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achilles injury - how long to heal?

(13 Posts)
ThatVikRinA22 Sun 14-Aug-11 20:56:06

i have had an achilles injury now for about 6 weeks - and its not getting any better.

i have completely stopped running, am only doing gentle exercise or upper body.

ive had sports therapy massage on it. Therapist says it is swollen.

i have had my running gait assessed and have trainers to suit.

every morning its stiff as a board and i have to hobble down stairs. its does ease up wiith use but i want to start running again and i will have to start again soon as i have a fitness test to pass.

i am starting to panic that it will never go away. Does anyone have any advice please?

rosie39forever Mon 15-Aug-11 16:53:41

It will get better, I ruptured my achilles a few years ago and had to have physio for six months. The only way to repair it is to re-stretch it, start by standing in the bottom step of the stairs with the ball of your foot on the step and your heel hanging over the edge and gently lower your heel to stretch the tendon, do this 12 times, rest for a minute and then repeat for another two sets, when you've done this put your foot up and ice the tendon. You will have to do this twice a day untill you start to find it easy, if you need to stretch it more put a ruck sack on your back with some weight in it (tins of beans will do) and gradually increase the weight. Mine took a good six months to heal and i still have to give it a good stretch before and after exercise. Hope you feel better soon

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 15-Aug-11 19:55:11

oh blimey! 6 months!!?

so does that mean i cant run for 6 months?

rhetorician Mon 15-Aug-11 20:02:56

Vicar not necessarily, but it's an injury that you have to respect - a torn achilles is a real risk, and will have you off your feet for about 6 months. Rosie's advice is spot on, I found lots of icing helped (500ml water bottle, in freezer, roll it up and down the tendon with a small amount of pressure). It's generally an overuse injury and/or to do with stiff calves, so you need to do soleus and gastrocnemius stretches too.

I had problems some while back, but slowed down, built mileage more slowly, stretched calves and make sure that I change my shoes regularly. I've had no difficulty this year <touches wood> and I've run about 1000 miles so far. It's a tricky one - can you do other kinds of exercise instead?

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 15-Aug-11 20:07:43 to get the bottle out the freezer (someone already advised that before - may have been yourself! if so thanks!)

i will do some more stretching daily and keep it on ice as much as possible.

i am doing some cycling and upper body stuff - i just miss running, im putting on weight and im panicking about the fitness test which involves running!

but thank you....i will start treating it a little more aggressively.

rhetorician Mon 15-Aug-11 20:19:10

when you say 'therapist', what do you mean? does s/he have any advice - presumably you could work out that it's swollen yourself hmm? the thing to feel for is little nodules, those are scar tissue, usually. Does it creak (kind of)? and I assume it's one only - if so there might be gait issues. You could try very gentle walk/run.

I'd go and see a physio, myself.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 15-Aug-11 21:14:31

sports massage therapist - at a sports injury clinic.

no i couldnt work out it was swollen myself - it just hurt and yes it was gait issues - which is why i have had my gait assessed and bought running shoes that suit - i have an over pronation....but i did the damage before i got the new shoes.
it doesnt creak. it just hurts and its very stiff on a morning and quite painful.
i should go see a gp i guess now then if its going to need physio

rhetorician Mon 15-Aug-11 21:22:36

they are tricky things - presumably it hurts if you pinch it? don't know if you need a physio, just if it's not getting better with rest and icing? can you self-refer?

MinnieBar Mon 15-Aug-11 21:24:53

I have something similar - although mine isn't especially stiff in the morning, it just hurts occasionally - and my friend who is a physio broke down the scar tissue through massage on 2/3 separate occasions (which bloody hurt). That was over two months ago and it's still sore. I haven't tried to run on it at all, I'm trying to strengthen it with a combination of core stability and balance exercise and swimming (for general strength also).

Sorry not to give the answer you want, I'm fed up with mine, but I think it's definitely a case of go slowly and carefully.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 15-Aug-11 21:25:21

i really wish i had taken it a bit steadier and got the gait assessed first....sad

dont think i can self refer - but a quick trip to gp should start the ball rolling. its not getting better with rest or ice, so its probably time i went and got it checked out, thanks!

Joolyjoolyjoo Mon 15-Aug-11 21:32:08

You have my sympathies- I am just back from seeing sports physio with a calf injury. Apparently I have partially torn my calf muscle where it inserts onto the achilles. I injured it 10 days ago, and am already climbing the walls! My physio also mentioned stretching exercises like the off the stair one (although apparently not yet, for me) He also said after the acute phase of the injury heat can be better than ice, as it increases blood flow into the area. He did say I could be looking at up to 10-12 weeks though sad BUT he also said once my walking becomes normal again (hopefully in a couple of weeks) I can do some gentle cycling/ swimming, so it's not all bad (well, not as bad as sitting around doing nothing and putting on a stone)

He did say if the exercises weren't working might need to see a GP. Are you taking any anti-inflammatories?? I have started setting my alarm earlier, taking some NSAIDs then dozing for a bit till they kick in- only way I can bear getting up in the morning, as that is when it is sorest! Physio has also suggested I use that time to do some gentle stretching/ wiggling before I get up, so going to give that a go. Fingers crossed for both of us!

Pendulum Mon 15-Aug-11 21:37:32

I have a similar problem with a different tendon- the one that supports the foot arch and wraps around the ankle (called the posterior tibialis apparently). I did the Reading half marathon in March but since then have only managed to run a handful of times. At the moment it even hurts to walk, and it's not getting any better.

My physio has diagnosed it and recommended some rehabilitation measures, so this week I have decided to take assertive action instead of pretending it isn't happening:

- no exercise at all (have even stopped swimming) and as little walking as possible (this is very difficult. I usually walk everywhere)

- I have some strapping on the tendon and am wearing walking boots whenever possible (to stabilise the ankle and tendon)

- I've put heel inserts (from Boots) into my shoes

- regular ibuprofen and icing

Like you vicar I am putting on weight without my 20 miles a week and feeling grumpy. But without resting it completely, I think there's a big risk of causing the type of damage that could stop me running for ever. Am pleased to see posts on here from people who have recovered from tendon problems.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 15-Aug-11 21:44:14

its just such a pain, i was really enjoying and getting into running, much more than the gym.

i do have some diclofenac, from a back problem a while ago - i should perhaps try them for this.

i will get my finger out and make an appointment to see a gp i think - i am just frustrated that its taking so long to go!

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