Achilles Tendon Injury

11:30 a.m. on June 12, 2018 (EDT)
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Uh-oh. I have the dreaded injury. 

I am about 5 weeks out. Every time I start feeling better, too many miles and re-injury. Today I am starting PT.  Anyone have advice or experiences to share ?

This is very slow to heal and debilitating. 

8:36 p.m. on June 12, 2018 (EDT)
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No advice or experience, just support from afar...hang in there and I hope it heals quickly with the PT.

11:15 p.m. on June 12, 2018 (EDT)
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What’s working for me is ice, anti-inflammatories, a lot of gentle stretching, and rest. I also wear hiking shoes more often than boots because there’s almost no pressure on downhills. When I do wear boots, ones with a lower cut or deeper notch at the back are better - my Fugitives are much less painful than my Caminos. 

10:23 a.m. on June 13, 2018 (EDT)
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Thanks for the response Phils.  Visitng my excellent pysical therapist was almost a spiritual experience.  Same guy that rehabed my busted femur.  He started working my foot all over the place and looseneing up the lower leg.  His first question was "where are you going backpacking this year?"  He is very skilled with his hands.  He worked on the calf muscle and the knot in the Achilles started to get smaller.  Then a bunch of stretching. He is the magic man.  Only micro tears was the prognosis.  "Take it easy for a week, then start walking on level ground.  In two weeks start climbing hills."

Sometimes we need professional help. 

7:58 p.m. on June 13, 2018 (EDT)
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Glad to hear you're making progress. My PT over the years has very much emphasized proper form. Once my alignment goes out the window, I stop the activity.

8:39 p.m. on June 13, 2018 (EDT)
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I am a big fan of icing lower limbs that have these problems, immediately following physical activity.  At our age dry synovial membranes can act up; try getting your health practitioner to recommend a joint/tendon lubricant (e.g. chondroitin).

I would not recommend oral NSAIDs.  Oral NSAIDs should only be used for episodic circumstances lasting a month or less.  Your problem probably will go on for many months.  Indefinite or extended use can cause damage to your stomach.  If NSAIDs work, try switching to a topical anti-inflammatory. Last fall I fractured a rib.  It was more painful than any other rib fracture I experienced (it took four months to heal) The doc prescribed a topical anti-inflammatory ointment - Diclofenac Sodium Topical Gel, 1%.  If GREATLY reduced the discomfort.  Should anti-inflammation products make you more comfortable, you still will want to take it easy, and ease very slowly back into your routines, as the Achilles is a difficult injury to heal.

Ed

9:05 p.m. on June 13, 2018 (EDT)
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I know a few people who swear by red LED light for soft tissue injuries. I haven’t tried it, I doubt it’ll hurt but if it doesn’t work it’ll prolong the injury. 

11:05 a.m. on June 14, 2018 (EDT)
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I have been using the RICE protocol.  I have been injured a lot and demoralized by this injury because it seemed so slow to heal.  We use the red LED lights on horse ligaments.  It seems to really help the older ones.  DMSO provides some relief. One visit to a great PT changed my whole outlook. 

10:38 p.m. on June 14, 2018 (EDT)
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Best advise just listen to the PT and listen to him and follow his guidelines...To many patients think they know better than their care giver....

5:46 a.m. on June 15, 2018 (EDT)
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 I had a back injury and sciatica last year that took me off the trail for an extended period. I understand the frustration and am glad that the PT is helping that too...as important as the physical healing.

10:29 a.m. on June 15, 2018 (EDT)
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i'm assuming you have tendinitis or a minor tear, because a major or full tear usually requires surgery and months in a boot, then a soft cast. for what you have, it sounds like you are doing everything you can. resist the temptation to get active before you're ready.  

i had a significant case of achilles tendinitis years ago, and I have recurring tendinitis in my left ankle (posterior tibial). the latter is bad right now after a softball double-header last night; batting 8 for 9 and a walk is very satisfying, but running the bases on a hard infield in cleats inflicts a lot of abuse.

Rest, ice, anti-inflammatories are the normal treatment, plus i get reminded to opt for supportive footwear b/c sandals and cleats offer little or no support and make it worse.    

November 13, 2019
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