Morning achilles stiffness

... when does this disappear?

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27/12/2011 at 08:32

Hi, I've already postedthis thread with full background of an earlier injury.

Four months later, this is starting to return to a level where I can tentatively start to run again (very low distances on a treadmill,  only slowly for the time being, plus specific gym exercises.)

 But I note it's still sore and stiff in the morning.   How long does this phase last?

I massage the tendon when I'm watching tv - it's slightly sore to the touch only as morning stiffness disappears about 30 mns ater I get up.

 Any other recoverers out there ? Can you describe your account of how long it took to get to zero morning or after-exercise soreness?

 Many thanks.

27/12/2011 at 08:57

Should have added that one reason for asking is I love(d) park runs, which take place in the morning.  My gameplan is to be able to run one again by mid-February.  But parkruns take place relatively early, at at time when the tendon might still be sore...

under these circumstances, run or not run?

 It's worth noting that I have continued to do a high volume of exercise, but on a bike instead of running - 3 sessions of 2 to 2.5 hours per week at a variety of intensities from 4 out of 10 to 10 out of 10.

27/12/2011 at 09:46
I'd suggest that the morning stiffness and slight soreness will disappear when the achillies is fully healed. It's like saying "how long is a piece of string"? Until then, with your history I'd be very wary. The remaining symptoms you are showing are classic dodgy achillies symptoms. It wouldn't take much to put you back to square one as you probably know. A 5K in Feb? It wouldn't be my idea of a "comeback" event after achillies problems as 5k's can be manic!! The problem isn't the run - you can run painfree - it's after the run you suddenly realise you've done too much. The morning symptoms are telling you you are not fully healed - listen to your body and take it easy. If you are hoping to "race" your 5k in Feb will you be tempted to push the training when you are probably not ready to push things? Patience QFS!
27/12/2011 at 18:23

Hi Tigerlily,  thanks for the advice. Yes, I'm fortunately aware that I can mess the whole thing up in a stroke of impatience... :- (

I hadn't thought of the fact that you can run painfree and then experience symptoms afterwards. This is indeed a treacherous situation!  Presumably it's the same with achilles-specific activities in the gym?

I'll make a mental note to not ramp up the training too much all at once - perhaps doing a very short treadmill session one day per week - increasing by a few per cent per session - and then after a complete rest, doing achilles-specific rehabilitiation exercises.

This is one of the worst injuries I have ever had (second only to a large rupture of an ischial tuberosity) and I want to completely knock it on the head before racing again!

Have you experienced this, Tigerlily?  What happened in the end?

27/12/2011 at 19:04

Hi QuestfurSpeed

have you tried using a poultice of nettle tea, first thing in the morning? Make the tea using leaves or bags (3 x normal strength)

Soak flannel in tea, and tie to leg by wrapping round leg and holding in place with sock

Leave for 30 mins while resting or moving round house.

The nettles contain a chemical which can reduce inflammation and aid paid control (hence its use in childbirth in the olden days.)

Good luck!

27/12/2011 at 19:52
QFS - I have experienced achillies tendonitus but not as bad as yours. I have had the morning stiffness/pain you describe then when I ran it was painful at first but then the pain would wear off after half a mile or so. I was training for VLM in 2008 and 6 weeks from the event I had to stop running completely for 3 weeks. I did not run at all until there was no pain in the morning. I had ultrasound at the physio and sports massage to my calves. No walking round in bare feet, no stretching whilst pain was still present. I cycled instead and pool-ran. It resolved itself and did not affect my marathon performance. I think yours is obviously getting better but don't knock it back. Tendons when badly injured take a long time. Massage is good but not stretching until it's pain free.
27/12/2011 at 20:10
Tigerlily, ah, glad yours healed up in the end - sounds you had to be quite restrained for a bit, too. How did you manage in the VLM with that three week break? It must have been very frustrating but I'm glad the symptoms didn't return during the race.

I am now also massaging my calves with a rolling pin - seems to do some good. The elephant in the room is that age is a real factor here and I am no longer 25, to put it mildly, much as I might persuade myself otherwise.
28/12/2011 at 13:02
LOL QFS - elephant in the room indeed! I'm pretty ancient myself Rolling pin is a great idea - I use a foam roller. I also got a "Stick" for Christmas - google "the stick" as the linky thing isn't working - I think it was my children's testament to my age!! LOL

The marathon, even with a 3 week break over what should have been peak mileage training went very well. But then I'm used to distance and my achillies only ever was at the stage yours is at now.
28/12/2011 at 19:16
Hey Tigerlily, good to hear that your VLM didn't suffer too badly even with the break. It's amazing what a good pyramid of mileage can do, eh?

I'll investigate foam roller - probably more to prevent ITB woes (not that I have any) - good tip, that. And I'll google 'the stick', too.

Did you get a place in the VLM this year? I'm clearly not even thinking about distance racing this year. If I'm fit to run a fast 5K by the autumn, I'll be satisfied, even though this is a considerable downgrade of my previous expectations!!!
30/12/2011 at 06:32
No NFS, I haven't run a road marathon since 2008 - I am a fell runner, I ran London twice (2005 & 2008) just because it was LONDON but I'm an off roader doing 90% of my running on the fells. It was probably the switch from off road to on road which contributed to my achillies problems.... maybe... I'd never had achillies problems before or since!  And TBH it wasn't that bad. I'm sure you will recover fully from yours!
30/12/2011 at 07:51


As a fellow achilles sufferer, I have been doing quite a lot of walking, increasing the pace as the discomfort in the tendon eases.  This doesn't seem to cause adverse effects although any (gentle) attempt at running has inevitably had me hobbling about the house in the mornings and having to hang onto the handrail going downstairs.

It's driving me nuts not being able to run!

30/12/2011 at 15:36
hi bikbok, sounds like you are in a worse position than I am (now)- sorry to hear that, as I know how frustrataing this stage is. I've been able to walk limp-free and fast for a few weeks now and had no repercussions from my (one so far) treadmill session.

if you still need to use the handrail, your tendon sounds like it could do with a bit more tlc and complete rest before you try to run again.

Can you cycle? I never had to stop cycling, even quite demanding sessions, when the tendon was at its most painful while I was walking.

Take it easy and don't try to do too much too soon.

30/12/2011 at 16:38

Thanks for the sympathy! 

The handrail is not required most of the time, but it is rather tender, so I guess I'd best take your advice and forget about running for the time being.  I do like cycling, but it's limited to weekends only at the mo, due to short days.  The best exercise seems to be the swimming pool, which is always a good all-round workout,  strengthening  and loosening up shoulders at the same time. 

I haven't taken it to the physio.  Do you reckon it's worth it?

30/12/2011 at 19:03
I have had an achilles injury for 6 months and visited a physio every week sometimes twice in that whole time, very expensive, It is getting better and I have been told by the physio to start running again even although I can still feel slight pain, funny thing is that it now feels like I have a burning feeling up the side of my leg (not painful) and a twinge in my hamstring (maybe I should visit a vet I am falling apart lol) I feel this is connected can anyone give me advise, on another the down side to injury in the past 6 month I have put more than a stone in weight on Ahhhhhh
M...eldy    pirate
30/12/2011 at 19:17
I have to say if you have visited a physio every week for six months and they have not picked up the fact that it is connected to a higher issue then I would very much reccommend you visiting another physio
In my opinion which is based on experience and not qualifications, there is quite usually a tightness in calfs/hips/back which contribute to achilles pain if it is not an overuse injury

It does indeed take time and patience to heal or to learn to manage it but I would expect a physio to treat or search for the cause and not just treat the symptom
30/12/2011 at 19:44
Totally agree with the above on the physio issue!
30/12/2011 at 20:42
Next week I'm going for the physio!  However, I'm also going to relax a bit about not running and just enjoy my other exercise, especially the swimming. Thanks for helpful comments.
30/12/2011 at 21:13


 I'm new to all of this, both forums and running but from what has been said there seems to be a lot of good advice out there. 

I started running back in July but pulled my achilles in October and haven't ran since.  It doesn't hurt in the mornings, but sometimes when I'm rushing to work I feel it twinge.  Everytime I think of getting back to running I'm afraid I'll do more damage.

Going to try doing a little and if hurts stop, hopefully will be pounding the streets again soon and may even get above the 3 miles I'd got up to.

30/12/2011 at 22:10
Take it easy, Angela, but go for it too!  Of course you'll be back soon and clocking up the miles.  Recover well and enjoy your running.
30/12/2011 at 22:13

Thanks bikbok, looking forward to getting the running shoes back on, might even try a little run tomorrow if NYE doesn't take over me first

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