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Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Posted by Nancy S. on 6/23/00 at 15:35 (022283)

Hi Beverly, Bob, and John, thanks for your replies and for your nice message today, Beverly. I'm sure I knew when I posted that I should see a doc, but there's always that little hope that someone will post, 'Oh it's that, here's what you do.'
I went to the medical center walk-in clinic and saw a very good gp, who diagnosed Achilles tendonitis not only in my PF foot but the other one too. (No big surprise, since the other one has been hurting for the last week.) It's all tissue problems, no bone or anything unusual. She was adamant that I need physical therapy and should have had it some time ago. She also said that I need to elevate them, do hot and cold immersions, and stay off them as much as possible -- 'REST'! That was the only bad news -- like I haven't had enough rest in the last year, I almost went crazy -- but this is a new problem that also needs rest. She believes it's from changes in gait during the worst of PF and from trying to get back on my feet too much too soon after the 3-month PF rest. The getting back on my feet has seemed SOOOOOO SSLLOOWWWW to me, but it hasn't been slow enough, apparently. So here I aM, one of the big rest advocates, needing a doctor to tell me to rest MORE! But I'm grateful it's turned out to be nothing worse than it is; I can deal with it.
I never had physical therapy before -- my ex-pod pooh-poohed it. But for starters they set me up for six appts. at their PT center starting July 14, every 4 or 5 days, and more will be arranged if I need it.
I'm mostly optimistic about it because I flounder around too much by myself with that stuff, but a few PT stories have scared me, like Pauline's recent one. Does anyone know of any PT method or attitude or something that I should be wary of? I have no idea how to evaluate the competence of a physical therapist.
By the way, this doc. said Birks are excellent.
Anyway, I have three weeks in which to be fearful and hopeful about PT before I start. I'm both, but mostly hopeful. I just don't want it to undo my PF progress. Without the Achilles and ankle problems, I'd be flying high about now!
--Nancy

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Rock on 6/23/00 at 16:54 (022286)

Nancy,

I have no idea whether you are an athelete or not, so please do not take offense at anything that I just wrote to a ironman triathlete
buddy in Kentucky (below) about his major flare up of Achilles tendonitis. I have had this condition off/on for 8 years and when I have flareups I have to really cut back my running, sometimes to zero to get the Achilles tendonitis to cool down (like now).

I hope at least some of this helps.

Rock.
Triathlete and Ultrarunner.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To ironman triathlete in Kentucky,

As one who suffers from many running injuries that are related to weak
feet and tight calves, I have a great deal of experience in the area of
Achilles tendonitis

DO NOT LIST:

(1) run up hills,
(2) run successive days,
(3) no NSAIDs.
(4) wear stiff running shoes,
(5) speedwork

DO LIST:
(1) Ice after runs,
(2) Stretch very gently - use active (3 second) NON-Weight-bearing methods !
(3) Wear flexible run shoes,
(4) bike as much as you want as long as it does not hurt,
(5) swim plenty,
(6) slow mile repeats [with gentle stretch breaks],
(7) running only flats and downhills, (8) put rubber heel lifts in your
run shoes [0.25 inch to as much as 0.75 inch]

Taking 2 weeks off running is a really good idea. Then you must start
back on running at a low volume, maybe 3 days a week (like 5 miles each
run) on a flat soft small loop course so that if it hurts bad on the
run, you can quit the run right away. After a while you can do long runs
as long as you walk all the uphills (this where I am). Notice that I
mention slow mile repeats. These should be done slower than road race
marathon pace, but still a rather brisk to get a moderately high heart
rate. This how you can get away without running any uphills.

Rock.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Beverly on 6/23/00 at 16:55 (022287)

Nancy,

I'm sorry to hear about the tendonitis, and in both feet! How frustrating.

There are good physical therapists, and there are bad ones. I have LOADS & LOADS of experience as a PT patient for my neck and shoulder. I have had very, very little experience with it on the feet, but I myself am hoping the orthopedic guy will refer me to it when I see him in July.

Here is an idea for you. When I moved to this part of the state two years ago, I had been newly diagnosed with a neck/shoulder injury, but I didn't know zip about anyone in town. There was a PT place on every corner. So I called about half a dozen orthopedic surgeon's offices, and I asked their nurse which PT centers they liked the best. I noticed that two names kept popping up, and I went with one of them. I was very happy (but as I said this was for my neck/shoulder, not my foot.)

Physical therapy is very, very expensive; if you don't have insurance, your choices are going to be limited. (My insurance paid for it, and that's a good thing, because it averaged $90.00 - $150.00 per session depending on what they did.) But this does not mean you are without options. I have an older friend with a bad back who lives on a fixed income, and she was sent to physical therapy at the county hospital and to warm water therapy through the Arthritis Foundation. It cost her almost nothing.

Also, I have no idea what resources are available in your state, but in Texas, we have 'Texas Rehab.' It is a social program that helps people with disablities get back on their feet. (no pun intended)

Please, take care of yourself. You've come to far to go backwards now.
This REST, REST, REST is very aggrevating, I know, but so important. I am curious. When you were resting, what did that mean? How much rest? Bed rest? TV/recliner rest? When we talk about rest I imagine we all have a different idea of what rest is. I wonder if I am getting enough rest.

Hang in there, and keep us posted. I'm glad to hear the doc likes Birks. Mine are starting to feel comfortable... breaking them in. It's too soon to tell if they will help/cure my feet. Keep us posted.

Nancy, I'm relieved to hear it was muscle/tendon related. I'll spare you the details, but my imagination was picturing something much worse.

Beverly


Re: One more idea for resourcing social services for PT

Beverly on 6/23/00 at 17:04 (022288)

Nancy,

One more idea. Do you have any friends or family members who are social workers? They will have a wealth of information or options you might have to get PT at a reduced cost or perhaps even free. Some states are more generous than others. I have several social worker friends. I have discovered that 50% of the secret to getting help is cutting through the red tape and knowing how to do it. A social worker friend or family member could be indespensible to you.

Also, I don't know what your state has. But in Texas, we have 'The Blue Book.' It's a directory of all the various social services. It's the social worker's 'Bible' for resourcing. We have a program called 'First Call for Help.' It is a hotline that helps one find resources. Once again, I don't know if it is a state program or nation wide program.
But your state should have something similar.
Any social workers out there on the board with ideas for Nancy?

Good luck,
Beverly


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

rock on 6/23/00 at 17:18 (022289)

Back in 1994, I swam 7 miles a week for 6 weeks with a stress fractured tiba. I know that the swimming helped and it felt good too. However, I biked way to much during that period, so I suggest very limited easy biking for AT (Achilles tendonitis).

I have a hard time believing that TOTAL rest will be required for even a serious case of AT. After all, how could swimming hurt, asumming one does NOT push off the wall with their feet ?

Rock.


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/23/00 at 17:27 (022291)

nancy: prior to my PF i had a terrible case of achilles tendonitis in my left foot. a large knot about half the size of egg had formed on the achilles tendon and i was hurting with each step. the doc recommended PT which consisted of a whirlpool to loosen it up the than painful vigorous massage. i mean really painful vigrous massage to work out the knot. this was followed by stretching on a 45 degree incline board. it took about a month but they cured it. i imagine tight achilles tendons along with my running in the hills eventually brought on my PF. not uncommon but easily curable as compared to pf.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/23/00 at 17:33 (022293)

rock: welcome your name will excite nancy and wendy and your info sounds good except for PF, a flexable running shoe (mostly pf girls and guys can hardly walk) may not be a good choice. for pf,you are trying to keep from stretching the pf with each stride and a stiff shoe such as the NB 852 crosstrainer is a better choice. i can only dream about what was my passion which was running each day a mere 5-10 miles. now i am lucky to walk a mile or two. again welcome.

Re: One more idea for resourcing social services for PT

Nancy S. on 6/23/00 at 20:27 (022304)

Beverly, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. I would have answered you sooner but my husband had the Red Sox on TV (ok, I watch too) and we can't use the TV and WebTV at the same time.
We were able to get on a program at the medical center for coverage for six months because of our low income this year, due to my PF and my husband's remarkable series of injuries on the job in the last 6 weeks -- it's being a real knock-out year for us! We've both always worked all our lives and never had to ask for this assistance before, but we've qualified for six months starting a couple of weeks ago. I knew the walk-in clinic would be covered, but I was nervous about any referrals to specialists or for PT -- but I learned late this afternoon when I called to set up the PT schedule that the sessions will be covered.
I will have no choice of therapist -- has to be the one they assign me to at their PT center. I have no idea whether this person will know much about PF and AT. So I do wonder what to expect in the way of appropriate treatment.
Re: rest -- For me it was three months of TV/recliner rest, with lots of naps -- I was really exhausted from trying to work for months while in bad pain. When I walked around the house or went out for groceries or whatever, I always used a cane and the scooter at the store. I stayed off my feet as much as possible, and swam and did some minor stretching to try to ward off atrophy. I also went nuts, so that's why I'm not thrilled about more rest after all that. But I'm reminding myself all night that, though related, this is a different problem and I have to treat it with the same respect that I tried to give the %@&*% PF.
The resting did a lot for my PF, and I still recommend it, even though it wasn't the picnic I secretly hoped it would be. Thanks again for caring --Nancy
p.s. I had one extremely painful cortisone shot last July. The relief lasted as long as the anesthetic -- maybe five hours.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet -- to Rock and John H

Nancy S. on 6/23/00 at 20:44 (022306)

I've never met a Rock before. Hi, Rock! I do appreciate your posting, even though most of the info. for the ironman triathlete wouldn't apply to me. I'm not an athlete -- just a happily self-employed person whose work kept me on my feet all the time, and then I lost it due to PF, and then was working back up to half-time, and now I'm back down again. (I did swim this past winter and was very careful not to push off against the wall.)
John, thanks for your advice and story. Sounds like you had quite a knot there in the Achilles! The size of an egg! I don't seem to have any knots, but lots of stiffness and swelling, what I'm calling little puffballs (I think Wendy brought this on with her bunionettes). It's become very painful over the past week. It helps me to hear that PT cured your AT -- I'm a little nervous about it, but am convinced I need it. I'm not afraid of whatever pain the massage may bring -- I just don't want it to set my PF back, which has improved so much in the last few/several months.
I'm going to get the ice wraps you wrote about. Tonight I'm sitting here with two freezer packs, each one wrapped around the Achilles and ankle on each foot, with both feet and the whole mess tied together with a bathrobe sash. If the house caught fire, I'd be a dead duck.
--Nancy

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Bob G. on 6/23/00 at 22:49 (022311)

Nancy, I suspect you have been too eager. Need to rest it until all the pain is gone. Gentle strecthing is okay, but I would wait until no pain.

Decide up front how much time you must give it, then resign your life(sytle) to it. It's much easier that way than playing it by ear or going day-to-day.

I am wearing my NightSpint about 50% of the time now because of sore knees, but am winning. Good luck!


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

wendyn on 6/23/00 at 23:41 (022312)

Hi Nancy! I have had this too.....

You know what?

What haven't I had in my feet?

It seems like every time someone posts something here I'm saying 'me too!'. You guys are going to think I just want to be part of every club. The PF/TTS/Dorsal Bunion/Bunionette/Pes Planus (flat feet)/short achilles tendon/gastroc equinus contracture/ingrown toe nail/tibial torsion/achilies tendonitis/posterior tibial tendonitis/hairy legs/walks like a duck club. Yikes. (When people ask now what's wrong with my feet I say 'lots'. When that puzzles them I explain that there is more wrong than there is right. Other than the fact that they have skin and I have two, pretty much everything else is goobered up. Whatever.

Unfortunately - I really have had all these things. Just really crappy feet.

Anyway. I had a nasty case of this(achilles tendonitis) when I was somewhere around 13 or 15 or so. I was staying at my cousins in New England and I would walk every day to the beach (almost 45 minutes away) and usually in crappy flat shoes. I gave myself a BRUTAL case of achilles tendonitis. I developed a big swollen 'ball' at the base of my achilles. I still have sort of a lump there. Sometimes my achilles bothers me - but not that often.

I don't recall any treatment I had at the time - I think it just went away but it took quite a while. It's a long time ago though - I may have had anti-inflammitories or something.

I'm curious though - I understand what I did to myself to deserve that, but what have YOU done? Does the doctor think you've developed this from being on your feet just the four hours or so antiquing a day? That's rough. I really hope the PT works for you - maybe they can help with the PF too. Ask if anyone there does acupuncture. May be worth a try and may help with pain relief.


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Nancy S. on 6/24/00 at 03:58 (022315)

Bob and Wendy:
I must have been too eager, but I sure felt like I was reining it in . . . it's discouraging. Yes, the dr. said I have to rest them more. I must've said four times, 'But I've BEEN resting them! I rested them for months and now I'm on them only a few hours a day!' And she just repeated 'More rest' until I got it.
Guess I have been playing it too much by ear. Sort of developed therapy plans for myself after the Big Rest but kept having to change them and now I'm kicking myself because I didn't know what I really should be doing or not doing. When the Achilles pain started weeks ago, I mentioned it on here and Alan advised seeing a doctor back then -- and you know Alan wouldn't advise a doc unless he REALLY thought it was necessary! I just continued floundering instead, and probably made it worse.
Right now it feels like it's taken up permanent residence, I don't know how to judge how long it will take until the pain is really gone. Just have to wait it out, I guess. I should take a freelance editing job, except with my feet elevated above my heart I'd have to edit upside-down or something.
I'm up way too early -- it isn't even light out yet. Things will probably look better in the morning.
--Nancy

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/24/00 at 17:01 (022339)

'i think' achilles tendonitis is one of those things that calls for PT and stretching. it will take a long time to go aways on its on. mine really hurt like hell when the PT guy who worked on it. he had no mercy. one day a cute liittle thing worked on the foot which was nice but she did not have the strenth in her thumbs to help this problem. i went to pt 3 times and week for 2 weeks and by that time they had worked out the knot and i was back to running.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Nancy S. on 6/24/00 at 17:44 (022345)

John, really? it took only 2 weeks of PT? Now my hopes are soaring, I don't know if that's good! Should I let them work on my PF, even though that's been doing well? I don't want to wreck anything. --Nancy

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

JHF on 6/25/00 at 03:22 (022356)

I've lurked on this board for close to two years and have learned a lot. I also have PF in one foot (left)and AT in both feet. My custom othodics helped alot, and I could be 99.9% pain free if I didn't run. However I love to referee soccer, so I continue to run. I haven't had PT, but have definitely considered it. I'll probably pay for it myself to avoid the HMO hassle. I'll be very interested to see if it helps your AT without hurting your PF.

JHF from Oakland CA


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Nancy S. on 6/25/00 at 07:34 (022358)

Welcome, JHF. Sounds like we have exactly the same case (my PF is also in the left foot). I don't run -- I've just been getting back to the kind of walking that allows you to do normal everyday activities, not to mention work. I'd gotten up to about half speed, with minimal PF pain at this point. The physical therapy for achilles tendonitis starts July 14 and I will be posting about it as it goes along.
I wanted to ask you: Since you haven't yet had any PT for this, what do you do for it yourself? ('it' being the Achilles problem) Anything special? Do you stretch it? (I'm afraid to now.) Do you rest it a lot when you're not doing your soccer thing? Have you had any improvement since you first got it? Thanks. --Nancy S.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/25/00 at 09:39 (022363)

i think working on your achilles tendon will help the pf. one disease at a time please.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

JHF on 6/25/00 at 13:53 (022379)

Nancy S.,

I stretch my Achilles tendons with a towel twice a day. I used to stretch them standing up with my heel over the stair, but finally figured out that this sometimes made it worse instead of better. I think its much harder to over-do it by stretching with a towel. I had my worst AT flare up in several years over the Memorial Day weekend. After being an assistant referee (linesman) for one game, I almost had to crawl off the field to my car. After I made it home, I stretched it with a towel as hard as I could and it got dramatically better.

When my AT is flaring up, I wear elastic ankle supports when I run. This helps if I run in moderation, but also makes it easier to over-do it. If I run too much with the ankle supports, they cause the outside of my foot to hurt after I stop.

The AT and PF are definitely related in some ways that I don't understand. I think the AT started first (3-4 years ago, after I had been refereeing for 2 years or so), then the PF happened (2 years ago). Currently my running is limited more by the AT in my right foot than the PF. I think too much resting makes my AT somewhat worse (when its not very bad), though perhaps this may be overcome by a vigorous strecthing program. I've noticed that if I take 3-4 days off from exercising (usually due to job related issues) my AT gets a little worse. I'm lucky enough to have a desk job, and I think that if I stood on my feet at work a lot, resting may be more beneficial.

I rest (and swim) a lot more than I used to. Though I've given up my dreams of reffing college soccer games or high school championships, I can still do lots of challenging games.

JHF



Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Rock on 6/26/00 at 09:32 (022425)

John,

Can you give a lot of details on your PF ?

Perhaps, the group can give you some new ideas ?

Rock.


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Rock on 6/23/00 at 16:54 (022286)

Nancy,

I have no idea whether you are an athelete or not, so please do not take offense at anything that I just wrote to a ironman triathlete
buddy in Kentucky (below) about his major flare up of Achilles tendonitis. I have had this condition off/on for 8 years and when I have flareups I have to really cut back my running, sometimes to zero to get the Achilles tendonitis to cool down (like now).

I hope at least some of this helps.

Rock.
Triathlete and Ultrarunner.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To ironman triathlete in Kentucky,

As one who suffers from many running injuries that are related to weak
feet and tight calves, I have a great deal of experience in the area of
Achilles tendonitis

DO NOT LIST:

(1) run up hills,
(2) run successive days,
(3) no NSAIDs.
(4) wear stiff running shoes,
(5) speedwork

DO LIST:
(1) Ice after runs,
(2) Stretch very gently - use active (3 second) NON-Weight-bearing methods !
(3) Wear flexible run shoes,
(4) bike as much as you want as long as it does not hurt,
(5) swim plenty,
(6) slow mile repeats [with gentle stretch breaks],
(7) running only flats and downhills, (8) put rubber heel lifts in your
run shoes [0.25 inch to as much as 0.75 inch]

Taking 2 weeks off running is a really good idea. Then you must start
back on running at a low volume, maybe 3 days a week (like 5 miles each
run) on a flat soft small loop course so that if it hurts bad on the
run, you can quit the run right away. After a while you can do long runs
as long as you walk all the uphills (this where I am). Notice that I
mention slow mile repeats. These should be done slower than road race
marathon pace, but still a rather brisk to get a moderately high heart
rate. This how you can get away without running any uphills.

Rock.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Beverly on 6/23/00 at 16:55 (022287)

Nancy,

I'm sorry to hear about the tendonitis, and in both feet! How frustrating.

There are good physical therapists, and there are bad ones. I have LOADS & LOADS of experience as a PT patient for my neck and shoulder. I have had very, very little experience with it on the feet, but I myself am hoping the orthopedic guy will refer me to it when I see him in July.

Here is an idea for you. When I moved to this part of the state two years ago, I had been newly diagnosed with a neck/shoulder injury, but I didn't know zip about anyone in town. There was a PT place on every corner. So I called about half a dozen orthopedic surgeon's offices, and I asked their nurse which PT centers they liked the best. I noticed that two names kept popping up, and I went with one of them. I was very happy (but as I said this was for my neck/shoulder, not my foot.)

Physical therapy is very, very expensive; if you don't have insurance, your choices are going to be limited. (My insurance paid for it, and that's a good thing, because it averaged $90.00 - $150.00 per session depending on what they did.) But this does not mean you are without options. I have an older friend with a bad back who lives on a fixed income, and she was sent to physical therapy at the county hospital and to warm water therapy through the Arthritis Foundation. It cost her almost nothing.

Also, I have no idea what resources are available in your state, but in Texas, we have 'Texas Rehab.' It is a social program that helps people with disablities get back on their feet. (no pun intended)

Please, take care of yourself. You've come to far to go backwards now.
This REST, REST, REST is very aggrevating, I know, but so important. I am curious. When you were resting, what did that mean? How much rest? Bed rest? TV/recliner rest? When we talk about rest I imagine we all have a different idea of what rest is. I wonder if I am getting enough rest.

Hang in there, and keep us posted. I'm glad to hear the doc likes Birks. Mine are starting to feel comfortable... breaking them in. It's too soon to tell if they will help/cure my feet. Keep us posted.

Nancy, I'm relieved to hear it was muscle/tendon related. I'll spare you the details, but my imagination was picturing something much worse.

Beverly


Re: One more idea for resourcing social services for PT

Beverly on 6/23/00 at 17:04 (022288)

Nancy,

One more idea. Do you have any friends or family members who are social workers? They will have a wealth of information or options you might have to get PT at a reduced cost or perhaps even free. Some states are more generous than others. I have several social worker friends. I have discovered that 50% of the secret to getting help is cutting through the red tape and knowing how to do it. A social worker friend or family member could be indespensible to you.

Also, I don't know what your state has. But in Texas, we have 'The Blue Book.' It's a directory of all the various social services. It's the social worker's 'Bible' for resourcing. We have a program called 'First Call for Help.' It is a hotline that helps one find resources. Once again, I don't know if it is a state program or nation wide program.
But your state should have something similar.
Any social workers out there on the board with ideas for Nancy?

Good luck,
Beverly


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

rock on 6/23/00 at 17:18 (022289)

Back in 1994, I swam 7 miles a week for 6 weeks with a stress fractured tiba. I know that the swimming helped and it felt good too. However, I biked way to much during that period, so I suggest very limited easy biking for AT (Achilles tendonitis).

I have a hard time believing that TOTAL rest will be required for even a serious case of AT. After all, how could swimming hurt, asumming one does NOT push off the wall with their feet ?

Rock.


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/23/00 at 17:27 (022291)

nancy: prior to my PF i had a terrible case of achilles tendonitis in my left foot. a large knot about half the size of egg had formed on the achilles tendon and i was hurting with each step. the doc recommended PT which consisted of a whirlpool to loosen it up the than painful vigorous massage. i mean really painful vigrous massage to work out the knot. this was followed by stretching on a 45 degree incline board. it took about a month but they cured it. i imagine tight achilles tendons along with my running in the hills eventually brought on my PF. not uncommon but easily curable as compared to pf.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/23/00 at 17:33 (022293)

rock: welcome your name will excite nancy and wendy and your info sounds good except for PF, a flexable running shoe (mostly pf girls and guys can hardly walk) may not be a good choice. for pf,you are trying to keep from stretching the pf with each stride and a stiff shoe such as the NB 852 crosstrainer is a better choice. i can only dream about what was my passion which was running each day a mere 5-10 miles. now i am lucky to walk a mile or two. again welcome.

Re: One more idea for resourcing social services for PT

Nancy S. on 6/23/00 at 20:27 (022304)

Beverly, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. I would have answered you sooner but my husband had the Red Sox on TV (ok, I watch too) and we can't use the TV and WebTV at the same time.
We were able to get on a program at the medical center for coverage for six months because of our low income this year, due to my PF and my husband's remarkable series of injuries on the job in the last 6 weeks -- it's being a real knock-out year for us! We've both always worked all our lives and never had to ask for this assistance before, but we've qualified for six months starting a couple of weeks ago. I knew the walk-in clinic would be covered, but I was nervous about any referrals to specialists or for PT -- but I learned late this afternoon when I called to set up the PT schedule that the sessions will be covered.
I will have no choice of therapist -- has to be the one they assign me to at their PT center. I have no idea whether this person will know much about PF and AT. So I do wonder what to expect in the way of appropriate treatment.
Re: rest -- For me it was three months of TV/recliner rest, with lots of naps -- I was really exhausted from trying to work for months while in bad pain. When I walked around the house or went out for groceries or whatever, I always used a cane and the scooter at the store. I stayed off my feet as much as possible, and swam and did some minor stretching to try to ward off atrophy. I also went nuts, so that's why I'm not thrilled about more rest after all that. But I'm reminding myself all night that, though related, this is a different problem and I have to treat it with the same respect that I tried to give the %@&*% PF.
The resting did a lot for my PF, and I still recommend it, even though it wasn't the picnic I secretly hoped it would be. Thanks again for caring --Nancy
p.s. I had one extremely painful cortisone shot last July. The relief lasted as long as the anesthetic -- maybe five hours.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet -- to Rock and John H

Nancy S. on 6/23/00 at 20:44 (022306)

I've never met a Rock before. Hi, Rock! I do appreciate your posting, even though most of the info. for the ironman triathlete wouldn't apply to me. I'm not an athlete -- just a happily self-employed person whose work kept me on my feet all the time, and then I lost it due to PF, and then was working back up to half-time, and now I'm back down again. (I did swim this past winter and was very careful not to push off against the wall.)
John, thanks for your advice and story. Sounds like you had quite a knot there in the Achilles! The size of an egg! I don't seem to have any knots, but lots of stiffness and swelling, what I'm calling little puffballs (I think Wendy brought this on with her bunionettes). It's become very painful over the past week. It helps me to hear that PT cured your AT -- I'm a little nervous about it, but am convinced I need it. I'm not afraid of whatever pain the massage may bring -- I just don't want it to set my PF back, which has improved so much in the last few/several months.
I'm going to get the ice wraps you wrote about. Tonight I'm sitting here with two freezer packs, each one wrapped around the Achilles and ankle on each foot, with both feet and the whole mess tied together with a bathrobe sash. If the house caught fire, I'd be a dead duck.
--Nancy

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Bob G. on 6/23/00 at 22:49 (022311)

Nancy, I suspect you have been too eager. Need to rest it until all the pain is gone. Gentle strecthing is okay, but I would wait until no pain.

Decide up front how much time you must give it, then resign your life(sytle) to it. It's much easier that way than playing it by ear or going day-to-day.

I am wearing my NightSpint about 50% of the time now because of sore knees, but am winning. Good luck!


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

wendyn on 6/23/00 at 23:41 (022312)

Hi Nancy! I have had this too.....

You know what?

What haven't I had in my feet?

It seems like every time someone posts something here I'm saying 'me too!'. You guys are going to think I just want to be part of every club. The PF/TTS/Dorsal Bunion/Bunionette/Pes Planus (flat feet)/short achilles tendon/gastroc equinus contracture/ingrown toe nail/tibial torsion/achilies tendonitis/posterior tibial tendonitis/hairy legs/walks like a duck club. Yikes. (When people ask now what's wrong with my feet I say 'lots'. When that puzzles them I explain that there is more wrong than there is right. Other than the fact that they have skin and I have two, pretty much everything else is goobered up. Whatever.

Unfortunately - I really have had all these things. Just really crappy feet.

Anyway. I had a nasty case of this(achilles tendonitis) when I was somewhere around 13 or 15 or so. I was staying at my cousins in New England and I would walk every day to the beach (almost 45 minutes away) and usually in crappy flat shoes. I gave myself a BRUTAL case of achilles tendonitis. I developed a big swollen 'ball' at the base of my achilles. I still have sort of a lump there. Sometimes my achilles bothers me - but not that often.

I don't recall any treatment I had at the time - I think it just went away but it took quite a while. It's a long time ago though - I may have had anti-inflammitories or something.

I'm curious though - I understand what I did to myself to deserve that, but what have YOU done? Does the doctor think you've developed this from being on your feet just the four hours or so antiquing a day? That's rough. I really hope the PT works for you - maybe they can help with the PF too. Ask if anyone there does acupuncture. May be worth a try and may help with pain relief.


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Nancy S. on 6/24/00 at 03:58 (022315)

Bob and Wendy:
I must have been too eager, but I sure felt like I was reining it in . . . it's discouraging. Yes, the dr. said I have to rest them more. I must've said four times, 'But I've BEEN resting them! I rested them for months and now I'm on them only a few hours a day!' And she just repeated 'More rest' until I got it.
Guess I have been playing it too much by ear. Sort of developed therapy plans for myself after the Big Rest but kept having to change them and now I'm kicking myself because I didn't know what I really should be doing or not doing. When the Achilles pain started weeks ago, I mentioned it on here and Alan advised seeing a doctor back then -- and you know Alan wouldn't advise a doc unless he REALLY thought it was necessary! I just continued floundering instead, and probably made it worse.
Right now it feels like it's taken up permanent residence, I don't know how to judge how long it will take until the pain is really gone. Just have to wait it out, I guess. I should take a freelance editing job, except with my feet elevated above my heart I'd have to edit upside-down or something.
I'm up way too early -- it isn't even light out yet. Things will probably look better in the morning.
--Nancy

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/24/00 at 17:01 (022339)

'i think' achilles tendonitis is one of those things that calls for PT and stretching. it will take a long time to go aways on its on. mine really hurt like hell when the PT guy who worked on it. he had no mercy. one day a cute liittle thing worked on the foot which was nice but she did not have the strenth in her thumbs to help this problem. i went to pt 3 times and week for 2 weeks and by that time they had worked out the knot and i was back to running.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Nancy S. on 6/24/00 at 17:44 (022345)

John, really? it took only 2 weeks of PT? Now my hopes are soaring, I don't know if that's good! Should I let them work on my PF, even though that's been doing well? I don't want to wreck anything. --Nancy

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

JHF on 6/25/00 at 03:22 (022356)

I've lurked on this board for close to two years and have learned a lot. I also have PF in one foot (left)and AT in both feet. My custom othodics helped alot, and I could be 99.9% pain free if I didn't run. However I love to referee soccer, so I continue to run. I haven't had PT, but have definitely considered it. I'll probably pay for it myself to avoid the HMO hassle. I'll be very interested to see if it helps your AT without hurting your PF.

JHF from Oakland CA


Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Nancy S. on 6/25/00 at 07:34 (022358)

Welcome, JHF. Sounds like we have exactly the same case (my PF is also in the left foot). I don't run -- I've just been getting back to the kind of walking that allows you to do normal everyday activities, not to mention work. I'd gotten up to about half speed, with minimal PF pain at this point. The physical therapy for achilles tendonitis starts July 14 and I will be posting about it as it goes along.
I wanted to ask you: Since you haven't yet had any PT for this, what do you do for it yourself? ('it' being the Achilles problem) Anything special? Do you stretch it? (I'm afraid to now.) Do you rest it a lot when you're not doing your soccer thing? Have you had any improvement since you first got it? Thanks. --Nancy S.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

john h on 6/25/00 at 09:39 (022363)

i think working on your achilles tendon will help the pf. one disease at a time please.

Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

JHF on 6/25/00 at 13:53 (022379)

Nancy S.,

I stretch my Achilles tendons with a towel twice a day. I used to stretch them standing up with my heel over the stair, but finally figured out that this sometimes made it worse instead of better. I think its much harder to over-do it by stretching with a towel. I had my worst AT flare up in several years over the Memorial Day weekend. After being an assistant referee (linesman) for one game, I almost had to crawl off the field to my car. After I made it home, I stretched it with a towel as hard as I could and it got dramatically better.

When my AT is flaring up, I wear elastic ankle supports when I run. This helps if I run in moderation, but also makes it easier to over-do it. If I run too much with the ankle supports, they cause the outside of my foot to hurt after I stop.

The AT and PF are definitely related in some ways that I don't understand. I think the AT started first (3-4 years ago, after I had been refereeing for 2 years or so), then the PF happened (2 years ago). Currently my running is limited more by the AT in my right foot than the PF. I think too much resting makes my AT somewhat worse (when its not very bad), though perhaps this may be overcome by a vigorous strecthing program. I've noticed that if I take 3-4 days off from exercising (usually due to job related issues) my AT gets a little worse. I'm lucky enough to have a desk job, and I think that if I stood on my feet at work a lot, resting may be more beneficial.

I rest (and swim) a lot more than I used to. Though I've given up my dreams of reffing college soccer games or high school championships, I can still do lots of challenging games.

JHF



Re: Achilles tendonitis, in both feet

Rock on 6/26/00 at 09:32 (022425)

John,

Can you give a lot of details on your PF ?

Perhaps, the group can give you some new ideas ?

Rock.