One Year After Insertional Achilles Re-Injury

By | July 30, 2014
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So it’s been just over a year now since I last aggravated my achilles tendon. As per my other posts – my problem is at the insertion point, not further up the tendon which is much more common (and apparently much easier to treat).

I’m happy to say that I am fully healed. But I have to qualify what “fully” means. My Sports Medicine Doc stated last year that this was a chronic thing for me, that I’ll always have it and it can be re-aggravated at any time. That said, I have been playing squash 2 or 3 times per week now for about 3 months. The first few weeks I did get some soreness at the insertion point as a result. I kept playing and ignored it. I’m glad I did, as I have virtually no pain ever now. And even better, I’m in the best shape of my life, as squash is a very demanding sport, particularly for guys like me that are not all that good at it. As a result of this lack of skill, I have to sprint to get to the ball constantly, making very sharp stops/starts and cuts. Perhaps most jarring is landing with all weight on one leg at times in order to stretch and reach the ball with my racquet.

As I write this, it just hit me that I have not been stretching the last month or so prior to playing squash. That’s probably not a good thing, but goes to show the flexibility and strengthening exercises I’ve outlined on this site before have seemingly worked well for me. Main reason I haven’t continued the stretching is due to time – often I show up and have to start playing right away, after a quick warm-up of hitting the ball back and forth with my partner(s). During the warm-up I do try to loosen up the legs as best I can, but I really should stretch as a precaution. I typically do some static stretching afterward, particularly the gastroc/wall stretches.

So that’s the update. It was last Summer about this time when I re-injured the achilles. I’m so thrilled with my progress since then. I’m seemingly ‘cured’ but I know that at any time it could be re-aggravated. Until then, I’ll take my chances and live my life actively, having as much fun as I can. I wish everyone who is battling this injury the same result.

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  • Ray Jae

    I injured mine around the same time as you did, I didn’t notice any improvement in the first few months because I didn’t do much for it. But then I began to do calf raises with weight, specifically holding the contraction at the top (i.e going all the way up on tippy toes and holding) for about 20 seconds per repetition, doing 5-10 repetitions every day. I read from different studies showing that long duration contractions stimulate tendons much better than short duration. Also holding at the top , is better for insertional because your eliminating the compression that occurs along the back of the heel that happens when you go below parallel (i.e stretching). I am currently at university studying a BSc in Kinesiology, so I ended up doing my senior level seminar on insertional achilles tendinopathy. It was fun to do a topic that I was heavily invested in and was affecting me.

    • mark2741

      Ray Jae,

      Thanks for commenting. If you have your senior seminar online somewhere and don’t mind sharing, I’d love to link to it from this site. There is so little good info about IAT that any sharing of info helps.

      That is interesting about holding the contraction – I did find myself doing that but nowhere near 20 seconds – that would have resulted in some very sore calves for me at first : )

  • Carolyn Dennehey

    Hope the Achillis tendon continues to be without problems. Just keep in mind that a previously injured Achillis is never as strong as the original.

    • mark2741

      Hi. Yes – been injury/pain free for quite some time now. I play squash a few times a week without any issues. I think my calves are much more flexible than before, which has helped.