Minor Achilles Pain

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by mikeler, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I have gone through a few pairs of the New Balance 655s now. Ever since I switched to a new pair of shoes a few weeks ago, I get some minor pain in my right Achilles heel after I play. The next day I don't feel anything. I tried adding some shoe inserts but that did not help. I'm wondering if I should simply switch shoes or try some insert like Superfeet Orange (which CharlieFedererer recommends). Any suggestions would be welcome.
     
    #1
  2. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Good example of why one should always give one's age when posing a medical question. This symptom in someone in his 20s is far less likely to be of consequence than in someone in his 50s (as with a doubles partner of mine who's now receiving PRP injection for a partially torn achilles tendon).
     
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  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Good point. I'll be 40 is less than 2 years.
     
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  4. drak

    drak Professional

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    Unfortunately i can relate (55 yrs old) to this as I have been battling a sore Achilles for a few months now. My self diagnosis is "insertional tendinopathy" after spending hours on the net researching, that is where the tendon attaches at the lower heel area. My most recent attempt appears to be working after 2 weeks of doing "eccentrics" twice daily, icing, Microcurrent therapy twice daily (I bought a device - $65), and some very good orthotics. The irritiation has now mostly gone away and I even hit for an hr with the wife yesterday and it got no worse.

    At this point I think if I stay with this program I am hopeful and expecting to be fully back to normal in 2-4 weeks, we'll see
     
    #4
  5. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    Orthotics can be a double edged sword. Those that elevate the heel, if worn too much of the time, will shorten the achilles tendon and make it more vulnerable to rupture when it has to extend.
     
    #5
  6. drak

    drak Professional

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    have no heel raise with orthotics, my left foot had some striking/weighting issues that was possibly causing probs, hopefully they correct that
     
    #6
  7. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Hi Mikeler,

    I can't say for sure what might be causing your pain. The pain sounds more related to the heel. My PF started that way. Minor pain the right Achilles heel. Guess what.. In my cause the pain and the PF was caused by the NB 655 shoes. I think (in may case), the lack of good heel padding and support did me in. When I was wearing those shoes, I always felt that my heels were lower then with other shoes. I had always worn, either KSwiss or Rebok and never had any issues with PF. Last year I got an outstanding buy (I thought) on the 655s.. and about a month into the outdoor season.. heel pain and then full blown PF. Do a search and see if you fit the profile. You do not want to get a full blown case of PF... it is the worst!!!

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=371446



    Good luck!
    Steve
     
    #7
  8. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    my 2 cents
    havent read all the posts:oops:
    have had bad achilles tendinitis
    if the new balance is a new brand of shoe for you go back to the brand you used with no problem
    i personally use new balance 804
    for the stability
    asics when i was a runner gave me severe achilles tendinitis

    doesnt matter what works for me
    if you changed brands or model numbers go back to what you used to use
     
    #8
  9. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Steve,

    I will be shoe shopping today! Thanks for the info. The 655s will be my walking shoes.
     
    #9
  10. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Good luck. As someone posted above, if you can go back to the shoes that worked for you in the past.. that is always a great place to start.
     
    #10
  11. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I looked around today at a few places. My problem is that I need 4E sizes which are hard to come by. I'll check another place out near my work at lunch.
     
    #11
  12. sixftlion

    sixftlion Rookie

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    Especially after playing tennis, stretch your calves and do calf myofascial release as well. I do it regularly, even when nothing is hurting on me, and I am always surprised how many tight spots I have in my calves.
     
    #12
  13. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Bought some New Balance 548s today. I think I've used that model in the past without issues.
     
    #13
  14. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Mike...

    Update on your Achilles Pain?
     
    #14
  15. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    My friend, noted above, with the partial achilles tear has had two PRP treatments, no apparent benefit thus far.
     
    #15
  16. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Some plantar fasciitis and achilles pains and injuries are due to tight calf muscles. I have had some issues with PF a few years ago and achilles a few months ago with very mild achilles pain now gone.

    Stretches I don't know but believe that the soleus calf muscle might be more important than the gastrocnemius for some tennis players. 90% of the tennis players that I know stretch only with straight knee stretches. That stretch may not cover the soleus adequately if the gastrocnemius is tight.

    I would like to know what some others who have considered the issue of the two calf muscles think. Anyone?

    I read in Stretching Scientifically that one sign that your soleus is too short is if you cannot squat with you foot fully on the floor. Squating takes the gastrocnemius out of the stretch. I cannot get close to that when I squat (and probably most other people can't either.?)

    Another issue is timing. Does a muscle & its tendons really have 'a relaxed length'? For how long does that length apply? Weeks, days, hours, minutes, or seconds? Do calf muscles adjust in a very short time - seconds - to the job at hand or do they take weeks to lengthen? Probably both time frames are important.

    There is a well know stretching phenomenon:
    1) Stretch a muscle and while stretched apply forceful muscle contraction.
    2) Then relax for a few seconds.
    3) Stretch again - the range of motion increases.

    This was demonstrated to me using shoulder stretches by both my physical therapist and also during a college course on muscular development and conditioning. There was a considerably change in the range of motion in a few seconds.

    Heel pads in shoes, besides cushioning, compensate for short calf muscles. Is that a good solution?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    posted earlier on a Plantar Fasciitis thread, reply #38

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=371446

    Some Considerations on Plantar Fasciitis

    I had plantar fasciitis and tried to play with it. It slowly got worse over about a year. I did not see a doctor. I read that tendons and similar tissues take 3-6 months to heal. I finally took off from tennis for 3 months. The PF went away. A friend of mine had a similar experience and took off for a year.

    Along the way, I read about many of the other subjects mentioned in this thread.

    I tend to read and then make up a story that makes sense to me. I have been very wrong before so check out any of my opinions independently. ……..one mistake could be a show stopper……..

    The term “plantar fascia” as used here means all muscles, tendons, fascia, etc, on the bottom of the foot – This structure has not been clearly defined in what I have read.

    As discussed on the websites one main cause of plantar fasciitis is tight & short calf muscles. The calves connect to the heel through the Achilles and the heel connects to the plantar fascia - all in one chain. There are two calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Both the gastrocnemius and soleus connect through the same tendon to the heel, the Achilles (also another potential injury spot if the calves are tight).

    Bent Knee or Straight Knee? An important point is that the gastrocnemius connects to the bone above the knee. When the knee is semi-straight the gastrocnemius contributes a lot of force but as soon as the knee is bent a little the gastrocnemius becomes slack and contributes much less force. The soleus is connected below the knee and can apply force through the heel whether the knee is straight or bent. Only the soleus works when seated.

    During Tennis Gastrocnemius or Soleus? During tennis which of the two calf muscles is causing the most strain on the Achilles and plantar fascia? I don’t know and have not seen it discussed. On one hand maybe some very stressful straight-leg move such as changing direction while coming down might be the most damaging. ? On the other hand it seems that tennis is being played mostly with a bent knee. Therefore it seems reasonable that the soleus might be the muscle most often causing too much strain on the plantar fascia. ?

    Life Style. Most people spend a great deal of time with the calf in a much shortened state: sitting at the computer with bent knees and pointed toes (pointed toes = short calf muscles), watching TV with pointed toes, sleeping with pointed toes, etc. Sitting around, sleeping, etc. for 120 hours a week and then playing tennis for 8 hours a week sets up the problem. If the calves have become too short or tight during tennis they overstretch the plantar fascia and put excess strain on it.

    Strengthening Exercises. Exercise both calf muscles with straight leg calf raises. Exercise only the soleus with seated calf raises.

    General Stretching. 1) I have read that you should warm up the muscle before stretching. That is easy to do for calves, run a little or do calf raises on steps. 2) Also, that you should not stretch when injured……….this is problematic for most tennis players because they don’t want to quit………..?

    Calf stretching – There are straight knee stretches for both gastrocnemius and soleus. There are bent knee stretches for just the soleus. My favorite bent knee soleus stretch is - while seated - to place a thick telephone book under the front of my foot, heel off the floor, cross the other leg over for a little added weight and do a gentle stretch. After a warm up, this stretch is easy to do while watching TV.

    If you only do straight knee stretches and the gastrocnemius is tight does the soleus get a useful stretch?

    Night Issues- You play tennis and afterward the PF hurts more or less. You go to bed and point your toes for some hours. During sleep healing occurs. The calves and plantar fascia are in a shortened state. You wake up and get out of bed, ouch! I speculate that your tight calves are tearing up some of the new healing of a short plantar fascia. ?? Help, Doc. (Mine would hurt for a minute or two just in front of my heel.) Night splints stretch both your calf and the plantar fascia so that any healing is done with the plantar is more elongated.
     
    #16
  17. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I also bought some heel inserts. Those seem to help. I took 5 days off and played again. I felt pain again pushing off for a drop shot and it was sore for a few minutes. After that, the pain went away. Played again the next day with no issues. Taking another 6 days off for travel. Hopefully, the rest combined with the new shoes and heel inserts will do the trick.
     
    #17
  18. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Just a quick update. My trip to Manhattan made my heel worse with all the walking we did. It finally got so bad last week that I just could not move on the court anymore.

    So I broke down on Friday and bought some Superfeet Green at a local big box store. I ignored the instructions to break them in gradually and played with them the next day. These things are a gift from God.

    Played 3 sets of singles on Saturday and had very little discomfort. Played 2 sets of singles and 1 set of doubles today. The doubles was a little tougher with all the sudden stops and starts but my heel feels great this afternoon.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
    #18
  19. eliza

    eliza Guest

    Damp them in the trash, fast. I had the same shoes, got PF. Last night (since I can walk again) I tried them on, and walked just 1/4mile. Guess what? Like you, I was feeliing the Achille.
     
    #19
  20. eliza

    eliza Guest

    Chas post was great indeed, I would agree 100%. I laugh at docs who say "overuse injury", as in my mind is our stupid lifestyle that is killing us (why 60-80hrs work? why 3hrs commute?)....
    One thing that my docs does not want to consider is magnetotherapy, infrared, ultrasounds.....WHY? (I suspect is an insurance issue....)
     
    #20
  21. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I'll keep them around for yard work. ;)
     
    #21
  22. eliza

    eliza Guest

    That's it.....:) Hope you are feeling better!!!
     
    #22
  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I have 2 sets of Greens for tennis.
    One set of Maxx for work.
    One set of Purples for snowboarding and another for sandals/everyday.
     
    #23
  24. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Just to update, I had one session of ultrasound/electrostimulation at the chiropractor and took almost 2 weeks off. Tha helped for a few matches but then the pain returned again.

    Since I had success on my elbow with ultrasound and electrostimulation, I decided to buy some home units to save money. I read reviews on Amazon for both units and just over $80 later received both units last weekend.

    I got the electrostimulation unit a day earlier. It did not give me much pain relief using burst mode. Once I got the ultrasound unit, the pain relief has been significant. I played Sunday and Monday five sets of singles and barely felt any tightness the next day in my heel.

    I've been using both units for 20 minutes each night. I spend about 2/3 of the ultrasound time on the worst heel and 1/3 on the other heel where the pain is less. I've been experimenting with different modes on the electrostim unit.

    Bottom line: The $50 home ultrasound unit was well worth the money and the $30 "shocker" seems to complement it well. If I had to buy only one though it would be the ultrasound unit for sure.
     
    #24
  25. Champs990411

    Champs990411 Rookie

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    Mikeler-

    How is the Achilles? Which ultrasound machine did you buy? Still recommend it?

    I've had off and on right Achilles pain going on three years now. Rest never seems to do take care of it. Doing calf/leg strengthening and flexibility in addition to using the Stick and a foam roller.

    Thanks.
     
    #25
  26. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I developed pain in both Achilles after I bought those units, so it was a good purchase. For the first time since I bought the devices, I did not use them daily starting this week. I did use them the last 2 days after my matches. Probably won't use them except after match days from now on. I do recommend the ultrasound machine. The one I bought is below:

    Bodymed 1000 Portable Ultrasound Unit-3 Modes-advanced Pain Relief
     
    #26
  27. msalamon

    msalamon Rookie

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    How do you apply to the heel / arch of your foot? Do you have to hold it--or is there like a tray you can just put your foot into?
     
    #27
  28. Champs990411

    Champs990411 Rookie

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    Thank you. Buying one for sure. Probably today.
     
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  29. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    For the ultrasound, you use it basically as a massager rubbing it up and down the heel. The electrostimulation you just apply the pads and plug them into the unit and it does the rest.
     
    #29
  30. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    I had a nagging on and off achilles ache for about a year and it finally
    went away.

    Here's what helped:

    1) rest
    2) stretching my calves.

    and...

    reflexology massage.
    During my recent vacation I often walked for miles and hours
    per day, but... I also got about five or six 1 - 1.5 hr massages in 3 weeks.
    The reflexology massage works your whole foot and also the rest of your
    body, but a lot of focus is on your foot. My calves and achilles feels
    great now.

    Be forewarned that deep, reflexology foot massages can be very intense.
    If you can't take it, just tell the masseuse to ease off a little bit.
    I opted for the deepest I could take. It was intensely painful, but man
    it felt great after a day or so. If it gets real deep, you might struggle
    a little bit to walk or go up steps right after the massage. It was good
    b/c I don't often stretch my feet and the connective tissue there.

    I also bought a 5 inch PVC pipe to use as a roller to stretch
    my hamstrings. I tried a foam roller once but it didn't seem to dig
    in deep enough. I've had the PVC pipe for a few months, but I
    finally tried it tonight. (yeah, I hate stretching)
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
    #30
  31. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The last few weeks there have been periods when I thought my pain was completely gone. Last night it came back again in both heels. I have a week's vacation coming up, so I'm hoping that helps.
     
    #31
  32. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    I had that achilles tendinitis a couple of years ago. The eccentric exercises helped. What also helped was wearing an achilles tendon strap. Before you buy one you can see whether it helps by creating compression using athletic tape to imitate the strap. It works on the same principle as the tennis elbow brace.

    Some people say using a brace only makes it worse in the long run. That's true if you continue to play in pain (even if the pain is initially reduced). But if you can play without pain (before or after) by wearing the strap, then you're not further injuring it.
     
    #32
  33. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for the tip Frank.
     
    #33
  34. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

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    where do you get the microcurrent therapy device?
     
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  35. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Look up portable home electrostimulation.
     
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