Achilles tendinitis

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I've been struggling with Achilles tendinitis in my left ankle since I damaged it dancing in 2012. In August 2017 it got very bad and I was off work for 3 weeks, and have not really been normal since. In around October 2017 I damaged my right Achilles when I was cycling to work. Because the left was still not good, I had overworked the right one trying to compensate.

Now both have flared up at once, and I am at a loss for what to try.

Last year I tried physiotherapy, but this didn't work out well. The repetitive nature of physio exercises I think really irritates my tendons, and they just kept failing. There is certainly no way I can do the number of reps the physio wants me to be able to do!

The other major problem I keep running up against, in terms of getting taken seriously - I am not in much pain. When my tendons are starting to fail I feel a sensation of numbness and weakness, usually in one side of the ankle to start with. This gets stronger and stronger until I start limping and ultimately can't walk. If I force myself to walk then I start getting some pain, so obviously I stop forcing myself to do what is hurting me. Maybe I am just stopping activity before most patients would? Anyway, when I went to physios they were confused, because I didn't really feel any pain when they were manipulating and palpating my tendons to diagnose me. They went with Achilles tendinitis because of the location of the symptoms I do have.

Currently I am on crutches to try and offload a bit. Over the last 6 months my ankles have fluctuated quite a bit. I had periods when they improved and I started cycling to work again, then something that seems really minor happens, like I wore a smart pair of shoes for a day, or I had to push a bit on my bike to be safe in traffic, and they flare up again and everything is off. Sometimes I could do up to 10 double heel raises, but it never feels safe to do more, or try single raises. Can't do any of that at the moment!

I am a 38 year old woman. I am 164 cm tall and about 55 kg. My main exercise (when well) is cycling to work (it is only 15 minutes each way, and I don't go particularly fast), ballroom dancing (1 - 2 hours per week, but just as a hobby, not competitively or anything), gardening and walking at the weekends.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

My doctor says to rest, but I am worried that from how this is dragging on it is more serious.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear of your struggles, I suffered Achilles rupture so not quite what you have but recovery may be similar.  Keep foot elevated when resting, certain foods to help ligament repair, gentle stretches such as a book under your toes when you are in a standing position or the classic on the edge of a step with your toes and stretch those calves. A sports massage may help, should loosen up the calf muscles a bit. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Sharon,

    I know where you are coming from in that i had similiar problems in my 20[s and 30's due to cross country running. I would get really fit and run well and then tendonitis would start so then I would fit wedges in my shoe and stop running until it settled down again. Sometimes I would rest for 2 or three months and not race but it would always come back after a few months. The tendonitis problem went when I stopped the cause [running] and started to swim and cycle in my late thirties.  I think having long skinny feet, like mine, puts more stress on the tendon!

    Now at the age of 69 I ruptured my tendon, trying to stop a car that was rolling backwards, whether it ruptered because of my earlier tendonitis I dont know but I think it would have gone anyway because of my effort. My treatment has been immobilisation for two full weeks and then  in a boot with wedges for 6 weeks and taking a wedge out per week from week 4 onwards. My point is, that maybe you need to immobilise your foot for a week or two by wearing a boot and wedges which the hospital can provide. See your doctor and get him to perhaps sign you off work for a week or two and search for a top physio in achilles to help you.

    Good luck going forward, its a hard nut to crack.

     

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    • Posted

      ps,  Maybe give the ballroom a rest for a few months as that involves the tendon quite a bit.frown
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    • Posted

      Hi Breeze,

      Thanks very much for your response. I am so worried, I've found a lot of people online who only resolved the tendinitis by giving up the 'cause'. My causes are so low level, to give them up I will basically not be able to do any exercise at all sad.

      I am offloading at the moment using crutches, but this isn't full offloading. Seeing my GP this week so I will ask him about the boot option.

      Best of luck with your recovery as well, sounds very nasty!

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    • Posted

      Hi Sharon, It's awful having to stop what gives you pleasure and good exercise. Maybe complete isolation for you may work and hope it does. Have you looked at diet, Vitimin C and collagen might be worth a try and magnessiun, calcium and  glucosimin which I think is similiar to collagen.

      The exercise that Kevious suggests using the edge of a stair y raising your heel up and down with toes on edge of stairs. Do these slowly especially the coming down part. But if your doctor recommends these exercise do them very gently at first say 4 to 5 times no more than once every two days and build up slowly. Utube give demonstration of exercises for tendonitis. I've started to do them on my good foot because I dont want to rupture that.

      Yes, achilles rupture is a bad one to recuperate from but there is a good chance that you can recover well but it takes sooooolong.

      Good luck and let us know if you have any success.

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    • Posted

      ps. Of course before starting strenghtening exercises you will need to stabilise your pain first, which is not so easy for you by the look of things..Good luck
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    • Posted

      Thanks again Breeze. I will look into the diet. I already take an Osteocare supplement which includes calcium and magnesium.

      I have tried heel raises and drops with a physio for these problems previously. The physio told me not to continue if I felt excessive pain - I felt no pain at all, right up to the point I would feel a horrible sort of numb, melting sensation which I think was me re-tearing the tendon, so I am very cautious about doing those again. 

      I am seeing my doctor tomorrow, will see what he suggests and go from there. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Sharon,

      After reading your story again, your case does seem to be different to the normal where people get more pain at the start of tendonitis. Good luck with the doctor. Have you tried looking up an expert consultant in achilles tendon for a referral and full investigation. It seems like you need expert help.

      good luck.

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