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Achilles Tendon Problems

Discussion in 'Medical Problems' started by Leslie, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    I started running again earlier this year after a few year of just walking and cycling. Then I was reading on the net about different styles of running and afterwards changed the way I ran, making my foot touch the ground first at the front. So that is the background.

    A few months into this I started getting pains in my right leg, the tendon between the heel and calf. So I stopped running at the end of November. Everything I read has said just rest and wait for it to heal.

    However as usual I would like to hurry the process up a bit...

    Even now when out walking, in any shoe or boot, my heal and or tendon become tender.

    Anyone any suggestions on how I might make this easier?

    Thanks
     
  2. sean

    sean Active Member

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    Hi Leslie,
    Happy New Year, but sorry to read about your tendon problems. I did a lot of competitive running in my younger days and it was never advised to run touching the ground with the toe, or ball of your foot first. Most trainers recommend touching the ground with the heel and rolling forward with your momentum. Touching the ground with the front of the foot first causes a thumping motion that will damage knees and other joints. That said, if the damage is done with your Achilles Tendon, it is not an easy one to cure. I damaged both Achilles on my first Camino in 2009 and to this day, they have never recovered their full strength. First thing in the morning, I have to hold the banisters going down stairs, as the pain is so severe. After a couple of steps, it eases off and I am fine for the day. I have found the following helpful;
    Exercise; Stand on a step of your stairs facing towards the top and with your toes positioned on the front of the step. Gently lower your heel position until you feel the tendon stretching. Gently use your lower leg power to raise yourself back to starting position. Do not try this until you feel that the tendon is somewhat repaired from it's current damaged state (normally 6 weeks after damage has occurred). Hold onto the rail as you do the exercise, as you can then control the amount of weight you place on the tendon. Try it for between 10-15 times a few times daily until you feel the strength return.
    Wearing specialist insoles in your boots/shoes will help alleviate the pain and help align your foot placement. I use Surefoot, or Surefeet insoles? (name and address lost in the dust of many Camino walks). They are low cost, about 40 Euro and have lasted years. My Physio also recommended a pair which cost me 350 Big Ones. I find them difficult to wear, as they are very rigid and as so, are rarely worn. Boot's Chemists also do a strong wrap around ankle bandage with Velcro binding which will help support the ankles.
    Other than that my dear Friend, I have nothing but sympathy and New Year Blessings to offer you and your family.
    Regards,
    Sean,
    Dublin
     
  3. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    Thanks Sean I will try that. And I will lookup surefoot. But, yeah 350..

    What at did you get for Christmas? A few of us are waiting...
     
  4. alanhobo

    alanhobo Member

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    Hi Leslie, Happy new year, Had very same problem myself, tried lots of different exercises but i could not get it better, it seemed ok for a while then back it came, I consulted an NHS podiatrist, who just happened to be a keen hill walker, she gave me a simple exercise to do from the nhs data base to stretch the tendon, all ok now, if you need further info let me know.
     
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    What was the exersice? Would love to know, have started doing what Sean suggested above. Just back from 90 walk and feel a tightness and strain, so very open to suggestions.
     
  6. alanhobo

    alanhobo Member

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    The exercise was advised after a consultation! it may not be right for you, it could make it worse? but this is what was advised,
    Stand with your feet together facing a wall, leaning against it with your arms and back straight.
    Let your body drop towards the wall keeping your heels on the floor.
    make sure your feet are slightly angled inwards( pigeon toed)
    You should feel the stretching in your calves, hold for approx 25 secs- relax.
    Now bend your knees gently, making sure your heel remain on the floor and your bottom does not drift outward.
    You should feel the stretch lower down towards your ankles.
    Hold again for 25 secs- relax.
    Repeat 5 times daily, spread throughout the day in groups of 2-3
    DO NOT BOUNCE the stretch
    ensure your muscles are warm when you stretch.
    do not push the stretch in to pain- you are overdoing things.
    After 3-4 weeks bend the knees and hold for 25 secs, repeat 5 times 2 times a day.
    If you decide to use this best of luck, it worked for me.
     
  7. sean

    sean Active Member

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    Hi Leslie,
    The 350 ones are specialist ones and in my opinion only as good as the Surefeet/foot. I read your later replies regarding feeling tightness. This is normal and will continue for a while. I take it that the 90 minute walk will not turn into a trot in the near future. Keep up the exercise until you feel it start to stretch the tendon. Stop if it gets sore.
    My Christmas Gift was special this Christmas, as I finally did something I had planned to do for many years. Invite a total stranger to our house for Christmas Day. My late parents always had strangers come share what we had, not only at Christmas but at every occasion presented to them. I have met some of the most interesting people I have ever met in this fashion during the 1950's and 60's. Some were Knights of the Road and too shy, even to enter our home. All were special, as was our guest this year.
    In Ireland, for those who have never been here at Christmas, it is a time of great celebration, especially in our world famous pubs. Singing and dancing of varying standards take place and all are happy. So it was when I entered my local after Mass on Christmas Eve. All my usual friends were there slagging my new haircut as usual. I chose to pass them by and sit at the end of the counter where a very pretty lady sat alone. We spoke of Christmas and the general good feeling it brings. She remarked how similar the celebrations were, as part of her culture in her homeland in Northern Kenya. She was homesick and informed me that she was the only student remaining on campus at the local college. All the others had returned home for Christmas. I went outside and rang my wife, telling her what I had planned. She was delighted with the idea and I returned inside to invite her. She immediately agreed to come. We exchanged telephone numbers and I promised to make contact next day. Full exchange took less than 5 minutes. I returned to my 'friends' to allow them continue their well rehearsed barrage.
    Next day at 2 pm, I rang and honestly expected her not to answer, or make excuses for not been able to come. Not so, she was dolled up in native costume and ready to go. My heart bounced with joy as collected her and proudly walked the short distance from the college to our home. I praised her for her bravery in coming to a strangers house, especially someone you have met for only 5 minutes. She told me she had been in contact with her parents in Kenya and explained the situation she was in. Her mother told her; 'Go to the house, eat and drink what you are offered. After that, I commend you to the Hands of the Lord'.
    When we arrived at our house the party had started. Marian, my wife was up to 90 in the kitchen making sure all was ship shape. Our two sons and another visiting guest from Holland were sampling the first of many bottles to be opened that day. Our newest friend was certain she had made the right decision, the minute she entered the room. After the feast, the party continued on, well through the evening. Both our boys are good musicians, as also is our other guest from Holland. Kenya ranked high in the international voting when we were treated to some native tribal dancing.
    Best part of the day was when we contacted her parents in their village in Kenya by Skype. There were the usual tears of sadness at being so far apart, and I suppose gladness, that their beautiful daughter was still alive. Comment of the night came, when just before signing off on Skype, her father asked 'Naut, can I pleasea see the olda man? No doubt a reference to me. Not to worry, sure I had my fine new Christmas haircut.
    Naut will return to our home many more times before she returns to her native village. Imagine the stories she will bring home of the cabbage and bacon celebration of St. Patrick's Day. Birthdays and Irish Barbecues in the rain with singing and dancing at the drop of a hat.
    When I now think of it, this type of thing has happened to me many times on my various Camino walks. Complete strangers have opened their hearts to me and others inviting me into their homes and sharing whatever they had. I possibly lacked the courage that my parents had shown in the past. Not any more. Courage, what a gift.
    Regards,
    Sean,
    Dublin
     
  8. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    Sean there will be no running for quite a while.

    That is a great thing to do. It is funny isn't it overcoming fear and leading with the heart, funny how things can work out so well.

    Courage is something I have spent the last ten years trying to develop, it always seems like quite a struggle with my patterns, and furtratingly slow to change.
     
  9. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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  10. sean

    sean Active Member

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    Hi Leslie,
    Got it in one. I should have been Me many years ago. The opportunity was there but I did not grasp it. New Year Resolution. Anyone got N.Y.R. that does not include walking the Camino?
    Sean,
    Dublin
     
  11. superfast

    superfast New Member

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    Im actually starting to get a bit of Achilles pain my self in training this morning has anyone had any luck with a ankle brace?
     
  12. YorkieUltraRunner

    YorkieUltraRunner Ultra Runner

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    Leslie,

    Have you tried a session of Trigger Point Therapy or Deep Tissue Massage?

    I know from personal knowledge that where we think an injury is, it might actually have started somewhere else and then traveled due how we then adapt our running style and a Massage Therapist would hopefully find this and dependent upon where you are, they can range from £20 - £40 an hour and well worth it, even if you do scream a little :)
     
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  13. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Right before we left for our first camino in 2015, I decided to bring two knee elastic braces. I used them after torn meniscus surgery several years prior. I wore both for the first part of my camino, then my knees were not bothering me. Then my wife developed knee pain and wore one the rest of our camino. I developed tendonitis / swelling in my left ankle and used the knee brace on my swollen ankle - not ideal. So we'll bring both along elastic knee braces for our upcoming camino. My wife and I are also each bringing along one ankle brace. Combined, these don't weigh much, the size will fit and they don't cost much over Amazon.com; your size may not be available in a Spanish pharmacy and they tend to cost much more. If any of you have experienced knee or ankle pain, these are well worth the small amount of weight. Bob
     
  14. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Bob - I'll just add that my wife developed knee problems after a couple days on the cobblestones in Portugal. We did pretty much everything you suggested above. I can't say enough good things about the pharmacies in Spain. We needed help about half way through our walk, so in Tui our visit to a downtown pharmacy was like finding a gold mine. First, due to all the pilgrims pharmacists tend to see along the Camino, they're very knowledgeable and well equipped to deal with most problems we hikers might develop. My wife got both a knee and an ankle brace. The service provided by the pharmacist was extraordinary as he came from around the counter to actually assist her with the braces. And, best if all, they were dirt cheap! Really surprised me since I, too, though that they could be very expensive. They weren't! What we also picked up was a tube of Ibufén. This anti-inflammatory cream worked quite well and we applied it to her knee several times a day. The other thing we did, and I think you've mentioned this before as well, we used a luggage transport company, Tuitrans, to ship her pack ahead for about 4-5 days so as to take some of the stress off the knee. In all, we were very pleased with the support system available along the Camino for the types of problems we encountered.
     
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