I've recently begun noticing that my left achilles tendon feels tight and sore first thing in the morning, and after my runs. I'm stretching it but it's not really helping. I don't believe my shoes are the problem - I run in Asics Gel-Kayanos (my 10th pair) and they have about 110 miles on them, so they're not quite worn out yet. This is a new problem and I'm not sure what the cause is. I should mention that I am currently struggling with a herniated disk (S1/L5) and the pain manifests as sciatica down my left leg. There is the possibility that this achilles problem is the result of over-compensating with my stronger right side but I do a lot of stability exercises to overcome my muscle imbalances. Also, I've only been running about 10 miles per week this winter (to give my back a break and rest up for spring marathon training) so it's definitely not a high-mileage, over-use injury.
Again, it is mainly my left tendon and I have never had this problem in the 20+ years I've been a runner. Anyone here have some thoughts as to possible causes and treatments? Thanks in advance!
I really feel for you. I have had AT for nearly two years, and only now getting over it. It's a really difficult (for me) injury to recover from, as I have learnt that tendon injuries are very pesky problems to overcome. I am not sure if your disk has caused some of the issues or not, I can only offer you what helped for me:
1. Ice 3 times per day minimum for 20 minutes, and always after a run;
2. I threw out my Kayano's after I discovered I was a slight Supinator, and as such I did not need stabilty in my shoe;
3. Changed my running style based on Danny Dreyer's 'Chi Running'. I found I was working my lower legs to hard to propel myself forward. By improving my lean, it mean less stress on my calf's/achilles.
4. Eccentric load exercises, such as those found here: http://www.clinicalsportsmedicine.com/chapters/28d.htm . I do 3 sets of 60 heel drops every day, with 3 minutes rest in between.
From what I have learnt about tendon injuries is that they need to be worked in order to heal. Just resting does nothing, and could lead to further problems. You need to work the tendon, but not overwork - just enough to aid the healing process - this is why it has been difficult for me.
But my achilles is now giving me the gift of 60 miles per week, and I thank him every day for every run!
Good luck, and be very nice to your achilles!