Achilles Tendon injuries

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by dknotty, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    I've managed to injure my Achilles a couple of days ago. Walking is somewhat uncomfortable.

    Anyone else had this? How long does it take for these injuries take to heal?
     
    #1
  2. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    There are many recent threads on Achilles and other tendon injuries. See especially the tables by CharlieFedererer that give healing times for tendon injuries. It's longer than a few weeks for tendon injuries. The early healing is very important.

    The goal is to avoid chronic tendinosis or defective healing by avoiding stress while the tendon is healing.
    Read the first paper short paper in reply #1 and the longer one in reply #15, it mentions Achilles injuries, I believe.
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=442912

    It is very informative to search common tennis injuries. You will find a few injuries described in detail that cover the majority of those injuries complained about on this forum, including Achilles injuries.

    Please stop stressing it, especially with tennis. See a Dr for a diagnosis and treatment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
    #2
  3. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    #3
  4. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    For anyone interested the full article is here.

    Very unhappy to read that it is months rather than weeks. Perhaps I'll be able to get back to gentle knocking sessions in 2-3 weeks rather than be out of all activities for months. Not sure I could bear that :(
     
    #4
  5. GMay

    GMay New User

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    I can confirm that for a full no-pain recovery it will be several months. I injured mine in a cardio-boot camp class last Fall. It just sort of hurt and then got progressively worse to the point that walking in flats was quite painful and any sort of pushing off it in tennis was also painful --- running for the ball and serving were the worst. I went to PT and got stretches to do for it, also learned how to tape it with KT tape. That helped some but it still hurt. When I went to Asia for work for three weeks and then did not play for a week or two after getting home is when it really began to feel better.

    But be warned, it will start to feel better and you go back to your normal activity and it is easy to re-injure. That is what happened to me. I now wear heel lifts in my shoes and use the KT tape on it everytime I play and it is petty much better with only occassional stiffness in the morning when I get out of bed.
     
    #5
  6. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    An Achilles tendon injury affects professional and amateur athletes alike.

    The Achilles tendon is one of the longer tendons in your body, stretching from the bones of your heel to your calf muscles. You can feel it -- a springy band of tissue at the back of your ankle and above your heel. It allows you to extend your foot and point your toes to the floor.

    Unfortunately, it's a commonly injured tendon. Many Achilles tendon injuries are caused by tendinitis, in which the tendon becomes swollen and painful. In a severe Achilles tendon injury, too much force on the tendon can cause it to tear partially or rupture completely.
    What Can Cause Achilles Tendon Injuries?

    An Achilles tendon injury might be caused by:

    Overuse
    Stepping up your level of physical activity too quickly
    Not stretching enough before exercise
    Wearing high heels, which increases the stress on the tendon
    Problems with the feet. An Achilles tendon injury can result from flat feet, also known as fallen arches or overpronation. In this condition, the impact of a step causes the arch of your foot to collapse, stretching the muscles and tendons.
    Muscles or tendons in the leg that are too tight

    Achilles tendon injuries are common in people who participate in these sports:

    Running
    Gymnastics
    Dance
    Football
    Baseball
    Softball
    Basketball
    Tennis
    Volleyball

    You're more likely to tear an Achilles tendon when you start moving suddenly. For instance, a sprinter might get one at the start of a race. The abrupt tensing of the muscle can be too much for the tendon to handle. Men older than age 30 are particularly prone to Achilles tendon injuries.
    What Does an Achilles Tendon Injury Feel Like?

    Symptoms of an Achilles tendon injury are:

    Pain along the back of your foot and above your heel, especially when stretching your ankle or standing on your toes. In tendinitis, pain may be mild and worsen gradually. If you rupture the tendon, pain can be abrupt and severe.
    Tenderness
    Swelling
    Stiffness
    Hearing a snapping or popping noise during the injury
    Difficulty flexing your foot or pointing your toes (in complete tears of the tendon)

    To diagnose an Achilles tendon injury, your health care provider will give you a thorough physical exam. He or she may want to see you walk or run to look for problems that might have contributed to your Achilles tendon injury.
    What's the Treatment for an Achilles Tendon Injury?

    As debilitating as they can be, the good news is that minor to moderate Achilles tendon injuries should heal on their own. You just need to give them time.

    To speed the healing, you can:

    Rest your leg. Avoid putting weight on your leg as best you can. You may need crutches.
    Ice your leg. To reduce pain and swelling, ice your injury for 20 to 30 minutes, every three to four hours for two to three days, or until the pain is gone.
    Compress your leg. Use an elastic bandage around the lower leg and ankle to keep down swelling.
    Elevate your leg. Prop you leg up on a pillow when you're sitting or lying down.
    Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs have side effects, such as an increased risk of bleeding and ulcers. They should be used only occasionally unless your health care provider says otherwise and should be taken with food.
    Use a heel lift. Your health care provider may recommend that you wear an insert in your shoe while you recover. It will protect your Achilles tendon from further stretching.
    Practice stretching and strengthening exercises as recommended by your health care provider.

    Usually, these techniques will do the trick. But in severe cases of Achilles tendon injury, you may need a cast for six to 10 weeks, or even surgery to repair the tendon or remove excess tissue.

    pg2

    When Will I Feel Better?

    Of course, what you really want to know is when you can get back in the game. Recovery time may take months, but it really depends on how serious your Achilles tendon injury is. Different conditions heal at different rates.

    You can still be active while your injury heals. Try a new activity that won't aggravate your Achilles tendon such as swimming.

    Don't rush things. Do not try to return to your old level of physical activity until:

    You can move your leg as easily and freely as your uninjured leg.
    Your leg feels as strong as your uninjured leg.
    You feel no pain in your leg when you walk, jog, sprint, or jump.

    If you start pushing yourself before your Achilles tendon injury is fully healed, you could wind up with permanent pain and disability.
    How Can I Prevent an Achilles Tendon Injury?

    There are things you can do to prevent an Achilles tendon injury. You should:

    Always stretch your leg muscles and Achilles tendons before and after exercise -- more often if your muscles and tendons are tight.
    Cut down on uphill running.
    Wear shoes with good support that fit well.
    Always increase the intensity of your physical activity slowly.
    Stop exercising if you feel pain or tightness in the back of your calf or heel.

    Your Welcome

    _____________________
     
    #6
  7. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    I originally tweaked it 4 months ago. It was just starting to feel normal again when I slipped and fell badly on wet grass hurting it again (together with spraining my ankle). Its definitely better today then 3 days ago but it feels very tight and it gets sore when I walk for any period.

    Did you take it easy when you started playing tennis upon returning from Asia?
     
    #7
  8. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Thank you. I did read that before you posted it. Swimming isn't really appealing :-?

    I was interested in hearing some people's actual experiences.
     
    #8
  9. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Playing on an achilles that is not fully healed or is in any way still inflamed puts you at higher risk for achilles RUPTURE, something you really wouldn't like very much. Proceed very cautiously
     
    #9
  10. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Calf muscles are used all the time so resting may take some treatment.

    You should have a well qualified Dr diagnose the nature of your Achilles injury. The Dr can tell you what to do based on a firm diagnosis.
     
    #10
  11. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I had a minor one and the first thing you should do is change your shoes (even to the same model, but new ones like my CB's 4.3 etc. Or from my walking sandals to Asiscs gel tennis shoes etc.)

    GL!
     
    #11
  12. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Just been to the doctor who seemed to think the Achillies isn't too bad. He's suggested a few exercises and thinks I should be able to make a slow return t physical stuff in a couple of weeks.
     
    #12
  13. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    Chas
    "resting may take some treatment"??? What exactly does that mean?
     
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  14. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    No problem,,,:)

    As too calf muscles , I popped 2 ligs on one leg and one lig on another while playing matches, a couple weeks apart, I finished and won the matches, simply didnt chase down balls and hit better. The finishing touch on 2 ligs I felt pop was the player blistered a flat serve up the tee-deuce side (i was in the center to receive) I hit a backhand against his serve, it went back so fast(hit 2 feet in from side line and 3 ft from baseline) alls he could do was watch it hit in , game, set match..season over.last match of the season. I limped back to my car and went home...:), the leg with 2 popped ligs was 2x bigger than the other leg.

    I dropped B7's-too heavy and went with yonex 308's and 254D shoes, all good.

    As too therapy, I lean against the wall put one foot forward about 12 inches, important keep the other leg under your shoulder, this gives a light stretch, do it several times switching legs-about 3 times a day,,this really helped me out. I got this therapy from a MD on line, it works. My legs are all good now. Oh muscles are made of protein,,step up protein in your diet, I eat protein bars religiously with vitamins of course.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
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  15. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I don't know. I do recall that some people have been treated with boots to reduce stress, maybe Achilles or calf injury. ? Other things such as orthotics or night boots. ? But I can't recall the specifics and am not qualified to find treatments. A well-qualified Dr should diagnose and prescribe the treatment.

    It appears that the Dr, after examining the OP, says that the injury is not too bad. That's what we hope to hear.

    Now that the injury is diagnosed the OP should research what he can learn about the specific injury and its location - at heel insertion or higher up, etc.

    He can look into life style and posture issues that may have contributed to his injury. After his treatment and recovery and he is cleared by the Dr he can do preventive conditioning, especially for his calves. Information on calf conditioning exercises intended for healthy calves is described in several threads. Posture is a complex issue. A head-to-toe posture examination is good for avoiding future injuries for more than just the calves.

    The 2 calf muscles (Soleus & Gastrocnemius) connect to the Achilles and the Achilles, through the heel, connects to the 'plantar fascia' on the bottom of the foot. The same forces are transmitted along the calves, the Achilles and the plantar fascia. Three common tennis injuries to these tissues have been associated with tight/short calf muscles.

    Achilles Injury. I had very mild, occasional Achilles pain for a few months. I took it easy, stretched gently and was ready to quit tennis had the pain increased. Pain decreased and went away.

    Plantar Fasciitis. Another injury closely related to Achilles injuries, is plantar fasciitis. My PF injury slowly got worse for about 10 months. I finally took off completely for 3 months and gently stretched, also tried to wear a night boot for PF but the boot design hurt my toe area. The night boot keeps the calf lengthened to help healing of the 'plantar fascia'. The PF has not returned in, say, 4-5 years.

    Calf Muscle Tear/Rupture A third injury associated with tight/short calves muscles is a torn calf muscle, 'tennis leg'. I have not had that injury.

    I regularly stretch my calves for both Soleus (bent knee stretch) and Gastrocnemius (straight knee stretch).
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
    #15
  16. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    The information on this board has been really helpful so far and while the news so far is good, I'll definitely be working on strengthening and resting the Achilles tendons after I'm back on the court.
     
    #16
  17. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

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    2 injuries to the same area in a relatively short amount of time.

    Stretching and strengthening may be fine, but believe me you've got some soft tissue restrictions/tightness in your calves.

    The above two may be enough to relieve your symptoms, may not.

    Might want to investigate on how to reduce those restrictions by yourself or have someone like a massage or physical therapist get in there and work out any restrictions with their hands/tools.

    Aid in speeding up your recovery.

    Good luck.
     
    #17
  18. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I have a tear in my Achilles tendon that I've been dealing with for over 3 years. It really didn't get any better for a long time. The thing that turned it around (and it still isn't all the way well) was taping my ankle first thing in the morning and keeping it taped all day. That way I didn't keep re-injuring it by the everyday motions that the foot goes through - as well as stepping in a hole. Also, a boot or sock that keeps your ankle at a 90 degree angle while sleeping is very helpful (I found the sock thing at a running store), especially with some magnets around the Achilles.
     
    #18
  19. Champs990411

    Champs990411 Rookie

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    Tape it how exactly?
     
    #19
  20. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Youtube is your friend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7OAD4zIBos

    I've been using this tape on my sprained ankle for gentle tennis (all I can do at the moment) and it does contribute to stability.
     
    #20
  21. srvnvly

    srvnvly Professional

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    I'm a little over 6 weeks past rupturing my right Achilles tendon (full tear), 5 weeks past surgery. I started with a walking boot when it was first wrapped, 2 different casts: the first time the foot was casted (don't know if that is a word) in a sort of relaxed state; two weeks after that, it was set at almost 90 degrees, which hurt a lot to move things that had really tightened up after surgery. On the second cast, I could do light crutch walking. I had the second cast removed last week and went to putting more weight on the foot while crutch walking. I had my first PT appointment last night and, while I have stretches to loosen tendons and muscle, I am down to one crutch and wearing the boot only during the day at work, but I an actually walk better without it.

    I have a long way to go, but I don't plan on hitting until late Spring 2014 at the earliest. I may change my mind, as the surgeon said I could start playing this winter (no designation as to technically when during winter), but I can't fathom that right now.

    The PT guy said recurrence of this injury on the same foot is very low, but there is some psychological aspect that I will have to overcome when I go back out on court, and that is fear that it could happen again, same foot or not. I 'popped' my Achilles when it was 85 degrees and climbing during a USTA semi-final match.

    In the meantime, I am going to try driving this weekend, then keep putting a lot of work into stretching, walking as much as possible, swimming as soon as I can, and riding a stationary bike as soon as I can. Walking on to court again, to which I alluded, will be a mental barrier to get over; hopefully, there will be no problems, but again, that is a ways off.

    Just thought I'd share my severe injury story that just happened to also be Achilles tendon related. From what I can tell (asking different Drs and research online), there is not much you can do to prevent injury or a tear.

    Good luck with your recovery!
     
    #21
  22. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    I had a very mild achilles tendon issue for about maybe two months without knowing why I got it. 3 weeks ago i went to the doctor tired of that annoying not painful at all ( in fact I was able to play all thought that)small issue I could not figure out. Doct told me to get a heal plantar to all the shoes especially the daily ones, to apply ice twice and some stretching. today 3 weeks later I went out for a run( pushing the stroller) however wearing the heal plantar support and I was gladly surprised it was fine.
    So my suggestion is for those out there with a mild achilles tendon problem like mine to

    check your daily shoes make sure they are comfortable, not too heavy because that could be the cause of your problem like I think it was in my case........and adding a heal support never hurts

    get rid of your current tennis shoes because that could be another cause of the problem or at least wear the heal support....mine are gone...BTW they were adidas barricade 6
     
    #22
  23. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed. Ditch the shoes if you have heel pain. I always throw out the stock inserts now and replace with gel inserts when I buy a new pair of shoes.
     
    #23
  24. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    When you add a lift to the heel it causes the foot to be at a slightly different angle (more plantar flexed). That angle change shortens your calf muscles and reduces forces on your calf muscles and Achilles. (For a more extreme case of calf shortening, picture wearing high heels.)

    After your Achilles are pain free and back to normal consider your life style and what might be done to safely stretch your calves. Discuss with your Dr.

    Thread discussing plantar fasciitis and tight Achilles from life style. Don't stretch if injured without clearing with a Dr.
    I have since read that the Gastrocnemius has more fast twitch muscle fibers than the Soleus. The Gastrocnemius is the site of more calf muscle pulls. However, double check this information and consider the sources.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7604514&postcount=4
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
    #24
  25. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    Hi. So i have had to sit out a week of tennis recently, when i experienced achilles soreness/tendonitis. not sure which one to be honest. Just that aching feeling at the achilles area parallel to the ankle. So that being said, i went to Sports Authority and picked out the achilles brace. It works but its not perfect. Then i had the urge to go back and try on every ankle brace in the shop. I finally found the holy grail of supports. The McDavid ankle strap. MCDAVID Level 2 Ankle Support w/ 
figure-8 straps
    432R
    From $24.99
    This is the single best ankle/achilles solver i have ever tried on. I played some great tennis tonight with this bad boy on. It is the next best thing to taping your foot and ankle up with several layers of that stretchy medical tape. And it takes seconds to administer. Trust me this thing rocks. Please, if you are in pain, try this bad boy on and get back to me, and thank me. Or publicly trash me if it does not work for you. But either way, please try it if you are having pains. Thanks, Dan.
     
    #25
  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Spam, spam, spam.
     
    #26
  27. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    Lies

    Lies. Nadal does not use this brand.
     
    #27
  28. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    Is it suitable to be used as a preventative measure for those without any achilles issues?

    Will you continue to wear it after your injury heals?
     
    #28

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