As I mentioned in my last post, I have been able to be pretty active without any serious achilles pain for a number of weeks now. The weeks since then have brought more progress, and I guess I can officially call this injury ‘healed’ for now. No more pain or soreness, aside from a VERY slight amount on only some mornings, and only for the first step or two after getting out of bed. I am certain that within the next few weeks that little bit of occasional morning soreness is gone.
Based on that, I’m happy to say that my self-administered protocol worked. And was a hell of a lot cheaper than multiple weekly physical therapy sessions, and most importantly – I healed up much faster as a result.
To recap: when I injured the achilles the first time back in early January, I wasn’t able to run again until five months later. And that five months included multiple visits to doctors, and 3 months of 3x per week physical therapy as well as strenuous stretching and other exercise.
This time, after re-injuring it on July 18, 2013, I can say I was pretty much healed up on October 18, 2013, and aside from occasional morning soreness, have suffered no symptoms and have not been limited since then in terms of activity. That’s only 3 months. Much better!
The protocol I followed was simply this:
For about 8 weeks, I did the eccentric heel drops once per day, 2 sets of 15. I was supposed to do them every day for 12 weeks per the Johnson protocol, but didn’t.
I also built up a lot of strength and flexibility in my ankles, calves, and overall body, by doing a 3x per week (and have stuck to it successfully, without missing any days) full body workout that consists of:
1. Cardio warm-up for 7 to 10 minutes on an elliptical machine
2. About 10 minutes of static stretching: gastroc, wall/ankle, and others. My flexibility is now better than it has ever been. Note that I have very, very poor flexibility still in my upper-body, and am working on that too. I am convinced that my tight calf muscles and ankles are what caused the achilles problem in the first place. This is something I’ll have to keep on top of for life I suppose. Also, I will also do some quick foam rolling but since my gym ditched the good foam roller in place of a too-soft one, I don’t spend much time on it.
3. Weightlifting routine – 3 sets of 10 of the following:
- Barbell Squats
- Dumbbell Rows
- Chest Press
- Shoulder Press
- Bicep Curls
- Tricep Pressdowns
- Eccentric heel drops, while holding either a weight plate or a dumbbell; I do these on a step, alternating legs
I did a little cardio here or there but not much. In its place I just go through my lifting routine quick enough that my heart rate is elevated throughout.
Do I think the weightlifing helped with my recovery? No idea. Definitely I think the eccentric heel drops did. And the static stretching probably helped healing but I think the real benefit is in reducing the chance of re-injuring the achilles. I figure if the tendon is longer (due to consistent stretching) then my chances are better to avoid re-injury.
I’m Crazy But Can’t Help Myself….Soccer again?
The Sports Medicine doctor told me, when I last saw him, to stop playing soccer. At the time I was in pretty bad pain from the re-injury, and just immediately said to myself I would quit, that it was not worth going through this again. But lately, with helping out coaching my son’s U-9 team, I’ve gotten the itch to try it again. Dumb, but I’m seriously considering registering for the Men’s Over 35 weekly soccer league that starts up in 10 days. Wish I had a few more weeks to decide though. I’m 50/50 right now. I no longer have a ‘team’ so I sent an email to the organizer asking if there is a house team I could join for the season. If he responds saying that there is, then I will likely give it a shot. But this time I won’t over-do it. And see what happens. I know it’s crazy and not very smart to do it but with winter here, I’m flat-out bored and need something. Otherwise I sit around all night on my computer. That’s no good.
So I don’t plan on posting much to this blog going forward unless I do re-injure the achilles. I’m hoping I never have to post a “Re-Injured It” post, but we’ll see. In the meantime, if you are suffering from Insertional Achilles Tendonosis and have been following my progress, I wish you the best. If you have any questions or comments, please leave in the comments. Good luck!