Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Achilles Last Stand...

Into the sun the south the north, at last the birds have flown
The shackles of commitment fell, in pieces on the ground...

Maybe as the massive weight of the commitment of the marathon left my shoulders my bio-mechanics did not fully adjust. Somewhere in the misguided madness of the marathon my left achilles tendon got extremely inflamed and sore to the touch. I have been taking ungodly amount of ibuprofen and icing every second of my free time with no discernible results. My inability to run over the past ten days has led to a rather maddening and pathetic sort of cabin fever. Scrubbing the bathtub with a toothbrush burns a lot of energy but I would rather be laying down some serious base for the fall. Last night I attempted a rather difficult mountain bike excursion that left me ailing today. Granted I probably should not have raced to the "top of Keene" and back but I can't ride a bike any other way.

So I guess I am asking for an all hands on deck with this one. Please comment with any helpful advice to get me over the hump and back on the road.



  1. Hey Mark - I too am unable to run because of Achilles problems. I recently saw a sports medicine specialist. There are a few take home points from her and my additional research:

    1. Avoid any running while the Achilles is irritated. Achilles are one of those things that can become a chronic problem and even end a career. It's better to take the time off now rather than months (or more) later.

    2. If it's not ruptured then it is most commonly 4-6 weeks to recover. It can be less but the most common mistake is trying to come back too quickly.

    3. The primary exercise for Achilles rehabilitation is slow heel dips while standing on a stair (eccentric loading). It seems counter intuitive but it works so long as you don't overdo it.

    4. You can cross train (especially swimming) as long as it doesn't irritated the Achilles - check to see if it is worse the next day after doing/adding anything. Consider gently heating before activity can be useful.

    5. Gentle stretching after activity and before icing.

    6. Be careful with the Ibuprofen as too much, for too long can have detrimental effects on your kidneys.

    Good luck and hopefully we'll both be building base two weeks from now. Nice job at VMC by the way.

  2. Hi Mark,

    I agree with everything Daniel said and would add one thing: go get your achilles checked out by a chiropractor. My achilles flared up while training for Boston and seeing the chiro helped alot. He saw that part of the issue was my calves were very tight and putting strain on the achilles. Chiro treatment (or massage) can loosen up the calves and may decrease the strain on your achilles. Good luck and great race.


  3. Hi Mark,

    Don Foucher here. I'm an older road runner and running blog junkie. I suffered from achilles issues two years ago, and like you, it was not a tear. After rounds of PT...ultrasound, massage, eccentric calf loading, etc, I found my way to Spaulding Rehab in Wellesley. They performed PRP treatment, which is platelet Rich Plasma. Google it if you're not too familiar with it, but it worked for me! I described it in detail on my blog. The platelet treatment triggers super charged healing, which hurts like hell, but I was running after 3 weeks. I was short distance runner years ago, who is trying to run a Boston qualifier, and so far my training is going well since the procedure.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Thanks for the help and support on this topic. More than anything I am growing frustrated with the lack of progress. I am getting a massage this week and am seeing my chiropractor. Riding my mountain bike continues to be a detriment so I am going to switch to swimming. I will keep everyone posted over the next couple of weeks.