready to train for the Silverstone half in 2 weeks!!!!!! Hopefully, the achilles will hold out!!!!!
16/02/2003 at 18:59
Crazy lady - tried your idea of keeping the toes pointing up (without the Blue Peter idea of sticky back plastic) and I must say it does work. The cells repair themselves at night, so the idea of keeping the achilles stretched is very logical. Fortunately, I sleep on my back at night, so I am always aware of how my feet lie at night.
17/02/2003 at 08:24
I've been suffering from this also over the past few weeks and rest seems to have helped, after no running for over a week i have gradually started running every second day starting of at a short 15 minute run and increasing the time gradually. I did 45 mins yesterday and seem to be ok so far. It started off as a wee niggle that i had been noticing for ages but not really sore and interestingly it has perhaps been niggling since last year when i got a pair of new shoes, Asics, i wonder if there is something in the make of shoe as a few others have suggested. Before that i had a pair of sauchony with sorbitane insoles which are pretty thick (the insoles)and raised my heel a bit higher out of the shoe so less pinching round the heel, wonder if that has made a difference as i don't have sorbitane insoles in the Asics?
17/02/2003 at 10:22
Stretching big time helped mine to settle down.(then got calf injury but that was a new injury!)
Stretch calf muscles regularly and for long enough- each time
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