Achilles

Scoobs has lost count of how many lay offs this one will be!

19 messages
25/07/2007 at 11:17
Ok, I have on going achilles probs. Left achilles for 2 years now. Right one on and off. A rough overview.

2005/2006 I stopped running which ended up being for 3 months, saw the fizz, saw the pod, got the orthotics, did the walt exercises off the stairs things religiously and came back slowly doing a run/walk.

Sure enough the achilles prob came back. Stop again, (I've stopped so many times now i simply have lost count). Did the massage cross ways that I learnt from the fizz, had massage to losen off any tightness, changed shoes.

Started up again, soft surfaces and off road. Back it comes again. More fizz.

Stairs are my friends now, every morning and every evening off them, up and down heal raises and lowers says another fizz. So off I go doing that and wear an insert into my shoe along with the orhtotics.

Started up again and back it comes. And that's how its been. I've tried just about everything I can think of.

Ok thats a very rough guide to get an idea as to the pattern of the last 2 years.

Update
I'm now lost as to what to do. I have got complacent and I have got despondent. And I;ve tried so many things I'm not sure what to do next!

What if anything sorted your achilles out? Has anyone actually managed to shift it forever rather than off and on? If so how?

Should I go back to the stairs and start up the heel lowers and raises again? I'm not going back to the fizz as I know what it is and I know how to massage it. But I could get sports massage on it to go deeper I guess.

Has anyone cut the tabs off their shoes? Did this help?

What sort of pain did you have as this seems to vary? I have degeneration of the tendon. It is forming scar tissue overnight in an attempt to heel and then I have to hobble in the morning as it breaks up.

The pain I get is that I have to hobble in the morning, can't do the stairs one at a time but more like a crab. Then during the day it free's up but it does ache when I walk on it. I can't roll my foot through until later in the day. If I run on it, it is ok to start with, especialy if I run in the evening. But within half an hour it is back and then it just gots more and more painful until every foot strike is very sore and the tendon feels like its on fire.

I'm curious about people that have managed to lick this thing once and for all. I ''think'' after all this time I'm going to give up, but I'm simply not prepared to. I have gone through a phase of being fed up with it and chucking in all attempts at sorting it out. This has allowed me to recharge and now i want to have yet another go at trying to get rid of it.

So tell me how you sorted yours?
25/07/2007 at 11:38
Massaging and stretching are just about keeping mine at bay.


Have you tried night-splints? They keep your ankle at right angles while you sleep, so the calf muscles don't shorten overnight. I find that if I sleep on my stomach, I point my toes (I'm a short-@rse, so my feet don't reach the end of the bed).

Might be worth a go.....
25/07/2007 at 12:01
thanks Nessie

Where did you get one of these? I have thought about this in the past but not sure where to get one from!
25/07/2007 at 12:31
(((Scoobs))) No advice, just sorry to hear you're still having problems.
25/07/2007 at 12:36

I cut the tabs of my shoes - well I made two 30mm vertical cuts, 1 inch apart.

I knew that downhill was bad for my achilles so reasoned it was due to the impact of tab on ankle.

Didn't work.

I have since thought that it's actually the impact of heel on floor when i go downhill - perhaps I don't run downhill very well.


Someone lent me a magazine the other day. It wasn't RW, it was 'Running Fitness' or something (I'd never heard of it before).

There's a big article about achilles problems in there and they say to avoid running UP hill. I was surprised by that given the above. Perhaps it's because running UP hill tends to result in the need to run down again.
Do2    pirate
25/07/2007 at 12:47
Hi Scoobs - as you know, I've not suffered with achilles probs for as long as you, and neither would I be so bold as to say I'm completely cure.

However I would say that from reading your pots you seem to be pretty good at recovering from the acute episodes , so what I would be focusing on is what are the underlying causes of the recurrence.

You mention you wear inserts and orthotics, I've been told that heel inserts are useful duing recuperation, but long term can actually contribute to recurrance due to shortening the calf muscle.

Active calf work (such as the stair exercises) are supposedly useful, but I've also been told that static work can help (eg stand on one leg, knee slightly bent, using light weights to do upper body exercises) - This encourages strengthening of the knee and ankles in different plains as the cente of gravity is constantly shifting.

I guess thats my final point too - are the stretches etc that you are doing all focussed on one plain of movement? If so then the moment you get a shift on the plain of your repetetive stress then you are likely to get another injury. My sports therapist has me stretching on a sloping board with the ankle turned at 3 different angles. He also has me mobilising the joint through rotation and noting any point at which the achilles feels stiffer or sore, then either doing self massage and ice on that spot - or going back for tretment on it.
Do2    pirate
25/07/2007 at 12:50
Oh, another couple of points...

I'm wearing "clog like" shoes as much as possible - no pressure on the back of my heel, and I've taken a pair of scissors to the elasticated tops of some of my socks - less contstrictive on the blood supply to the achilles.
25/07/2007 at 12:50

To add to that, the underlying cause might be nothing to do with your ankles or calves e.g. a muscle imbalance around the pelvis.

Ankle stretches wont cure the problem in this case. (Something else I picked up from Running Fitness')

25/07/2007 at 13:55
Sorry to hear about your problems, Scoobs.

I am no expert but I have read more than once that one should not stretch if it's an inflammation.

Most of fizzios will tell you to dos so but, if you have an inflammation on your Achilles and stretch them, the injury will get worse.

good luck

PS: my GP used to give me a perscription anti inflammatory that helped. Defanac. Have you tried it?
25/07/2007 at 16:56
Hi all

Back from work.

Ta Cas

Jon - I def think up hill makes it worse. Prob is I live in Devon and it is made up of hills! It's impossible to find a completely flat route other than the cycle track which is flat but does have a slight incline on the way up it. So tricky one really. I also run on the tready when it is bad as then I can keep it flat. Prob is then if I race round here I flake on the hills!

Do2 - I have not been doing the stair exercises as got all despondent about it all! I wish I could find the underlying cause as yes I agree that is the key. I see what you mean about the movement issue. I wonder if I'm twisting the achilles and tugging at it that way. But I thought that the orthotics would help that, maybe not. I'm good at not posting a sore achilles as it has become a bit boring! :0) Sometimes though it does ease off and then go away - almost. I just cannot fathom out what I am doing differently for it to ease off - its weird!

Spud - no I haven't tried that. Hmm. The last doc I saw was also sports therapist and a runner and he said that my tendon is degenerated which won't respond to anti inflams. He said that these could actually hinder the repair. But it is thickened at the mo which to me says its inflamed, its all so confusing!

Not sure what to do at the mo. I'll def invest in the splints for night time if I can find some. I'll start up with the exercises again as have got lax with these.

Right thanks again, I must go as teenage scoobs is starving and threatening to chew my leg off if I don't get her dinner!

25/07/2007 at 17:14
I haven't used night splints (yet) Scoobs, but I've heard of them - that's why I suggested them. Googling "Plantar Fascia Night splints" (they're used for PF too) and you should find some.

Or just shuffle down the bed and hook your feet over the bottom of the mattress. :o)


I forgot another thing I was recommended was to actually rub the lumpy bits (scar tissue) on the tendon between finger and thumb - sort of breaking down the scar directly. Not sure how this would work with yours if it's "degenerated", and it is very ouch-y at first, but it's helped me too.
25/07/2007 at 17:16
Sorry - me again.

I massage and stretch my calves rather than my ankles, as I think that's where my problem lies, and I found that putting too much pressure on the ankles trying to stretch them didn't help or made it worse.
27/07/2007 at 10:04
Shucks, I thought I'd had a bad time with my achilles. Well I did actually ! My symptoms weren't the same as yours but after several bouts over the years the one that started early 2004 eventually had me off the road. I had all the good stuff - (BUPA Sports Injury place - company scheme paid ), physio, acupuncture, MRI, orthotics, exercises - oh those stairs, injections. NOTHING worked. This went on for nearly a year and no running. Then one day just pushing off to get on a train it tore. Bad news. Very painful. Not a complete rupture but pretty bad.
Well that in the end was good news of course as another scan showed the damage clearly - the first one hadn't identified anything - and an operation was required to repair it. Then boot for 10 weeks, then lots of rehab walking, cycling, running more and more etc. Now it's as good as I could have ever dreamt it would get. Maybe only 95% as good as the other one but good enough for me. And no particular stiffness there - just in the rest of me !!!
So how does this help you - probably not at all. The chances are that I had a micro-tear in the achilles that went un-seen in the first scan. It could be that the injections then made that more likely to tear. And I'm sure I had scar tissue problem - that achilles was always thicker. An MRI would cost a bit without company health care and a follow-up op to scrape/whatever too. Just a thought. Probably totally off track. GOOD LUCK
sluggie    pirate
28/07/2007 at 08:05
Hi Scoobs, I feel for you - have had a similar saga myself going back about 7 years on and off. Now the achilles is much better but I've a new injury in the same ankle....not much to offer as I haven't cured the achilles problem completely myself, but what I've learned is:
1. The stair exercises make it worse in my case
2. Anti-inflamms don't have much effect
3. It does go away eventually with rest but the tendon is left thickened with scar tissue even when it is completely painless.
4. And this is the interesting one - the pain can often be relieved in my case by massaging trigger points much higher up in the calf. Dry needling by a physio the same points also helps (there is a thread on this). I don't subscribe to the view among some physios that most achilles pain is due to trigger points, but it has helped me a bit and you can do it yourself.This extract shows how (scroll down to below the bit on pf).http://www.triggerpointbook.com/plantarf.htm
28/07/2007 at 12:27
Gosh thanks Sluggie

I have not heard of this! No-one has ever suggested trigger points to me, not one fizz and I have seen 3 different ones! Plus not the sports injury specialist that I also saw, nor the pod, nor the sports massage peep, nor the doc!

I have just done it and boy did it hurt! 12 all done. Will give it a go. Ta again!
sluggie    pirate
28/07/2007 at 14:12
Good luck Scoobs let us know how it goes
28/07/2007 at 15:29
OUCH!!!

I tried it. Does it feel like a weak lelctric shock? Is it at the botom of the calves, where the Achilles start?
28/07/2007 at 15:30
oooops, electric

Thank you Sluggie.

Are you feeling any better Scoobs?
28/07/2007 at 20:37
Hi Spuds!

Yes actually the achilles is feeling lots better just from resting it, which is good as often it just stays siezed!! Thats what is so frustrating about it, I cannot fathom out what works!

Anyway I can get down the stairs without two feet on each stair now, so BIG improvement. :0)) And it is not so stuck in the morning either. Just a tad sore now, so I ''may'' try a gentle run tomorrow and see if it copes ok. Prob is I'm my own worst enemy as once I'm out I find it impossible to stop. I did cut my run short on Tuesday though, but generally I do find this very hard to do and am good at ingoring the pain, turning up my MP3 and ''tuning'' out! Not good for the achilles, but tis the way I am!

So yes lots better and going to continue with massage, stair work and also do the trigger thing too as - well - I could kind of feel the connection too the achilles when I did it.

Could you when you did it?

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