Thursday, March 10, 2011

Achilles Tendonitis

So what is the Achilles tendon?
It is a cord connecting the heel to the calf muscle.

How do you know if you have Achilles tendonitis?
If you feel pain in that lower part of the calf - near where the cord is attached to the heel.

Do a test.
With  your thumb and forefinger, pinch along the Achilles tendon. Start down close to the heel and continue pinching, working your way up to where the tendon enters the calf muscle. If you feel a little swelling there, and a lot of pain, CONGRATULATIONS! You've got Achilles tendonitis.


A little explanation: the Achilles tendon is a cord connecting your calf muscle to your heel. It is a cord inside of a tube. This cord and its tube (sheath) stretch a bit, but not much. So if anything pulls too much on either end of that tendon, you will start feeling a lot pain.

What happens is the fluid between the tendon and its sheath expands, and there's less space for the tendon to move in. It all feels swollen and sore.

What is pulling on this tendon?
Two possibilities:  a calf muscle that is too short (running shorts the calf muscle);
and a heel that is too far away from the calf muscle.

Is there hope?
The first solution is quick and easy: put something under your heel to lift it up (bagels are not a good option)  so it won't be pulling down too hard.
Just stick a piece of sponge rubber, about 3/4-inch thick in  your shoes - in your running shoes and your daytime shoes.

Women can wear high-heeled (and mini-skirts) shoes during the day. But once you've corrected the tendonitis - don't wear high heels - they keep your calf muscle short.

The next prescription: stop running (eat potato chips and watch tv) for a few days to a couple of weeks until the pain is a lot better. Don't run, don't stretch. Later do the wall pushups.

A quick treatment: ice pack for 15 minutes .

When you go back to running, ice the tendons after each run, but not until you've done your stretching exercises.

At other times of the day, put a heating pad on the area to improve circulation and bring some blood to the area. Do this while you're getting fat sitting your arse in front of the tv worshiping your bagel's celebrities.  Also at bedtime.

Drugies: take two aspirins at each meal and two at bed time. (don't overdose) Don't take aspirin before running. Don't take aspirins if you have ulcers or are allergic to it.

Stretch: calves and hams. The more you run the more tighten and shorten the calf muscles a hamstrings become. Wall pushups will stretch the calf muscles. Knee press and foot on table will stretch the hams. Squats will stretch the Achilles tendon. Do these stretches before and after running.

Check your shoes: the heel lift should be 3/4-inch thick; and the flexibility at the ball of the foot.

What your foot's doing to your tendons. A sports-oriented podiatrist can tell you if your foot is contributing to the problem.

Running style: where you run and how you run makes a big difference in the amount of pull on the Achilles.

Cut out hill work until your problem clears up and your calf muscle is elongated.

Cutting the cord: surgery on the Achilles tendon.

Wall Pushups
Stand facing a wall - about two feet away from the wall. Rest palms of hands against the wall. Keep both feet pointing straight ahead. Slide one foot back, with the knee straight until you feel a burning or pulling sensation at upper part of the calf. Your heel stays flat on the floor. Hold ten seconds, then bend the knee of the back leg and hold for five seconds. Now switches legs and repeat.

Foot On Table
Stand in front of a table and put one foot on the table, knee   facing up. Keep both knees straight. bend over and hold the foot that's on the table with your right hand. Bring your nose as close to your knees as possible. Don't force it. Don't strain to make your nose touch your knee. Hold for ten seconds.
Now your right hand lets go of your foot, and your left hand holds it. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat with the other leg. Stretch each leg five times, alternating legs. If it is too difficult to put your leg on a table, put it on a chair.

Source: The Runner's Repair Manual by Dr Murray F Weisenfeld with Barbara Burr

3 comments:

I understand and wish to continue said...

HI HBM, TOO funny..
Thank god i hate potato chips and TV!!!!
I have worse than Achilles tendonitis..that's just a syptom of body not recovered after childbirth..i had physio today..$$$$ later and not much better.

Cheers A13

I understand and wish to continue said...

BTW, What the hell is that image you have used?
A13

Honk Bonk Man said...

I have a friend with similar problems. She has chronic back pain. I believe her babies were too big when they were born. It is, I thinhk, a picture of some nursing room in my local college. I have been too busy with work. No much time to post any messages. I hope you get better with your health issues. You need a good daily stretching routine.

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