New to achilles strain; treatment advice sought



C

Chuck

Guest
Greetings all!

Context first, question at end.

I am a 43-yr old male (6'3", 170 lbs) who has been running for fitness
since I was a teen, and I have never had serious running-related
ailments. I have always lived in hilly areas, and I have almost always
had the same kind of running paradigm: Walk from my house down a steep
hill to a country road; run casually on the intial flat section; then
run hard on the uphill part of the run back to my home. The part of
the run on which I run hard is usually only about 2 miles. I favor
this model of running because I avoid too much downhill pounding on my
knees.

For some reason (perhaps because I started running a little longer
recently) I have recently developed some achilles strain in both ankles
(much more on the right rather than the left side however). I think
this may have been coming on for a awhile...I would sometimes feel a
little twinge of pain in my achilles (on the right) at the steepest
part of my run, right near the end, and rather than push it, I would
stop and walk the last hundred yards or so. This went on for a while
being only an occasional minor irritation. [For the record, the pain
is not low on the tendon, where it attaches to the heel; the pain is
right in the middle of the tendon, straight back from where the ankle
bone sticks out on either side]

However, now I get the pain very early in the run, or simply when I
wake up in the morning, etc. I do stretch tolerably well I think...but
I guess I could increase my stretching a bit. I laid off running for
about 5 days, but that appeared to be nowhere nearly enough rest as the
problem reccurred as soon as I ran again. There isn't tons of
pain...fortunately...but just enough to let me know that I ought to
quit before I tear something. I have never felt anything "snap" and
when I am walking around in the normal course of the day, I rarely
notice anything. For the record, I Nordic-Tracked last night, and
this did cause any pain in my achilles whatsoever.

I presume I will need to rest the achilles for a while longer...maybe I
will start testing it again with light runs in a month. I know people
recommend icing it, which I will try, but in truth, I have never found
ice that useful (exept in cocktails).

My main questions are: What kind of wraps or orthotics are recommended
to help the tendons heal and prevent them from being reaggravated when
I start trying to run again? There seems to be tons of stuff
available, but I want to make sure that I don't waste money on a
worthless product. Also, how can I tell if I have torn the tendon,
versus just strained it? Do tears heal on their own, as long as the
tendon isn't totally ruptured?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Chuck
 
if you've no discoloration, swelling, and can rotate your ankle around
pain free (ever), and just are not in constant pain...i highly doubt
you have a tear.

but even if severly strained/bruised....this merits x-rays and a vist
to a physician, especially at your age.

don't procrastinate on this one...one wrong step off a curb and you can
seriously be looking at 2 operations & a very long time before you run
again.
 
D

Dan Stumpus

Guest
"Chuck" <[email protected]> wrote

I occasionally get Achilles pains, and Ice works miracles.

Get one of those flexible ice packs (in drug stores) and ice for 2 min on/2
min off X 3 several times a day.

The key thing is to never run when it hurts -- if you can't slow down enough
to make it stop, then walk. If you don't run with it, and ice it, the
problem often goes away very quickly -- in a couple of days. Then gradually
ramp up the intensity or hills over a week or so (all the while icing).

I've found that the "stair stretch" works to prevent problems. The calf
muscles can get too tight, and cause too much pull on the tendon. Step up
to the first stair, with the ball of your foot near the edge, and let the
heel fall below the step, using just your body weight (no bouncing). Hold
for 15 secs.
 
P

Parker Race

Guest
"Dan Stumpus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> "Chuck" <[email protected]> wrote
>
> I occasionally get Achilles pains, and Ice works miracles.
>
> Get one of those flexible ice packs (in drug stores) and ice for 2 min
> on/2 min off X 3 several times a day.
>
> The key thing is to never run when it hurts -- if you can't slow down
> enough to make it stop, then walk. If you don't run with it, and ice it,
> the problem often goes away very quickly -- in a couple of days. Then
> gradually ramp up the intensity or hills over a week or so (all the while
> icing).
>
> I've found that the "stair stretch" works to prevent problems. The calf
> muscles can get too tight, and cause too much pull on the tendon. Step
> up to the first stair, with the ball of your foot near the edge, and let
> the heel fall below the step, using just your body weight (no bouncing).
> Hold for 15 secs.
>



http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/023_05_achilles_tendinosis.html
 
P

Parker Race

Guest
"Dan Stumpus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> "Chuck" <[email protected]> wrote
>
> I occasionally get Achilles pains, and Ice works miracles.
>
> Get one of those flexible ice packs (in drug stores) and ice for 2 min
> on/2 min off X 3 several times a day.
>
> The key thing is to never run when it hurts -- if you can't slow down
> enough to make it stop, then walk. If you don't run with it, and ice it,
> the problem often goes away very quickly -- in a couple of days. Then
> gradually ramp up the intensity or hills over a week or so (all the while
> icing).
>
> I've found that the "stair stretch" works to prevent problems. The calf
> muscles can get too tight, and cause too much pull on the tendon. Step
> up to the first stair, with the ball of your foot near the edge, and let
> the heel fall below the step, using just your body weight (no bouncing).
> Hold for 15 secs.
>



http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/023_05_achilles_tendinosis.html
 
T

Terry Russell

Guest
I have had achilles pain in past years, and I have found stretching crucial
in getting it to go away. I stretch it by finding a tree growing on a hill,
and leaning against it from the down-hill side. And I have learned never to
stretch before exercise - only after thoroughly warming up. At least 20
minutes into the run.

"Dan Stumpus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> "Chuck" <[email protected]> wrote
>


> I've found that the "stair stretch" works to prevent problems. The calf
> muscles can get too tight, and cause too much pull on the tendon. Step
> up to the first stair, with the ball of your foot near the edge, and let
> the heel fall below the step, using just your body weight (no bouncing).
> Hold for 15 secs.
>
 
T

Terry Russell

Guest
I have had achilles pain in past years, and I have found stretching crucial
in getting it to go away. I stretch it by finding a tree growing on a hill,
and leaning against it from the down-hill side. And I have learned never to
stretch before exercise - only after thoroughly warming up. At least 20
minutes into the run.

"Dan Stumpus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> "Chuck" <[email protected]> wrote
>


> I've found that the "stair stretch" works to prevent problems. The calf
> muscles can get too tight, and cause too much pull on the tendon. Step
> up to the first stair, with the ball of your foot near the edge, and let
> the heel fall below the step, using just your body weight (no bouncing).
> Hold for 15 secs.
>
 
A

anders

Guest
Dan Stumpus wrote:

> The key thing is to never run when it hurts -- if you can't slow down enough
> to make it stop, then walk. If you don't run with it, and ice it, the
> problem often goes away very quickly -- in a couple of days. Then gradually
> ramp up the intensity or hills over a week or so (all the while icing).


What is your policy of running when it doesn't hurt during or
immediately after, but hurts in the following morning? Would you treat
that as a red or a yellow warning sign?

FWIW the folklore here is that middle-aged runners can safely neglect
those morning aches and pains - they are just nature's way of telling
you that you aren't young anymore - but OTOH if you can hear a distinct
creak of the tendon when you bend the ankle, you should see a doc
ASAP: it's serious, you need a serious rest and chances are the usual
remedies won't work and you may need to have an operation to "clean"
the tendon.


> I've found that the "stair stretch" works to prevent problems. The calf
> muscles can get too tight, and cause too much pull on the tendon. Step up
> to the first stair, with the ball of your foot near the edge, and let the
> heel fall below the step, using just your body weight (no bouncing). Hold
> for 15 secs.


Here a popular method is to use the kind of "stretch board" pictured
(about midpage on the left) in page
http://www.juoksija-lehti.fi/Default.aspx?tabid=829 - you are supposed
to hold the stretch "up to several minutes".


Anders
 
A

anders

Guest
Dan Stumpus wrote:

> The key thing is to never run when it hurts -- if you can't slow down enough
> to make it stop, then walk. If you don't run with it, and ice it, the
> problem often goes away very quickly -- in a couple of days. Then gradually
> ramp up the intensity or hills over a week or so (all the while icing).


What is your policy of running when it doesn't hurt during or
immediately after, but hurts in the following morning? Would you treat
that as a red or a yellow warning sign?

FWIW the folklore here is that middle-aged runners can safely neglect
those morning aches and pains - they are just nature's way of telling
you that you aren't young anymore - but OTOH if you can hear a distinct
creak of the tendon when you bend the ankle, you should see a doc
ASAP: it's serious, you need a serious rest and chances are the usual
remedies won't work and you may need to have an operation to "clean"
the tendon.


> I've found that the "stair stretch" works to prevent problems. The calf
> muscles can get too tight, and cause too much pull on the tendon. Step up
> to the first stair, with the ball of your foot near the edge, and let the
> heel fall below the step, using just your body weight (no bouncing). Hold
> for 15 secs.


Here a popular method is to use the kind of "stretch board" pictured
(about midpage on the left) in page
http://www.juoksija-lehti.fi/Default.aspx?tabid=829 - you are supposed
to hold the stretch "up to several minutes".


Anders
 
D

Dan Stumpus

Guest
"anders" <[email protected]> wrote

> What is your policy of running when it doesn't hurt during or
> immediately after, but hurts in the following morning? Would you treat
> that as a red or a yellow warning sign?


Yes. I'd ice it, stretch, and not run hard or on hills until the am pains
went away.
My worst Achilles problem (when 32) was a result of ignoring mild and
delayed warning pains. I was out of racing action for 7 weeks.

> FWIW the folklore here is that middle-aged runners can safely neglect
> those morning aches and pains - they are just nature's way of telling
> you that you aren't young anymore


Funny, I've found the opposite to be true. The first walk to the bathroom
after waking up is performed very slowly...but after a minute or two, I feel
great. I'm 54, and no longer train 95mpw w/2xspeedwork as I did in my
prime, but I still run 65-70 mpw at a slower pace. I have no chronic aches
and pains now, but when I was in my 30's I was sore most of the time,
somewhere. I needed to massage my hips/hams/glutes for 10-15 minutes a day
when I was training hard.

- but OTOH if you can hear a distinct
> creak of the tendon when you bend the ankle, you should see a doc
> ASAP: it's serious, you need a serious rest and chances are the usual
> remedies won't work and you may need to have an operation to "clean"
> the tendon.


Fortunately, I've never had something like that, but I wonder if that isn't
the result of ignoring mild to moderate pains for years.

-- Dan
 
anders wrote:

> .....FWIW the folklore here is that middle-aged runners can safely neglect
> those morning aches and pains - they are just nature's way of telling
> you that you aren't young anymore.....



As a 56 year old fitness runner I beg to differ. I worked in heavy
industry until about age 40. Your body takes a pounding doing physical
work on a daily basis and I actually felt worse in my 20s and 30s.
Chronic aches or pains aren't a problem at this time in my life and I'm
pleased at how the body is holding up.
 
I

It

Guest
On 24 Nov 2005 15:10:53 -0800, "[email protected]"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>As a 56 year old fitness runner I beg to differ. I worked in heavy
>industry until about age 40. Your body takes a pounding doing physical
>work on a daily basis and I actually felt worse in my 20s and 30s.
>Chronic aches or pains aren't a problem at this time in my life and I'm
>pleased at how the body is holding up.


So now you're a "loafer", welfare cheat, and you expect praise?
 
T

Turkey Lurkey

Guest
On 25 Nov 2005 19:06:33 -0800, "[email protected]"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Steel or possibly the effects of black market nuclear viagra.


Then explain her breasts. They are magnificent, no sagging, and
gravity seems to have no effect on them even though she's upside down.
 
I'll second that. 43 years of age is still very young in the scheme of
things. Unless your obese you should be stronger and your body in
better integrity than you were at 23. I would take some rests day and
it should go away. I have run up a steep hill in my area and got
similar pains. When I stopped running up that hill the pain went away.
If your pain doesn't go away after rest days you should see a doctor.