Past injury

advice

2 messages
01/04/2012 at 09:26

I started running several yrs ago. I started with the beginners plan from runners world and built up my distance slowly. I was very dedicated and loved my runs one of the high-lights was an early evening run when the sun was starting to go down, I'd had to push myself a little to go but decided on the woods. As I ran down a little track I heard a noise in the trees, then suddenly a young deer ran out infront of me! No matter how much or little i had to push myself some days, I always enjoyed my run once I got out there.

Anyway, to get to the point, on my first 5k, which I managed to finish, I started to feel pain in my ankle. By the time I got home the pain had increased. The next day I went to the GP and I'd managed to get an Acute Achilles tendonitis. It took a long time to heal properly I even had physio. I'm now on a weight loss plan and would like to start running again but I'm scared it might happen again. 

Any advice would be great!

Donna

01/04/2012 at 19:14
Hi Donna,
Can't beat a run at sunset!

For the Achilles the challenge is two-fold;
1) deal with any factors that might have caused the Achilles problem in the first place
2) return gradually to running without the problem returning.

Hopefully your Physio will have helped you deal with the causes, but here are a few things you could do

Get your gait analysed on a treadmill and ensure you have the right shoes to support your foot and ankle
Strengthen and stretch your calf muscles to make sure they are strong and flexible enough to deal with the stresses of running. Did you Physio show you how to do "heel drops"?
Make sure your balance is good on both sides - can you balance on 1 leg for 20 seconds? What about with your knee bent? Or your eyes closed? Or both? If not you can work at it.

If you have appropriate footwear, good strength, flexibility and balance the problem is less likely to recurr. You'll still need a graded return to running though to let the tendon adapt and get used to it.

Aim for all runs to be pain free. Maybe start with a run-walk-run pattern. Avoid hills until you feel ready. Have a rest day between runs - this avoids overloading the tendon and gives it time to adapt. You could use a small heel raise in your shoes initially to offload the tendon or use kinesiology tape (there are lots of videos of how to do this on YouTube) but in time you might want to wean off these - ideally you'd want to return to running without them at some stage.
Probably of all of this it's the graded return that's most important.
Hope that helps.

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