Achilles Tendonitis From Rock Climbing

by Ash
(Plymouth, England)


Sorry this isn't a story as of yet, but I promise to follow up with one! I developed Achilles tendonitis 3 years ago. I believe it was due to me starting rock climbing, cramming my feet into tiny shoes and excessive use of my calves? My surgeon says there are no major risks with the surgery but wanted a second opinion.

I am currently very active, managing to cycle and run (3miles max) with no problems. I was wondering on average how long it would take before I can be back cycling and running after the surgery/the work involved to get there? I know I need to do it but am dreading the thought of spending months unable to train! I also have a reasonably physical job working in a warehouse doing admin and picking/ packing orders.

I was also wondering how long it would be approx until I was able to return to work?




Joshua Answers:

Hi Ash.

It's been a few months since you submitted this, what's happened since then? Did you get Achilles surgery?

Excessive and/or sudden excessive use of the calves can certainly start a Pain Causing Dynamic that would kick in the tendonitis dynamic.

Regardless of the kind of Tendonitis involved, it's a very predictable mechanism with a finite amount of causes. Overuse or use when the structures aren't ready for it or strong enough for it or even used to it is definitely one of those causes.

See: What Is Tendonitis to fully understand what we're talking about here.

Whether you've had surgery or not, you'll want to understand, since surgery doesn't eliminate, or even begin to reduce the CAUSE of Achilles tendonitis.

"I was wondering on average how long it would take before I can be back cycling and running after the surgery/the
work involved to get there?"

It depends on how invasive the surgery is. It depends on how 'bad' your Achilles Tendonitis currently is.

I do know it takes more work to rehab an achilles surgery that it takes to deal with it yourself without surgery.

"I know I need to do it.."

I challenge that belief. For a variety of reasons you'll find across this site, including potential downsides, the injury and trauma it causes to the system, it's inability to reduce the tendonitis dynamic, etc.

I'd put effective self care over the unicorn of 'surgery fixes everything and doctors say there's no danger nor downsides' any day.

You have Achilles Tendonitis Symptoms for a very specific set of reasons, reasons that surgery can't touch.


1. Give me an update on what's happening with your Achilles situation.

2. How bad was it/how bad is it now? Details, details, details.

3. What else did your doctor/surgeon say?

4. What if any self care have you done, and how much/how little did that help?

5. Describe your achilles tendodonitis symptoms, the more detail, broad and specific, the better.

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.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Jan 30, 2013
Cast away
by: Ash

Went in today to have my cast removed, after examination the surgeon decided that I did not need an air cast. He was happy for me to begin walking on it and mobilising (gently of course).

Still a significant amount of swelling but have been given some massage exercises to do to help this. The wound has healed really well and the surgeon has given me the all clear to begin swimming tomorrow also, which I am very happy about!

However he still hasn't cleared me as fit to return to work until Feb 15th, 2013 which is a bit annoying as sick pay isn't great! I took your advice and ordered some magnesium tablets to supplement my diet, which arrived in the post this morning. So will have to see how it goes.


Joshua Comments:

Ease into it, that's for sure.

Start ice dipping!

Keep us updated.

Jan 28, 2013
by: Ash

No it definitely could have been far worse an operation, but I still had to have a small piece of tendon removed. Yep the build up was definitely where the most pressure would have been exerted from my climbing shoes. The lump was right on the back of my calcaneus at the most prominent point (if that makes sense?).

It could be linked to my nutrition, but I eat a well balanced diet to support my activities. I'm not a big fan of supplements so try to get all of my nutrients from food sources, trying to incorporate as much variety in my diet as possible, but will definitely consider it as I have experienced the muscle spasms described on in the magnesium section.

Cast comes of Wednesday so can give you an update on progress etc then if you like?

Thanks again



Joshua Comments:

Hi Ash.

Yes, that made sense.

Yes, definitely do update.

The 'well balanced diet to support my activities' may or may be accurate, but that opens up a whole other conversation.

My general belief these days is that with rare exception, we don't get enough nutrition from our diets (nor calories in conjunction with our exercise levels, depending on the individual).

Anyhoo, please do keep updateing. I'm always curious, and there will be rock climbers behind you curious too for their own situations.

Jan 27, 2013
Update on surgery to remove caclium build up from climbing shoes
by: Ash

My symptoms were stiffness after long periods of exercise and in the cold and most shoes caused pain as they felt they were cutting into my tendon no matter how cushioned.

I decided to go ahead with the surgery as the doctor spotted an abnormal piece of tissue on x-ray's and ultrasounds. I had the surgery on 2/1/13, it was discovered that there was some calcification behind the tendon. I was told this is known as a 'pump bump'. Which was caused by cramming my feet into tiny shoes for climbing. The lump was removed along with a small piece of the tendon.

Am now well in to the recovery phase with my cast coming off on Wednesday, which will follow up with me being fitted with a flexible cast for another 4 weeks. Initially it was extremely sore, but now I am fully weight bearing. Standing/ walking short distances with no crutches. I had a new cast fitted two weeks post op and the surgeon was pleased with the healing.

Thanks again



Joshua Comments:

So all they did was slip in there and carve off the calcium build up?

That doesn't sound too invasive (as compared to other tendon repair/removal scenarios).

And if that calcium was the exact spot where the climbing shoes were digging into your tissue, that makes a lot of sense. The body forms itself to the forces placed upon it.

One of those forces is lack of magnesium, which causes the body to express calcium in various ways. Magnesium For Tendonitis

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