I’ve still got a bit of pain when walking (minimal) and not running (boo!). But I wanted to say it isn’t all bad and there are ways to keep your fitness and help with recovery whilst recovering from Achilles tendinitis.
Between my two bouts of Achilles Tendinitis I did manage to get some runs in (5k, 10k, 7.5k and 5.5k) before my injury reprised and I feared the worst and a even longer lay-off.
Achilles Tendinitis isn’t something I am new to, its happened before, not always while I’ve been a runner either. But I’ve always taken it as rest for 3-4 weeks and do absolutely nothing – no walking, definitely no running and no going to the gym. I have been so lucky to be able to see a Physio through work and he has really helped me to keep my fitness and sanity whilst not being able to run.
I can still cycle, cross-train, strength-training and anything I want to just trying to minimise the amount of stress I put on my foot! He also recommended that I keep as much weight off my foot as possible by using a crutch for any walks over 10mins. I was amazed what I could still do. I found myself doing over 30mins on the cross-trainer and 10k’s on the bike completely pain free – I was no longer mournfully looking at the treadmills longing to jump on!
If you are suffering I would always recommend you seeing a specialist to have any injuries assessed properly, this was just to say that you don’t have to sit and do nothing if you can’t run.
Seeing my physio and he gave me a few exercises to do, both to improve the strength of my Achilles but to also enable us to assess the progress of it.
First thing he did was use an ultrasound machine to massage the Achilles and local area, followed by a deep massage around the area and calf. He confirmed that the area was really tight. Ultrasound was only done on the first couple of appointments, thereafter we continued with the deep massages.
1 – using a theraband around the top of my foot and extending it out as far as I could, then retracting it as far towards my knee as possible. Initially I found this really tough and a bit painful to do, but also found that this helped quite a lot to ease any pain.
x3 sets per day, 10-15 reps each set.
2 – heel raises. These were particularly tough to do straight after my injury. Started by doing dual heel raises (both feet at the same time), generally a bit easier. Then once the pain has subsided a bit doing single foot heel raises – I could only do these after about a week or so, otherwise pain was too great and I didn’t have the strength in my foot.
The idea here is to keep your knees locked back as much as possible – it makes it more difficult but rewards will be better.
x3 sets per day, 10 reps each set.
3 – Stretching. I found that my calf and Achilles were really tight and I could barely bend my knee.
3.1 – bench knee bends – Foot flat on a bench or bed, both feet pointing forward and stretching my knee as far forward as I can while keeping my heel flat to the bench, then retracting my knee the opposite way trying to keep my big toe flat to the bench. Trying to increase the stretch each time.
3.2 – door knee bends – Placing my big toe against a door and trying to touch the doorframe with my knee, interestingly, with my left (uninjured foot) I could get my toe a good two inches away from the wall and still touch the wall with my knee. With my right foot, I couldn’t even touch the wall with my toe up against it.
3.3 – lying knee stretch – traditional laying down and bringing my knee up to my chest as close as possible.
Usually I’ve been told I could be out for months with Achilles pain, however by doing the above I’ve found that my recovery time has come down to a couple of weeks until I am walking pain free. Also having the ability to still go to the gym and spend a couple of decent hours working on the cardio machines and weights. I am very close to walking pain-free again now and I am looking for some advice on how to steadily progress back into running.
It’s been really hard these past few weeks knowing that the clock is ticking down to the Great North Run in early September, I have to thank the UkRunChat guys and girls for lots of support and sharing their preparations for similar events – it seems that I can still make a good effort on 11th September.
Also, I will be starting my Fundraising campaign for Royal Parks Half with #TeamBones in the next few weeks so i’ll be sharing my JG page lots!