Many people have started threads on achilles tendinitis so I thought this link might help. It's a scientific study on the effects of heavy eccentric loading on the calf muscle in patients injured with achilles tendinitis/tendinopathy.
Effectively it proves the benefit of such exercises when carried out over a 4 month period. Take a look if you're affected as the exercises are illustrated. What this says certainly matches my experience - I'm not completely rehabilitated after just a month of doing such exercises but progress is tangible.
Not sure if this is relevant to anybody else, but I thought I had tweaked my tendon after a run about 8 weeks ago. It was sore and the pain went along my calf, ankle, heel and sole of foot. I rested for 6 weeks and still tender but mainly now in my heel so eventually went to see a specialist sports physio (luckily a neighbour who is also the physio for Blackpool FC) - she diagnosed that it is not the tendon after all but a muscle problem in the heel and foot which is pulling on the tendon area and hence my incorrect Self-diagnosis.
I still do all the step stretches anyway but she recomended rolling my sore heel around on a golf ball quite firmly as this helps to "release" the tightness in the muscle. Also deep muscle massage removes tension from the back which is were many problems start, through buttocks, hamstrings, calfs and down to the feet where the problems eventually show themselves.
What I am trying to say is that it is worth seeing a physio to make sure the problem is actually with your tendon, I was sure that was my problem but was wrong. I am now getting back into the running by loosening off the foot muscles and am about to try some silicon inserts which i have just ordered. The physio reckons the running should be ok to build up again as long as the muscles get warmed up, and also to use an ice bath for 20 mins at the end of the run - a sthe foot muscle cools it contracts and tightens pulling on the achilles area which is what made me think that was the problem..
As mentioned earlier there are plenty of posts from sufferers of AD but few from people who have beaten it.
I haven't beaten it but am currently 'managing' it. I am now into my third week of a gentle return to running after I got struck down with AD on 5 May 2011. Week 1 of my return consisted of 2 x 3mile runs. Week 2 was 2 x 3.3 mile runs and this morning I did my first run of week 3 which was 3.8 miles long.
My achilles has not healed fully but is at a stage were I feel its ready for some running. It had improved massively over the last few months but I felt it's recovery had pateaued. I decided to try a gentle return to running to see if some gentle use would increase blood flow and add healing.This is my third attempt to return to running after two previous attempts failed and resulted in a flare up. Hopefully third time lucky.
Currently I have minor stiffness the morning after a run. By day 3 post run I have no stiffness. I generally have no pain during the day, although the day after a run I have an awareness of the very odd twinge. I ice my achilles at least once a day, sometimes twice and also massage it everynight, and some mornings when time permits.
I plan to to increase my mileage by 10% every week. After 4 weeks running, I will rest for a full week to give me achilles some additional time to heal. Only time will tell how I fare.
I would also place myself in the 'very substantial progress but not yet fully healed' camp - 9 weeks after an achilles injury.
After initial ice, ibuprofen and rest, I have done 8 weeks of eccentric heel drops (3 * 20-25 reps, twice daily, straight and bent knee) building from bodyweight to weighted rucsac (2l mineral water bottles) and currently a 60kg partner on shoulders, or a gym calf raise machine.
I have also done a lot of cross frictional massage with arnica, worn an improvised sock at night (a pair of tights..) to keep the tendon long, taken 3g daily of glucosamine, and latterly done a lot of soleus and general calf work with a foam roller.
Recently I have jogged 2-3k without problems on a number of occasions but still have 5 mins of morning stiffness. The rest of the day the tendon is rock solid.
FWIW, these are my conclusions...
1) If you are a moderately high mileage runner aged >30, you really should be using a foam roller on your calves several times a week.
2) Eccentric heel drops with increasing load are excellent to strengthen the tendon
3) All you read is correct - don't expect to run for 2-3 months. I have done plenty of cycling and swimming, both of which are OK for the tendon, even hill climbs on a bike and wall pushing from turns in the pool.
4) I find a child's rubber bouncy ball is better than the generally quoted golf ball for sole massage
It's good to hear about your experiences and road to recovery.
For me the 2 things that have had the biggest impact upon my recovery are rest and massage. I now massage my achilles twice a day and my morning stiffness, even on a day after a run, has nearly completely disappeared.
Good luck to fellow sufferers.
I'm currently following Alfredson's regime and can report positive progress. I'm up to 10kg so far but see that it's recommended to go up to 60kg! I'm worried my achilles will snap at that weight! Does anyone have any experience/advice to offer on what a sensible max weight should be?
So for completeness and hopefully to bring some light into the gloom that is AT, I though I would post on my recovery.
It is 14 months since my last post and my achilles is fine. I'm currently running around 40 miles per week and have no problems with my achilles. It s a long time ago but I would say my pay stopped a few weeks after my last post. I slowly increased my mileage by no more than 10% and all was fine.
Picked up another injury along the way but that is hopefully behind me now.
Good luck all
@Jeff Green, Studies have shown the tensile forces going through a healthy achilles tendon while running are upto TWELVE times relative body weight. 60kg should be fine!
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