achilles tendon problems on a longer ride

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Sam Huffman, May 19, 2003.

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  1. Sam Huffman

    Sam Huffman Guest

    I did my first century of the year on Saturday, and experienced some fairly severe achilles tendon
    discomfort despite what I thought was adequate stretching before and during the ride. The ride was
    mostly flat (3000' total gain), and I didn't push the pace much.

    The pain started occurring about 50 miles into the ride, and got progressively worse. I could walk
    on Sunday, but going up and down stairs my achilles tendon felt "indexed" (I could feel about 10
    "ratchets" as my ankle flexed). Today (Monday) it's nearly back to normal.

    Is this a common problem? Other than stretching, is there anything I can do to avoid it in
    the future?

    Thanks for any information, Sam
     
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  2. Sam Huffman wrote:
    > I did my first century of the year on Saturday, and experienced some fairly severe achilles tendon
    > discomfort despite what I thought was adequate stretching before and during the ride. The ride was
    > mostly flat (3000' total gain), and I didn't push the pace much.
    >
    > The pain started occurring about 50 miles into the ride, and got progressively worse. I could walk
    > on Sunday, but going up and down stairs my achilles tendon felt "indexed" (I could feel about 10
    > "ratchets" as my ankle flexed). Today (Monday) it's nearly back to normal.
    >
    > Is this a common problem? Other than stretching, is there anything I can do to avoid it in
    > the future?

    I had this problem as a teenager, when I had just gotten my first toe clips, and had read somewhere
    about the "ankling." On my first overnight tour I blew out my achilles tendons after about 65
    miles. I had to remove the toe clips, lower the saddle and ride on my instep for the rest of the
    4-day tour.

    For a month thereafter, I would have to massage the tendons for 5 minutes in the morning before I
    could walk. More than 40 years since, I've never completely recovered from this injury.

    If you use cleated shoes, move your cleats farther back toward your heels. If you use toe clips, get
    extra-long ones, perhaps spaced forward with washers, if your feet are long. You may need to lower
    your saddle after making these changes.

    See also http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html

    Sheldon "Been There" Brown +-----------------------------------------------+
    | Earth is the cradle of the mind. | But one can not stay in the cradle forever. | -- Konstantin
    | Tsiolkovsky |
    +-----------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts Phone
    617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
    http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  3. Sam Huffman

    Sam Huffman Guest

    Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> writes:

    > Sam Huffman wrote:
    > > I did my first century of the year on Saturday, and experienced some fairly severe achilles
    > > tendon discomfort despite what I thought was adequate stretching before and during the ride. The
    > > ride was mostly flat (3000' total gain), and I didn't push the pace much.
    >
    > For a month thereafter, I would have to massage the tendons for 5 minutes in the morning before I
    > could walk. More than 40 years since, I've never completely recovered from this injury.
    >
    > If you use cleated shoes, move your cleats farther back toward your heels. If you use toe clips,
    > get extra-long ones, perhaps spaced forward with washers, if your feet are long. You may need to
    > lower your saddle after making these changes.
    >
    > See also http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html

    Yikes, I'll make sure to make some adjustments before I suffer permanent damage. I've been
    somewhat fanatical about keeping my seat as high as comfortable to avoid knee troubles that run in
    the family, so I'll try lowering that a little and playing with my cleat positioning. I do find
    myself changing my foot ankle during the upstroke, which sounds like ankling, so I'll try to avoid
    that as well.

    Thanks for the tips, Sam
     
  4. Garyg

    Garyg Guest

    "Sam Huffman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    >
    > I did my first century of the year on Saturday, and experienced some
    fairly
    > severe achilles tendon discomfort despite what I thought was adequate stretching before and during
    > the ride. The ride was mostly flat (3000'
    total
    > gain), and I didn't push the pace much.
    >
    > The pain started occurring about 50 miles into the ride, and got
    progressively
    > worse. I could walk on Sunday, but going up and down stairs my achilles
    tendon
    > felt "indexed" (I could feel about 10 "ratchets" as my ankle flexed).
    Today
    > (Monday) it's nearly back to normal.
    >
    > Is this a common problem? Other than stretching, is there anything I can
    do to
    > avoid it in the future?
    >
    > Thanks for any information, Sam

    I've had problems with my left Achilles tendon for a number of years now (due to showing off in the
    gym on the calf raise machine...doh!).

    Besides stretching nearly every day, one thing that helped was to move my cleat rearward a little
    bit (perhaps 2 mm). I have fairly large feet (size 12 American), and this seems to reduce the length
    of the "fulcrum" and thus take a bit of pressure off the Achilles.

    HTH, GG
     
  5. "Sheldon Brown" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > If you use cleated shoes, move your cleats farther back toward your heels. If you use toe clips,
    > get extra-long ones, perhaps spaced forward with washers, if your feet are long.

    This is really important.

    JT

    --
    *******************************************
    NB: reply-to address is munged

    Visit http://www.jt10000.com
    *******************************************
     
  6. I'm not particularly flexible, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt, but I strongly
    believe you should not be stretching before or after such a serious event. Daily stretching may
    be helpful, after you warm up a little. Don't stretch cold. And don't stretch a bodypart that
    is injured.

    Every couple of years I have some achilles pain. For me, it's important that the saddle is not too
    low (the first time I got that pain was on a ride where my seatpost had slipped). And the other
    thing that helped a lot was some dynamic exercises to strenthen that part of the body a few times a
    week for a few months, in advance of the time when I could expect trouble (that is a few months
    before the first big rides).

    Let's see if I can describe what I did: after a warmup on an exercise bike or some easy riding, I'd
    stand on one leg and lower self about six inches by flexing the ankles and knees (sort of like an
    eighth-squat). I'd do this with my knees to the front and the sides about ten or twenty times each
    leg. Worked well for me. I think I read about this in the newsletter Running Research News.

    I haven't done this as much recently as I've been doing other sports that train the lower legs in a
    much more dynamic way than cycling (like cross country skiing).

    JT

    --
    *******************************************
    NB: reply-to address is munged

    Visit http://www.jt10000.com
    *******************************************
     
  7. In article <[email protected]>, Sam Huffman <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > > Sam Huffman wrote:
    > > > I did my first century of the year on Saturday, and experienced some fairly severe achilles
    > > > tendon discomfort despite what I thought was adequate stretching before and during the ride.
    > > > The ride was mostly flat (3000' total gain), and I didn't push the pace much.
    > >
    > > For a month thereafter, I would have to massage the tendons for 5 minutes in the morning before
    > > I could walk. More than 40 years since, I've never completely recovered from this injury.
    > >
    > > If you use cleated shoes, move your cleats farther back toward your heels. If you use toe clips,
    > > get extra-long ones, perhaps spaced forward with washers, if your feet are long. You may need to
    > > lower your saddle after making these changes.
    > >
    > > See also http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html
    >
    > Yikes, I'll make sure to make some adjustments before I suffer permanent damage. I've been
    > somewhat fanatical about keeping my seat as high as comfortable to avoid knee troubles that run in
    > the family, so I'll try lowering that a little and playing with my cleat positioning. I do find
    > myself changing my foot ankle during the upstroke, which sounds like ankling, so I'll try to avoid
    > that as well.

    My problems are nearly identical to yours: knee problems, and I hurt my achilles tendon just like
    Sheldon. I traced the problem to a slightly-too-high seat, something I did partly to help with my
    knees (that and spinning).

    Sheldon's trick of moving the cleats back helps a lot. I was able to do a metric century without
    pain thanks to this positional change. I use SPDs, and I have my cleats almost as far back as the
    shoe allows. This is wacky positioning by conventional wisdom (well behind the ball of the foot),
    and feels odd at first, but doesn't seem to have hurt my speed and has helped with the problem.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  8. Bob Denton

    Bob Denton Guest

    On 19 May 2003 08:21:24 -0700, Sam Huffman <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >I did my first century of the year on Saturday, and experienced some fairly severe achilles tendon
    >discomfort despite what I thought was adequate stretching before and during the ride. The ride was
    >mostly flat (3000' total gain), and I didn't push the pace much.
    >
    >The pain started occurring about 50 miles into the ride, and got progressively worse. I could walk
    >on Sunday, but going up and down stairs my achilles tendon felt "indexed" (I could feel about 10
    >"ratchets" as my ankle flexed). Today (Monday) it's nearly back to normal.
    >
    >Is this a common problem? Other than stretching, is there anything I can do to avoid it in
    >the future?
    >
    >Thanks for any information, Sam
    I recently had a problem with the anterior tendon, which I finally traced to the toungue of my left
    Carnac. I had thousands of miles with the identical setup. I trimmed the shoe and problem
    dissapeared.

    Is there a possibility that something in your shoe is putting pressure on the achilles? Bob Denton
    Gulf Stream International Delray Beach, Florida www.sinkthestink.com Manufacturers of Sink the Stink
     
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