Several years ago I was outside working in the yard. The sun was high in the sky and the temperature was rising. Lawnmower roaring in front of me, I daydreamed about being anywhere else with a cold drink in my hand.
I pushed that mower, back and forth, from one side of the property to the other. You see, we lived on a rather large hill and it only made sense to work side to side. In those days I don’t think I would have been able to mow the entire 3/4 acre working up and down that large hill.
The end of the mowing session was closing in and I was feeling fatigued. I wanted to be done with the chore and relaxing inside the house. Thinking more about what I’d watch on television and less about what I was doing, I wound up stepping in a small hole (probably some sort of ground burrowing rodent).
When my foot hit the hole, the front of my foot landed on the outside rim and my heel dropped. Before I could catch myself, my heel plummeted into the hole, stretched out my achilles tendon, and I felt a sharp pain in my heel.
I said a few coarse words, pulled my heel out of the hole, and continued mowing with a bit of a limp. Once I was back inside the house and off my feet, that is when the inflammation set in. Walking was painful and I just assumed it was a mild sprain. Maybe the pain would go away if I just rested it for a day or so?
Rest helped but not enough. A couple of days later I found myself in the doctor’s office trying to figure out what was going on. At the time, my doctor was a marathon runner. Each exam room had a poster from a different marathon that he had participated in.
I explained what happened and the doctor proceeded with the examination. It didn’t take him long to determine that when my heel dropped into the hole I had developed a tiny tear where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel.
The injury wasn’t serious but healing it could take a little while. I would need to ice it down periodically and try not to over-work it. The worse part of the experience wasn’t the pain during walking, it was icing down my foot. Dunking my foot into a 5 gallon bucket of ice water was a rather painful experience.
I don’t recall how long it took that injury to heal but I remember the icy water all too well. Unfortunately, that initial injury seems to have made me sensitive to strain on my right heel. I developed the same injury a couple of years ago while goose hunting with a friend. Now, here I am today, dealing with the very same injury after playing soccer with my daughter.
It has been two weeks and I’m still experiencing some pain and inflammation. It seems to be at its worst first thing in the morning (walking down the stairs can be a real challenge) and after running. I’ve had to cut back a lot on training for the Slimming Down Dad 10K Virtual Fun Run. I seem to be able to handle two miles but afterwards I have to ice and rest my foot.
I’m beginning to worry about missing my long runs but I know that pushing it will only make my injury worse. Have you ever dealt with Achilles Tendonitis? Care to share to tips on recovery?