About Me

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Me

Me

I was diagnosed with chronic insertional achilles tendonopathy, which is medical speak for a mangled achilles tendon. Unlike your typical runner who may come down with a case of achilles tendonitis, this is different, as it is specific to the insertion point – the area where the achilles tendon attaches/inserts into the heel bone. There is very little scientific/medical research about this form of injury, and I have found that there is lots of conflicting information both on the web and among the numerous doctors and physical therapists I have discussed my condition with. After suffering through this injury for 5 months, finally getting past it, and then just a couple of months later re-injuring it, I’ve decided to blog my journey through what will hopefully be a quicker healing process and return to my normal levels of physical activity.

A Little About Me

I am, at the time of this writing, coming up on 42 years of age. I live in the Philadelphia, PA area of the USA.

I was obese for the majority of my life, and pretty much led a mostly sedentary lifestyle as a result. A few years ago, after stumbling on some meta-research that extolled the benefits of a certain type of diet, I proceeded to eventually lose a total of 75lbs. and completely turn around my weight, blood lipid levels, blood pressure, etc. for the better. With the exception of my right achilles tendon, and an abnormally immobile body (aka, I have less flexibility than most people), I’m in excellent physical health and shape. If you’re interested in my weight loss journey, you can find my writings about that here. Before this injury, I was a fairly active fellow. Over the past couple of years I’ve done everything from playing in a soccer league, to CrossFit, to running 5k races, etc. I’m not exactly a ‘workout warrior’ by any stretch, but I enjoy being outdoors and being active.

Why this Blog?

This is neither my first bout with this achilles injury, nor my first time blogging. I started this particular blog on August 6, 2013, with the sole purpose to document the healing process that I will undergo over the next few months. ¬†After consulting with my doctor and beginning a new round of physical therapy, I’ve decided to tackle this through my own research and self-experimentation, just as I did to cure my obesity and pretty much effortlessly maintain it for the past few years. Hopefully, as I stumble, fail, and then eventually, hopefully, succeed in fixing this achilles injury, others that stumble upon this blog can benefit from the experiences and eventual outcomes I write about. More importantly, I’m pretty bummed about re-injuring this thing. As an introvert, I’m hoping that writing will help me mentally get through the prospect of not being able to walk without pain for the time being…

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I am not a physical therapist. More specifically, I am not YOUR doctor, physical therapist, or any other type of health professional. Use or not the information you find on this site, just as you would be very wise to carefully and critically view any other information you may find on the internet. What works or doesn’t work for me may work for you…or not. If you are not an adult that is mentally capable of understanding this, then move on. I take no offense.

Of course, I cannot say with certainty that the outcome will be “healing” or that it will only take “a few months.” I’m actually hoping for a quicker healing time. Last time it took five months. We’ll see. I may injure myself further.

Wish me luck, at the very least.

Share and Enjoy

  • Tom Winter

    I have been battling insertional Achilles tendonitis in right heel almost three years. During this whole period I have had constant pain except when I sleep. I have not run once during the whole period. After 10 months of PT, of which 12 weeks were in walking boot, I had surgery to remove haglund bump Oct 2012, That surgery got infected but as far as the doc was concerned was successful. After 6 months I was no better than before: constant pain, worse after any type of stretching. Tried a third PT for 3 months with no results. Then had second surgery for Calcaneus excision and secondary achilles tendon repair – speedbridge method, Aug 28th 2014. Started simple walking last week of Dec. but have had many set backs. I can’t swim (too much pain), run, do eliptical, no right leg weight work or walk more than 100 yards. For PT I balance on the injuried leg (30 secs), do side step offs very small step (2 reps – 15) , inclined squats with only my weight (3 reps – 10), and heel lifts (2 reps – 20). Every time I do more than this, for example, do classic stair eccentric stair exercise, later in the day or next day – my ‘all day’ pain returns and only thing that will relieve it is ice with elevation. I read that patients with this procedure return to normal activity at six months. I don’t see how I am going to make that since I am almost 5 months and can’t walk very far. I desperately want to hear someone else’s story with this surgerical procedure. I can’t get any first person information anywhere: doctor, PT, anywhere. I am seriously depressed and just hanging on to my job and the rest of my life. I was a marthoner, basketball player, gym workouter, before and now it feels like my life has been taken from me.

    • mark2741

      Tom,

      So sorry to hear of your situation. 10 months of PT plus surgeries – wow. I’ve received a lot of emails/comments through this blog and 99% are from people who self-describe what is basically a little discomfort but they seem to be able to carry on with running, etc. I always thought I had one of the more severe cases, but hearing your situation definitely puts that in perspective.

      The only advice I might share is:

      a. Find a doctor that specializes in the achilles. In the USA, I found this one who I never spoke with but was references in one of the few quality articles I’ve uncovered on the subject:

      http://www.gradschool.usciences.edu/faculty/silbernagel-karin

      Worth an email/phone call to see what she says.

      b. I know you don’t want to hear this but….find some new sports. I have found weightlifting to be a great workout that I was able to do when my achilles was injured and have kept with it since. My doctor told me to take up ice hockey – he said the skates will lock in my ankle and make it pretty much impossible to re-injure the achilles. I am fortunate to have a ‘learn how to play ice hockey!’ adult school near me but I’m a horrible ice skater so haven’t attempted it yet. My point is – find something that you can do.

      Our lives aren’t justified by our workout/physical routines. Know that I and others empathize with you – I was really depressed when my achilles was injured. But you should try to ‘get out of your head’ for a bit, focus on other things, and keep up hope.

      mark