An Achilles injury is a tough injury and it is an ornery one to try to "fix." If you run long enough, you are likely to have one, and your frustration level will likely be high. While generally Achilles injuries require time to heal, perhaps some of the ideas below might help you bear this unpleasant injury.
The first part is an email I sent to a follower of my personal experience and how I coped. The second part is comments by my friend, a physical therapist and a marathon runner.
Good luck and have patience!
I do wish I could tell you a quick remedy! I think staying off at the first is probably the best thing. Pay me now or pay me later.
I had some problem a year or so ago, and here are some things that worked for me….but only suggestions:
1. I kept an old athletic sock around and I would put it on the affected foot and then put ice in a Ziploc and stuff it down my big sock for 15-20 min 3-4 times a day.
2. I used the Elliptical rather than running.
3. I did stationary biking. Actually put my bike on a trainer.
4. I took an anti-inflammatory (Mobic and yes, it has the same risks all the others have)
5. I got my doctor to send me to PT. (ANY doctor can prescribe it). The PT did the mild electro-shock or whatever it is, plus recommended various stretches, plus monitored me closely.
6. I did a progression of surfaces when I came back. First the Elliptical and bike, then the treadmill, then the track and finally the roads….and stayed OFF the hills at that time, too! And no concrete roads/paths/walkways, etc, and NO sprinting. I’m sure a nice smooth golf course would fit in there somewhere, but not so much in Feb.
Prayed some and cussed more, but made Boston as a wounded warrior. When I got home I just took it easy for six weeks and had no more problems.
OPINION OF A PHYSICAL THERAPIST MARATHON RUNNER
• Personally, I've always thought continuing to run on an Achilles injury/irritation is asking for trouble. The person needs to let the irritation settle down. Some people use this rule of thumb - be able to perform multiple toe raises pain free before taking on the demands of running. After decreasing the irritation, they need to be able to do an activity like jump rope or jumping jacks, multiple reps, without pain. Then, ease back into running, eliminating hill work at first.
• I would never ice before the run. The ice will only make pain perception less sensitive, and pain is there for a reason - to tell the runner something is wrong. I wouldn't take that pain pathway away. Just like taking ibuprofen before a run to tolerate the pain... not a good idea.
• Compression and Elevation won't make a difference UNLESS swelling is present.
Kenneth Williams, @MarathonKoach.
And if you’re interested in stories about running the world’s greatest marathon, check out BOSTONLOG.com!