Five miles! Five frickin’ miles. I’m going to go have a heart attack now.

Update: Not good. I’m feeling some significant pain a couple inches above my left heel when I walk. That’s Achilles tendon territory, right? Crap. Can any of you runner types advise me about this? Most of these sports medicine sites seem to suggest icing it. I’ll do that. At what point should I seek medical attention? I can still walk on it.

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  1. oh my goodness! congrats on completing 5 miles. one of these days i’m going to run that far, i hope. yeah – ice the pain. keep your weight off it. go to the doc if it doesn’t improve. i’d go sooner rather than later if you’re in pain, but that could be because i’m a big wimp.

  2. I’m icing it as we speak. I don’t know if the ice is supposed to, like, heal it, or if it just numbs the pain. It’s pleasantly numb now though, which is better than hurting…

    And five miles? I thought you were running a leg of a marathon soon! You’re bound to be better at it than me. I wasn’t feeling the greatest today, so I retaliated against my own body by (obviously) pushing it too far. Lesson learned, self.

  3. Ice. Ibuprofen. Repeat.

    Also, having a lot of protein about 30-60 minutes after a big run really cut down on sore/ hurting muscles. That should be no problem for you, Miss Atkins! 🙂

    Congrats on the 5-miler. It’s a pretty amazing achievement.

  4. Congrats on 5 miles! And welcome to the world of sports injuries. It sounds like it could be your tendon, but it might be a strained muscle as well.

    I had Achilles tendonitus 6 years ago and made the mistake of “running through the pain” for months (and my first half-marathon) before I had to take some time off. You can feel pain all the way up into your calf (which is where I had it, so it wasn’t until I visited a doctor that I made the achilles connection). It got to the point where my ankles were too tight to walk down stairs in the mornings.

    Other than the ibuprofen and ice (both reduce the swelling), stretching is the best thing to do (before you’re hurting, not after). My favorite is to stand with my toes on a step and lower my heels until I feel a good stretch. It’s hard to isolate the tendon rather than just stretching the calf muscles, but I found that this does it. Always stretch slowly and while warm.

    In general, I always stretch after runs, rather than before, to keep things from getting too tight.

    As far as seeing a doctor, I’d guess if you’re still feeling pain after a few days of ice and ibuprofen and taking things easy, you should probably go in. I tend to wait too long.

    Sorry for the rambling post.

  5. Don’t get too discouraged by the Achilles trouble. A good ankle stretch before and after the run *may* be all you need to tackle soreness problems. And as your ankle gets more used to tackling longer distance runs, the problem may go away entirely. The people who really have to worry about Achilles tendonosis are relatively active older people; for them, it’s a matter of their body can no longer being able to keep up with the wear and tear. For younger people, it’s more a situation where probably, yeah, your tendon can handle it, it just needs some time to get used to the increased activity. As far as catastrophic tendon injuries, that’s more the realm of basketballers–people making sudden powerful jumping-type movements. I wouldn’t worry about that.

    Of course, you should be careful if you decide to resume your jogging. You should only feel soreness *after* you have run. If you start to feel sore as you are running then you should probably consult a doctor or something. If you feel sore several days after a jog with no stressful activity in between, that could be bad (soreness just the next morning is not as alarming). If soreness continues to recur after a couple of weeks of jogging at the same intensity, that could also be bad. If stretching doesn’t help, or if you can’t stretch comfortably before a jog, bad.

    But, basically, I would suggest you stick with the jogging. Most of all, just make sure to stretch before and after. The soreness won’t be eliminated (most likely) but the improvement should be noticeable.

    There are some other things you can do to help with the problem, besides stretching. For starters, while you should definitely strive to increase your workout intensity, don’t make huge leaps all at once. That’s what kills the Achilles. Also, make sure you have good running shoes. Shoes that don’t flex at your foot’s natural flex point, as well as low/flat shoes, put more stress on the Achilles. Also, shoes that put pressure on the back of the heel or that have bad heel padding can irritate the bursae (the tendons’ natural padding) in the heel, which can feel a lot like tendonosis. Actually, a lot of cases of tendonosis really are bursitis. I got a case of bursitis while breaking in a new pair of basketball shoes (that’s when I found out about all this stuff). Also, “interval training,” can add to irritation, so it might help to reduce or eliminate walking breaks when you jog (not a bad idea regardless of the Achilles). One alternative would be to do something like this: set a goal to run, run as far as you can (really), and then walk *briskly* the rest of the way. The important thing is to keep the heart rate (and breathing) up. And this way, you can still meet your distance goals without pounding your Achilles to death. Keep it up, and you will eventually be running the full distance, and you will have gotten there in a way that makes Achilles happy.
    Now, in the end, if it comes down to a situation where you have a real cases of tendonosis, well then you might have to give up jogging. But right now I think you might just need to give your little guy some time to get acclimated. It probably might not hurt to talk to a real doctor about it now anyway. I think my advice is alright, but who knows maybe I am crazy. I have been know to fall victim to knowitallism in the past. Yeah talk about rambling…

  6. mine’ll be short ‘n sweet: way to go, kris! that’s quite an accomplishment. and yeah, be kind to yourself (your body will let you know when something’s seriously amiss) but keep up the good work!

  7. Thanks so much you guys. I did the ice and ibuprofen thing and it’s feeling much better. As Dan suggested, I think it was just unused to that level of activity and got a little sore. (It probably didn’t help that I climbed right into a very hot bath to soak afterwards.) I’m pretty sure that the main culprit is my shoes. They’re over a year old and they’re definitely worn out. I’m going to suck it up and go to the Foot Locker this week and have them fit me out properly.

    Interesting the bit about walk breaks, Dan. I have been doing that quite a bit, mostly because I’m still nursing a strained muscle in my lower back. I have to stop every couple minutes and stretch it. Maybe I’ll go back to jogging without stopping and see if it helps at all. (My sister has bursitis in her shoulders, so I’ve been hearing quite a bit about its effects for the past few months. I don’t want that to happen to me if possible.) If either ailment – back or tendon – continues to bother me, I’ll go to the doctor.

    So thanks again everybody! The silver lining of all this is that I’ve now officially lost 35 pounds! 🙂

  8. I’m not as sure of how much effect the walk break thing really has. Technically, it could contribute, but now that I think about it, it’s probably no big deal, especially since this ankle soreness this is probably gonna be nothing but memories in a few weeks. Obviously you’ve had a lot of success so far, and you have to take care of your back way more then your piddly little ankle, so…you know, do what works. Now there’s advice no one can fault 😉

  9. Actually it’s not so much the ankle as up towards the calf the way Tricia mentioned. It was stiff this morning and started to hurt when I walked to breakfast, so I iced it again. It’s better now. I think I might try new shoes first and see if they help before I go to the doctor. My sister’s convinced that I’m “pronating” or something, which might be giving me the back pain too. Which all boils down to: I run funny. 🙂

    But thanks for the advice.

  10. Kris – wow – 35 pounds! Are you going to be in the Sydney area over Christmas? If we get the chance to meet up again, I wonder if I’d be recognise you!

    Yeah, I am running the leg of a Marathon Relay early next month. It’s only 5.27km. I’m targetting to run it in 35mins. I typically only run about 4km a few times a week after work. I haven’t really pushed myself to run further, even though I can complete the 4km relatively comfortably. You’re inspiring me to push myself a bit harder!

  11. Not sure about Christmas just yet. Last year we went to Rodd’s parents’ place, so we may do that again (if we don’t visit my fam in the States). Or we might be here. No clue. But if we are, you’re definitely coming over for a barbie. 🙂

    And you’ll totally recognize me. I don’t think I look very different at all. I just tried on a pair of pants I haven’t worn in a year though, and I could button them! But as I had quite a bit to lose, I don’t think I’ve fundamentally changed shape (yet).

  12. 35 pounds!! Fantastic!!

    Sounds like you’re doing all of the right stuff when it comes to your ankle. If you can find an actual running store to buy shoes, they should watch you run, look at your current shoes, let you run in the ones you try on, and talk to you about the pain you’re feeling, in order to make sure you have the right pair of shoes. I change mine about every 500 miles or so. And most of us pronate, at least a little. 🙂

    I agree with Dan’s revised walk break stance, too. It’s not like you’re doing basketball player like sprints from a walk; I’m sure they’re not the problem. I’m betting on the shoes and ramping up quickly. New shoes and finding some good stretches for the tendon should really help.

    Don’t we all like to sound like experts. 😉

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  14. I have chronic achilles tendonitus which has seriously impacted my triathlon training. Several years ago I had to stop running due to constant pain, it got so bad that I had to wear a cast for a couple of months.
    The Dr. said that if I would have taken a few days off every now and then and gave it time to heal I probably would still be running today.
    However, swimming has become my new obsession and it has little impact on the achilles.

  15. I am right now fratically searching the websites for Achillies Tendonosis sies. As stated above I am an older male -38 and still playing Rugby and Soccer. I decided to step up my workouts to try and get into shape and here came the Achillies pain> i have been fighting this pain for several years with raised orthodics -but it looks like i met my match. I hope rehabing with a physical therapist will work but i may have to give up my sprinting which is very depressing. I am trying the Ice and stretching but to no avail. Anyway i guess my advice is to keep stretching that calf while your young.

  16. i have achilles tendonosis, and would like to talk to someone else who has it..please contact me.

  17. Note: This is a personal weblog, not a medical discussion forum. Try someplace else. I’m killing the comments before anybody else wanders in.

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