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Achilles Issues and Remedies

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Post  cdyow Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:07 am

So the running and intertubz gods have slapped me down for arrogantly posting recently about my relatively smooth transition into running after a 10 year hiatus. Just the way it goes, I guess.

I ran 8k on this past Monday, and yesterday was supposed to be a 5k recovery run. My right achilles felt a little tight when I started but I reasoned it just needed to loosen up, along with my ankles. A slower than usual pace for a bit would do the trick.

Needless to say it continued to tighten and quickly enough there was a decent amount of pain as well. I ended up walking back home the final half mile, concerned about doing some real damage.

I don't have access to a sports therapist here in Costa Rica. Any suggestions on treatment and how to properly ease back into running after this subsides? My biggest concern is that supposedly running lots of hills and calf tightness contribute greatly to this problem. And where I live, if I run outdoors then I must run hills. Do I go back to the treadmill 2x per week and only run 1x on the street?

Thus far I'm simply following RICE, minus the compression, since there was no swelling or discoloration. I've done some half hearted self-massage but I'm just guessing at exactly where/what needs to be done.

Thanks in advance.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:42 pm

Stretch those calves religiously as I think that is key with a sore Achilles. Ice after a run if it feels sore or a bit inflamed.

I have a nagging achilles that flares up on the left all the time and I usually run right through it. If I remember to stretch those calves, I keep it pretty much in check. I find that mine feels better after running on the hills rather than the dreadmill, but do what is best for you.
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Post  Mark B Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:29 pm

There's a stretch called eccentric heel drops that can really help deal with tight achilles tendons. A sports medicine doc taught it to me, and it might help with your problem.

Here's how to do it: Stand on a step with knees locked and only the balls of your feet touching the step itself and the rest of the foot parallel to the floor.

Then...

1) Slowly lower your heels as far as possible, then pause at full stretch.

2) Slowly raise back up to the point to where your feet are parallel to the floor.

3) Repeat this about 15 times.

Next, flex your knees slightly and repeat Steps 1-3. This will work a slightly different set of muscles

Alternate doing sets with knees locked and knees flexed until you can't do any more. Unlike most stretches, this one is SUPPOSED to hurt like the dickens.

Hope this helps!
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Post  cdyow Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:30 am

Michele and Mark,

Will do. I appreciate the help. Ice and stretching through the weekend and will see how things are on Monday.
Thanks!
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Post  Kenny B. Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:45 am

I have had achilles issues in 2009 and Mark's stretch although common was 100% NOT advised when it is ACUTE! Which yours is. I was told it caused to much stress making the achilles worse. Which it did when I first did it.

If your achilles is hurting as in "painful" I would stop running until it feel 100% zero pain if you can stand on one leg on your tippy toes and hop. If there is pain it ain't healed. Ice will help right now to bring the swelling down, but rest right now IMO is the action needed.

Once it feels 100% better than you can work on stretches. The best stretch from multiple doctors is to put the foot against the wall (the toes) and lean into it with your hips and stretch the achilles out. There are also great strength exercises you can do where you put a weight on your feet and lift your ankle up and down. (Forgot what they are called).

My experience with Achilles was over the course of 10 weeks and it knocked the crap out of me.
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Post  cdyow Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:02 am

Kenny B.

I'm definitely on that action plan. I tried to do a test stretch 2 days after the injury occurred and it was immediately evident that my Achilles wanted none of it.

The 'stand on 1 leg and hop' test I discovered by accident. Was almost 100% pain free when walking on a flat surface, so I decided to use my down time to practice some static drills, pulling my heel up, etc. Almost collapsed when that hot pain shot up through the Achilles. Yes, I am known to be an idiot at times.

I got tasked with an unscheduled trip to Miami this week, so that will help me avoid me rushing back into any running attempts. Another 3 or 4 days of just rest and maybe a stationary bike ride or two in the hotel may be just what I need.

All of the stretching will definitely become a more important part of the equation for me. I've been using this week to test out tennis ball ART also for my hamstrings and calves.

Thanks again, and hopefully I'll be back on track soon. Approval

Kenny B. wrote:I have had achilles issues in 2009 and Mark's stretch although common was 100% NOT advised when it is ACUTE! Which yours is. I was told it caused to much stress making the achilles worse. Which it did when I first did it.

If your achilles is hurting as in "painful" I would stop running until it feel 100% zero pain if you can stand on one leg on your tippy toes and hop. If there is pain it ain't healed. Ice will help right now to bring the swelling down, but rest right now IMO is the action needed.

Once it feels 100% better than you can work on stretches. The best stretch from multiple doctors is to put the foot against the wall (the toes) and lean into it with your hips and stretch the achilles out. There are also great strength exercises you can do where you put a weight on your feet and lift your ankle up and down. (Forgot what they are called).

My experience with Achilles was over the course of 10 weeks and it knocked the crap out of me.
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