Monday, November 22, 2010

Official Diagnosis: Achilles Tendinopathy

I just returned from a visit to the CU Sports Med clinic in Denver. Dr. Poddar's diagnosis is Achilles tendinopathy. Stacey, you got it right way back in September.

According to the doc, there are two varieties of Achilles tendinopathy. The kind I've got is where the Achilles is damaged where it inserts into the heel. That doesn't surprise me given that my heel is the only place where my pain is sharp.

After the diagnosis, the doc had me do a one-legged squat test. One stipulation is that one's torso must remain completely upright while performing the squat. On my first attempt, I was able to squat but only because I leaned forward. The doc reminded me to keep my torso upright and had me attempt another squat. With my torso vertical, I could only bend my knee a small amount before it would wobble inward laterally. That, the doc told me, is a sign that I need to work on my hip and core strength. Without improving my strength there, I'm likely to get more overuse injuries. The upside is that overuse injuries can be drastically reduced by completing a few simple exercises (I think that's anecdotal, but the doc referenced some research as well).

I received a handout with a few exercises to do 3-5 times/week. Glancing them over, I thought they'd be a cake walk. First up, there's a leg lift exercise (that link also has a good photo of the one-legged squat test). Next, there's the one-legged bridge (also: a sure-fire way to impress the ladies). Another exercise is kinda like the plank pose in yoga -- basically lying on one's side with one elbow against the ground and raising one's hips into alignment. Finally, I'm to do some calf exercises where I start nearly on my tip-toes and slowly lower my heel until my foot is level.

I'll also head to PT this week or next to get some additional pointers.

Additionally, for those with ITBS, here's a link promoting hip abductor strength as a cure to ITBS.

Oh, and on the positive side I can ride and swim with doc's approval. Running, however, will have to wait 8-10 weeks or until my pain is gone.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Training in a different sense

First, thanks for the advice and encouraging comments folks have left.

My ankle had been doing better...until yesterday. I'm not sure if it was a bit of jogging outside, a big-gear bike ride, or an aqua jog, but something I did in the past few days made my ankle sore once again. The big-gear ride was a test to see if I can ride long this weekend. My ankle failed the test.

Things that help:
(1) Getting Retuled -- Todd raised my seat, installed wedges to rotate my feet thereby more evening distributing my pedaling load laterally across my foot, moved my cleats to the lateral outside of my shoes (again, more evenly distributing my pedalling load), and moved my aerobars up and toward me. I've extremely comfortable and think the new shoe/cleat/seat height modifications will help me ride a bit while I recover.
(2) Cork heel risers in my shoes seemed to reduce my pain almost immediately.
(3) I wear an ankle brace when I'm walking around a lot. The brace prevents me from twisting my foot, which is good because my ankle is most painful when I twist while under load.
(4) The Stick massage -- When I first had Stacey roll this thing over my calf, it was so painful she could barely press down. Now she can press as hard as she's able and I'm fine.

Anyhow, I'm off to a sports med doc the week after this coming one. Hopefully he tells me more than rest, ice, etc.

In the meantime, I've gained almost 10 pounds. My power:HR ratio is an all time low. I've been reduced to aqua-jogging. Aqua-jogging! Oh well, my fitness will recovery (however, the dignity I've lost from aqua-jogging may be gone forever). Still, so long as I recovery by February I should be good for IMCdA.

Instead of training myself, I now train my new puppy, Ozzy: