Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My Achilles heel

For a couple of months now I have been putting up with some degree of Achilles Tendinosis. I have a small amout of swelling on the inside of the achilles on my right leg, its tender to touch or to massage and I get some tightness and soreness when I start running which usually eases off as I continue to exercise.

I've been managing the condition while continuing to run, averaging about 40 miles per week. By "managing" I mean largely ignoring the problem to be honest with a few attempts at massage and contrast therapy along the way.

However, since finishing the Marlborough Downs Challenge I decided to take a week or so off running to let the various niggles that have built up subside and to start attacking this tendon issue. My next race is the Plague on the 16th August. At 100k this will be the furthest I've ever travelled (I hesitate to say "run") and so I need to be fit and healthy to do so. This is therefore the last possible chance I have to rehab the Achilles and ease back for a couple of weeks if I am to allow myself time to recover suitably before August.

In the first instance, I have been religiously apply a friction massage, rubbing across the tendon, twice a day for one minute.  

Yesterday I had a physio appointment with Ian Leigh and was treated to a very painful deep tissue massage, confirming my suspicion that the cause of my Achilles problem was firmly rooted in some very tight calf muscles, mostly the Soleus. After happily digging his thumbs into every trigger point and knot he could find, Ian applied a couple of magic wands to the Achilles itself - first Ultra sound and then Laser.  Both of these treatments, through different means, aim to stimulate the tissues to promote healing.

Following this treatment I received a series of stretching exercises, aimed at lengthening the Soleus and some strengthening exercises, to build up strength in the tendon itself.

Finally I left with advice to get, and use, a foam roller - something I keep meaning to do but have never committed to.

Oh and Ian also suggested experimenting with KT tape to support the Achilles while I continue my rehab, sending me off with a length of tape to get me started. I'm going to run today without the tape and then tape up tomorrow so I can see if I feel any difference.

Today will be my first run for ten days and I can't wait. I am also keen to take recovery as seriously as any other aspect of training and was up this morning stretching before breakfast. 

Over the next few weeks I will update the site with my progress and supply a bit more detail on the various methods and what has worked for me


  1. Interesting comment about the foam roller. I'd forgotten that I'd had an achilles problem -I started using a foam roller a few months ago.

  2. Whilst not having this particular problem I did suffet with an inflamed achilles as a result of poorly fitting rugby boots and tight calves (something that I still suffer with). R. I. C. E was the solution along with calf stretches and a new pair of boots.

    I no longer have the problem with boots having retired from playing rugby but now, as a referee, the tight calves occasionally cause Plantar Fasciitis.

  3. Yeah foam roller - picking one up tomorrow.