Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Woe is Achilles

Typically, I don't blog about aches and pains I suffer from running because if I did, it would likely consume the entirety of my blog. I'm not sure why a lot of you come to read me, but I'm pretty certain it's not to hear me bellyache about which part of my body is hurting most recently.

That said, I'm perplexed with my latest self-imposed infliction. If I might be humored to explain what's going on, perhaps some of you may have some suggestions to pass along. You'll at least give me something to chew on until I'm able to get in touch with my physical therapist. (Speaking of which, would it kill him to return an e-mail??)

Last Wednesday, during my photo essay run, I was traversing down a rather rocky hill when I felt a pull in the back of my lower right calf. It was enough to make me stop and shake it out a bit, but I finished off the last couple of miles without trouble. Later that night, however, my achilles started complaining, so I dutifully iced it up just for good measure. I took a day off and when it still felt achy the next day I took another day of rest. By Saturday, it seemed I had things under control, so I went out for what I had hoped would be a good long training run in preparation for my marathon relay in two weeks. The first couple of miles felt pretty good, but gradually I started feeling some discomfort and long story made even longer, the discomfort turned to pain 6.5 miles in and I had to walk the remaining 2.5 miles home (in still a healthy dose of discomfort).

Immediately after getting home, I iced and swallowed down some ibuprofen, but my achilles swelled up with a noticeable circle-shaped lesion on my skin about the width of a tennis ball. It was red and tender and just plain ouch. Fast forward three days-off-from-running later... the swelling has gone down, but there's still tenderness and visible bruising. With the range of pain-free motion I have (I can stand on my tiptoes, flex my foot both ways, and even jump up and down), I'm sure I haven't ruptured the tendon. My guess is, because of the bruising, there must have been a partial tear? But I'm not feeling any kind of pain unless I actually touch the red spot. Tendonitis seems another possibility, but I understand that is much more progressive and this came on very suddenly.

So, I'm in a fix. I'm continuing to stretch, ice and ibuprofen (I'm using that as a verb since it's an action I take part in almost daily). I've even bought a heel lift, per an online suggestion, to help take some of the pressure off my achilles while it heals.

Obviously, I'm short on time as my relay is coming up quickly. As much as it kills me to do so, I'll keep resting if I know it will do some good. If it's more serious, however, I'd just as soon know now so I can start the mourning process of having to miss a race due to injury.

So, what say ye? Any words of experience and wisdom to shower down upon me? If not, I'll accept words of condolences any day.

I am, after all, the Greek Goddess of Bellyaching.


Anonymous said...

My advice: Don't push the red spot! I would keep resting/stretching/icing it until you feel no pain. Bellyache all you want, you deserve for your readers to listen to it for all of the great pictures of Idaho we got out of the deal. Hope you get better soon!

Allen said...

Oh, Angie, I'm really sorry to hear about your injury, Angie! Here is a good link on AT.


Stay away from hills, because hills cause you to land on your toes, causing your calves to stay contracted. Be sure you do the three calf stretches that are shown in my picture page of stretches. Tight calves are a common cause of AT.


Charlie said...

Hi Angie,

Could it be that your new shoes have been rubbing back there causing the pain? Just a thought...sometimes my new shoes will rub back there and I put a "blister" bandaid back there while running which seems to help.


Tall Girl Running said...


I'd suspect my new shoes were part of the problem if I actually HAD my new shoes! I'm still waiting for them to be delivered. Any day now... any day. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

Charlie said...

Angie, Sorry...nevermind then...don't know what could be causing it.

I thought you would have had your new shoes by now...Maybe you Will get them by Christmas! ;o)

See Zanne Run said...

it's your blog ... you can bellyache if you want to! i for one, will keep coming back for more & will certainly not judge you for your bellyaching! i hope you get this worked out!

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Yes! I have no advice. Except for maybe stretch. Sorry to hear about your injury but until it heals, You can bellyache all you want! I'll still read:)

Jim said...

Sorry your body is defying you. Just keep listening to it and don't do anything you know you shouldn't - like hanging out eating hot fudge sundaes. Can you power walk with no pain? Bike ride?

Joe said...

I've never had any problems with that part of my body so I can't offer any suggestions based on personal experience. However, I do have a few things to say.

First, as you may know from being a frequent visitor to my blog, I recently discovered the website SaveYourself.ca. I have found his numerous pain and injury articles to be helpful. He doesn't have an article on achilles tendon injuries, per se, but if you search his site, he does have some references to the word "achilles".

Second, I've heard that you do NOT want a ruptured achilles! So take it easy and consider taking a few more days off! My wife had a tight calf from previous run and she decided to run on it anyway a couple of days ago. You know what happened? She had an "oh shit" moment. She felt a "pop". She now has a grade 2 calf strain.

Lastly, the symptoms sound somewhat serious so maybe you should get it checked out by your PT.