Achilles Tendonitis, and Want To Be Running Again
(Coral Springs, FL USA)
I am a runner, last year I averaged 35 miles a week, did multiple races and the 2008 Chicago Marathon. Since around the end of Oct. 2008 I have had achilles pain and tightening.
I ignored it for the month of Nov. 2008. I have not run on it since Dec. 1st 2008.
Except for trying once each week in Dec to go on a short run 1-2 miles, tried again in Jan once and in Feb once.
Each time I had pain.
I am in this "boot" thing I got from the ortho MD. I wear that whenever I can. I work 12 hour shifts, as an ER nurse and am prohibited from wearing it at work.
I am on my 4th week of wearing it. Last week I took a 2 mile walk and a few days later took a 4 mile walk without the boot.
I am still having a lot of pain. I am swimming several times a week for the last 6-8 weeks. ( I am an adrenaline junkie). I really miss running though and need some kind of hope of when I will be able to do that again. I did meet someone who does acupunture, but how do you know if they're good.
I don't want to make things worse.
Many thanks for any recomendations.
I appreciate that you don't want to make things worse. And it sounds like you're ready to find a solution and do the work to get yourself in running shape again.
I have the solution if you are willing to do the work and be patient with yourself. Achilles Tendonitis can heal fast or slower than you'd like, depending on several factors.
So, let's get to work.Let's start with, "You can run again, IF."
We'll come back to that.
Thoughts in no particular order:
1. I hate the boot. A doctor giving you the (literal) boot is essentially saying "I have no idea how to help you. Wear this boot and lets hope your body will heal you as good as new, or at least enough to keep you out of my office."
The boot is a great way to prolong your suffering. You've been wearing it for a month hoping it would help you improve, while under the surface of your skin the Tendonitis dynamic has been entrenching itself more and more.
It's a good thing your work doesn't let you wear the boot at work if for no other reason than limping around in that thing for a month would start messing with your knees, hips, etc.
2. My Kerri is an ER nurse. I'm familiar with how much you are on your feet. She's lucky, she gets a foot massage when she gets home. If only all nurses were so lucky. [Warning: Shameless plug for what a great guy I am.)
3. You don't want to make things worse. Great. The only way to prevent that is to reverse the Achilles Tendonitis dynamic. We'll get to that.
4. Acupuncture. Just like massage, physical therapists, doctors, etc, ya just gotta pay your money and take your chances.
I'm a big fan of acupuncture. Specifically for your Tendonitis,
I'd say it's not for you right now. Let me rephrase that. It can VERY much help your healing process. Go ahead and do it if you want, but it's not the primary tool to use specifically for the fixing of specific damage to the tendon. It is a -great- support though. It can be, anyway.
5. Swimming. GREAT!
Increasing your walking. GREAT!
A. Was Oct 2008 -really- the first time you've had pain and tightness?
B. When you have tried to run lately, does it just hurt, or is it the kind of hurt that makes you stop because it's so bad. Asked another way, did you stop running out of wisdom, or necessity?
C. How old are you?
D. Please describe your nutrient intake, i.e., calories, protein, fats, etc. I don't need numbers, I just want a feel for how you take care of yourself nutritionally.
C. Out of curiosity, are you on night shift? (night shift nurses tend to be less healthy than day shift nurses, for various reasons.
D. Any other injuries presently or in the past?
E. Other than the Achilles Tendonitis, how would you describe your overall health?
F. Does it hurt when you walk? When you are at work?
G. Does it hurt when you get up in the morning and first onto your feet?
H. Does it hurt when you are resting/off your feet??
I. You say 'boot' singular so I'm guessing you just have Achilles Tendinitis on one side. True?
Answer the above questions to give me a better picture of what's going on.
I have lots to say after that.
For the moment, check out my icing suggestions on the How To Reduce Inflammation page. We'll be using that.
Also, follow this conversation about a 62 year old sprinter with Achilles Tendonitis. His and your threads are going to be similar, it will be valuable to you to track that conversation too.
It's up to you whether to wear the boot or not. My personal and professional opinion is that they are dumb (that's the personal opinion) and for an athlete like you, dangerous.
Of course, I'm not a doctor, so I neither recommend, prescribe, nor diagnose.
Having said that, I think boots for Achilles Tendonitis are dumb and dangerous.
Answer the above questions, add anything that may be relevant, and ask any other questions you may have, then we'll get you set up with a plan to fix your tendon and get your back to your adrenaline inducing activities.
Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.
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Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert