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About 9 months ago I was in the midst of training for my 2nd marathon when I started to notice pain on my right achilles. Interestingly enough, this pain would consistently emerge around mile 7 or so of my training runs and eventually built to a significant pain threshold that ultimately forced me to stop after a period of 2 weeks of trying to nurse it back to health. About a month ago, I decided to ramp up my training a bit again in anticipation of running a 1/2 marathon this time. Sure enough, around mile 7 of my training the same achilles pain surfaced on my right ankle. I'm a bit frustrated as I don't like the idea of not being able to run more than 7 miles without pain. Does anyone have any advice on how to combat this problem and is there something significant about hitting the 7 mile plus mark that may account for the onset of pain?
First off, have you ever had a therapist look at your feet to see if you need to wear orthotics, or do you currently wear them? You need to make sure you are stretching good,not just your achilles stretch, but also gastroc and soleus. Do a little soft tissue massage or your gastroc then stretch. Make sure you are icing the achilles after a flare up, I prefer an ice massage. ( fill a dixie cup with water and freeze it and then rub over achilles for about 5 minutes) You need to be doing eccentric strengthening of the achilles. Example: Perform a calf raise on both legs but pick up unaffected leg and slow and controlled come down just on injured leg. Start with about 30 and gradually increase reps and speed. Let me know how it works.
I had similar problems with my left achilles. The traditional stretching, icing, etc. were not the answer, at least in the short term. I tried on a pair of $8.00 Dr. Scholls arch support inserts, ran with them in my running shoes using them right on top of the shoes normal insert. This immediately made a HUGE difference. The pain was nearly cut in half, and two weeks later, no pain at all.....
I think that the support cuts the distance that your tendon needs to stretch out at each footplant, and thus reduced the stress and wear & tear. I am a very serious runner, typically logging 45-60 miles a week. Very glad that I found such a cheap fix, couldn't hurt to try it out before you get into some more expensive options.
"achilles tendonitis at 7", If I understand your question correctly, you should try running 10k's. The distance is 6.2 miles thus you would avoid SEVEN/7.
Like another post said try heel lifts. These will take pressure off the tendon. Also some shoes have more or less of a heel lift. You want a shoe with more lift. In addition to running with heel lifts, stretching and X-training activities ie swimming is great. The use of a night splint can help the tendon heel long rather than short. Think sleeping position and see the tendency for the tendon to heel short. Also seven is a sacred number so get your archtypal perspective out and about. Good luck.
I agree with slapshot...proper stretching is essential and the research shows that eccentric calf work is indicated for tendonitis (as long as it is painfree). Make sure to include stretching for the quads, hip flexors, ITB and hams. Sometimes weakness up the chain (especially at the hip) can create stress to the foot/ankle. Stacee Brown, PT, DPT, ATC FORM Physical Therapy, San Francisco, CA 94115
Thanks Stacee. All of these posts have been helpful. I've since been much more methodical in my stretching which I think is starting to help. We'll see when I ramp up again.