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Hi everyone, I'm new here. I've done Couch to 5k before and liked it, but got out of shape so I'm starting again. I'm only on W2D1 (2 days ago) and then I rested yesterday, but today I woke up and my right Achilles Tendon is sore (doesn't start until I go up or down stairs, but of course my room is on the third floor...). It's only when I do those types of pushing motions. I want to keep up with the program, but also I don't want to hurt myself! I've been icing, elevating, took some ibuprofen and figure I shouldn't run today, I'll probably do yoga or something, but if it doesn't hurt tomorrow can I try running again (or running/walking as in C25K)? Also what can I do to prevent this from happening again? I think my shoes are ok, but they might be getting a bit worn out. Other than that is there anything else? Thanks!
Hmmm... well, I wouldn't ever attempt to diagnose someone's pain or injury, but I do remember having seemingly random but significant pains all over when I first started running a lot, including knees (maybe one for awhile, then the other....), hips, back, SHINS! and -- yes -- Achilles tendon, the left one in my case. I remember it was dang sore for a couple weeks, so I took it easy (but didn't stop entirely) and it eventually went away completely. At the time I didn't recall landing funny on my foot or having a sudden onset of pain (like a tear), so I had a sense that it was just sore from the new activity. This is why I kept up a moderate amount of activity in a boot camp class that I had recently started at the time. I distinctly remember hobbling along and favoring that leg for a couple of classes, but it felt better afterward.
My best advice is that you know your body best -- listen to it. If you feel like you want to test it out a little, go ahead. If you feel like you need to stay off it, then do.
Any time there is a pain on one side and not the other (barring any direct injury), you need to look first at where you run. Most runners spend at least part of their time on roads, and most roads are not level from left to right - otherwise puddles would collect when it rains - but you still must run upright.
Any time the surface is slanted for drainage, the achilles on the outside leg will have to lift the foot a little higher to compensate, leading to an overuse injury.
The body is smartly constructed. As long as all the parts share appropriate loads, things tend to work well. Asking one side of the body to work harder than the other means wear and tear will show up before fatigue sets in.
If your running surface is level (eg: many park roads, treadmill, track, etc.), the next thing to look for is a left vs. right difference in leg length, arch height, hip structure, or muscle tone. Almost everyone has at least one of these, and though it makes little difference to most people, it becomes quickly evident during repetitive motion sports like running.
Many experts suggest putting a heel lift or arch support in the shoe under the sore achilles, to take some of the load off that tendon. It's only a temporary fix, but it can buy enough time for healing to take place without having to stop running completely.
Meanwhile, try to iron out the knots that might be in your calf muscles. When those muscles are too tight, the excess pressure often leads to achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. Don't make the common mistake of trying to stretch a contracted muscle before you find another way to loosen it up. Stretching can have great benefits for healthy muscles (as in Yoga), but stretching a bona-fide injury can make it worse.
If the above interventions work, it should allow you enough time to identify a structural cause, if any. Don't be afraid to take some time off from running if the pain persists. You can miss several days without losing the aerobic benefits you have already earned.