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  1. #1
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    Brief Medical History Overview

    Achilles Tendon Ache

    Hi all,

    I'm a regular runner (4 times a week) and I'm in the middle of a marathon training plan. I've been increasing my long run mileage by no more than 1 mile a week and just over a week ago I ran 11 miles.

    Two days after this run I felt a stiffness in my right achilles tendon when I got out of bed in the morning. Being wary, I rested it for the rest of the week and omitted the next three runs - there was no pain after this initial stiffness and I started doing some eccentric calf strengthening exercises (heel raises) as a few sites online suggested this would help.

    Two days ago I went back out for my next long run (12 miles). I've had no real pain since then and I ran 3 miles again today, but I'm aware of a 'niggle' in both achilles tendons and a feeling that things aren't quite right.

    I am due to change my running shoes, which I'll be doing before my next run and also both the 11 and 12 mile long runs I did on snow, rather than on road as normal. could this have affected things?

    My question is basically whether this is something that I should be concerned about. I don't want to make things worse by running on the beginning of an injury, but I'm also anxious not to set back my marathon training unless absolutely necessary.

    Now that the snow has melted, I'm doing strengthening exercises and changing my running shoes... does this sound like something I should be taking more seriously?

    Any help is very much appreciated!
    Cheers
    Claire

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  2. #2
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    Re: Achilles Tendon Ache

    Hi Claire,

    I'm a 2nd Year Physio student with a background of Sports Science and Sports Massage.

    You don't mention a warm up, cool down or any stretches during your weeks training.
    A warm up prepares your muscles for your long runs. A cool down allows toxins and waste products (built up from the run) to be removed.

    Running shortens your muscles, meaning that the muscle fibres will not be at their optimum length for your training. Stretching prevents injuries and performed regularly helps your muscle fibres to move more efficiently.

    Stretching
    I suggest stretching your -
    Gastrocnemius, Soleus (calf), hamstrings, glutes, piriformis, hip flexors and quads. Your IT band may also be tight, so using a polystyrene roller will help.

    Eccentric Exercises -
    This will help strengthen your calf muscles, so good exercise.

    Sports massage - I am always being asked to do calf (usually tight soleus) and hamstring massages on other students. Especially when they increased their training prior to a half-marathon. It is an effective way of stretching and also addressing any problem areas you may have...or be developing.

    As for your running shoes - if you go to a specialist running shop they may be able to analyse your gait (walking and running techniques) so prescribing suitable running shoes for you. This will be a very wise investment as a correct pair will allow you to train regularly and hopefully prevent further injuries.

    So my limited experience recommends -
    1. Regular warming up and cooling down
    2. Regular stretching
    3. Buying new running shoes from a Specialist Running Shop (who can analyse your running gait).
    4. Sports massage on your calf and hamstrings....if possible

    Also ensure you hydrate regularly as this assists in prevention of soft tissue injuries.

    Good luck ; )


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    Re: Achilles Tendon Ache

    Hi Goosey,

    Thanks for the advice! I did get my gait analysed when I bought my current shoes, but that was a while ago and I figure I've done about 450 miles since then - I've heard that's about the time to get a new pair? I do do some warm up / cool down and stretching, but probably not as much as I should be doing (I have a tendency to just leave the house and run!), so I'll find some good stretches online and try and work a bit more on my warm up and cool down. I've had a couple of sports massages in the past, but not in the last few months, so I'll pick that up again as well.

    Do you reckon in the meantime that it would be okay to keep running, provided it doesn't get any worse?


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    Re: Achilles Tendon Ache

    Hi Claire,

    I think that it is ok for you to continue running, however I would say that a flat route would be best, so avoid hills or inclines (for a couple of weeks). I would also suggest, in the short term, running a shorter distance or reducing your speed, either will keep you training regularly, this will reduce the stress on your calf/achilles.

    I would also suggest (as a regular runner) that you change your shoes once a year because cushioning looses it's rebound capacity with frequent use.

    With your warm up.....I would suggest perhaps speed walking, then slow jogging and gentle skipping, gradually increasing your speed. This should help to warm your calf muscles and so prevent further injury. Cooling down is simply the reverse. Simple stretches after this will help to keep you running. Sports Injury Clinic website is a good site to find the stretches.

    Treat any niggles with PRICE, Prevention, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation....but hopefully you won't need to !!


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    Re: Achilles Tendon Ache

    Thanks Goosey, I'll give it a try and hopefully will stay injury free :-)



 

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