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Topic: Achilles Tendonitis to Backpacking in 2 Months?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Cynicalsoul000 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2013, 6:08 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am in the process of recovering from achilles tendonitis is both tendons, and I am wondering if any of you have any advice for safe recovery and training.  I have a 6 day, 50-60 mile trip planned in the middle of April that I really want to go on, but I am worried about overtraining and re-injuring my tendons.  For the last two weeks, I have been doing only resistance band physical therapy that was prescribed by my doctor.  Two days ago, I was given the go ahead to use cardio machines and body weight exercise, specifically elliptical or bike, and eccentric calf raises.  The goal of the body weight exercise is to get to 3 sets of 15 (I am currently doing 2 sets of 6).  Once I can safely do 3 sets of 15, my doc said I can start walking and walking with weight.  However, he wasn’t able to give a specific training regime; he just said to listen to my body, stay on the flat for a while, and not to overdo it!  This is the third time I have aggravated my achilles by “overdoing it,” so I am pretty paranoid.  For example, my first day on the elliptical I only did 15 minutes on the lowest resistance; on my second day, I did 17 minutes, with about 7 minutes on a slightly higher resistance.  I don’t know if I am being a chicken, or if this severe moderation is what I need.  

Once I get to the point that I can start walking (maybe 6 to 10 days from now), what do you think I should do?  Should I walk 1 mile one day, 1.5 miles the next day, and so on?  How many miles should I be able to walk without pain before I know I can safely carry 20lbs?  How many miles should I be able to walk without pain before I can start climbing hills or using a stair climber?  My goal is to be able to carry 30lbs for 8-10 miles a day.  Like I said before, I am really paranoid that I am going to overdo it again, and there is no margin of error for the trip in April.  If my tendons cooperate over the next 10 days, I will only have 2 months to get from 1 mile with no weight to 10 miles with 30lbs.  

Any advice is appreciated!
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SW Mtn backpacker Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2013, 8:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Did the Doc say what caused the Achilles tendonitis?  Mine flairs up with stiff "over the ankle" boots which contact the area, thus the switch to trailrunners or low light hikers with mostly UL equipment and style of hiking.  Had to whittle  down the cause myself since a series of civilian and military docs couldn't figure it out...

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 8:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Unfortunately, I don't think any of us can provide those answers for you. Like he said, you have to listen to your body. When in doubt, err on the side of being chicken. If it gets inflamed, you'll wipe out weeks of good rehab. It sucks, but that's the nature of overuse-type injuries.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 9:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It took several months for me to feel comfortable enough to start backpacking after injuring my achilles tendon. The injury was caused by severe nightly leg cramps where I would try to "stretch" the muscle to get the cramps to stop. That stretching actually damaged my achilles.

After two weeks of basically being off my feet I was able to get back to work. (Where I walk almost a mile a day doing my job and climbing stairs 10 times a day.)

The biggest help, though, was not wearing anykind of footware that would rub against the achilles tendon. After several months I put on my boots and did a day hike. The regiment seemed to work. I have no problem backpacking. There is still a slight "bump" on the tendon from where the tear healed over.


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SCKuhn Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 10:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Like others have said here.... footwear is key.
I think many PT's & Dr's overlook the impact that footwear selection has on damage to or recovery of the Achilles.
Both my husband & I irritated our achilles with too stiff or too tall of boots. Like with many other things, less is more!

As far as training... slow and steady would be my input. Check the area often for any signs of irritation - swelling, redness, any sensitivity to touch... really get in tune with your body.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 10:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Whatever you are doing, as you expand your fitness level, is to put bagged ice on the tendons after your work out -- and keep up with Ibuprofen. You want to reduce any inflammation in the tendons and connective tissue around your problem.  I'd be very careful while stretching so as not to over do it.  But you should be doing some light stretching AFTER you have walked or do your exercises.  Don't do any stretching on 'cold' muscles/tendons.

If you don't have any more instructions from the doc or a rehab specialists, check out the Internet.  Look at the stretching suggestions for Plantar Faciitis.  They are for stressing the back of leg tendons.  Moderation is the key at least in the beginning.

Somewhere along the line you are going to have to go through the effort of simulating 10 mile days with a pack.  Best to find out you can't do it before you do it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've found that "ice massage"  works well for tendonitis.  Work a large ice cube up and down the tendon for as long as you can stand it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 4:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I also have AT - You'll have to deal with it, best thing I've found is
# 1 Drop some pounds out of your pack, Think UL
# 2 Use trail runners or low cut Trail walkers, Some mid boots have a Achilles cutaway
# 3 on the trail find a nice cold creek and give them an ICE bath
# 4 slow down at 1st / when I 1st came back after weeks off I couldn't even take a step with my old boots on that's when I figured out it was my old boots that caused the issue, Now I suffer with it everyday for the past 5 years

Good luck
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