Achilles trouble

by veseunr   June 16, 2014  

My Achilles heel is my right achilles tendon!

Fine for first hour on the bike, then generally a sharp pain and a dull pain for the rest of the ride (with the odd sharp pain). I'm not a big heel striker or all tiptoes (neutral ankle). After the ride, my tendon actually audibly creaks about 2 inches above my heel.

I stretch, ice, rest and it takes a day or two to calm down. Feels fine, cycle and then starts again.

Obviously, less bike time is not an option! Any miracle cures or advice please?!

4 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Achilles tendinitis by the sounds of it...

From the sounds of the 'sharp pain' I think you are doing something quite acute to irritate the tendon sheath and then you are experiencing the normal discomfort experienced with tendinitis.

Whats the answer?

Without seeing you on the bike, there are probably three courses of action I'd follow.

1. Locate exactly where the tendon is irritated, and then check all of your shoes/clothing (cycling and non-cycling), and anything you do on a day to day, to see if you can identify anything that might put pressure on the tendon.

I used to get tendinitis in my left achilles... after trying everything on the bike, I eventually found it was a pair of work shoes that were causing the irritation in the first place.

2. Fiddle with your bike position to ease stress on the achilles. Do this through a mixture of lowering the saddle slightly, but at the same point moving the cleats further back on the shoes.... Also, uncontrolled excessive pronation of the foot will put stress on the achilles.

3. change your cycling shoes... doesn't matter what to, just change them.

I once had a horrid bout of achilles tendinitis as I'd simply left my cycling shoes in the airing cupboard too long. The heel cup rubbed my achilles the wrong way, and boom I was in agony. After several weeks and many pounds spent on a physio, changing shoes had me back up to full speed in less than a fortnight.

Oh, and finally, do what you can reasonably do on the bike. There is a brutal way around this stuff, which is simply to push through it. It can go horribly wrong, but like all things, the body is adaptive, so force it to adapt... this should be the last course of action however.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [294 posts]
16th June 2014 - 15:58

1 Like

Is your saddle too high? I was unable to cycle for a few months after doing my Achilles in after riding a friends bike a few miles with the saddle too high.

posted by Scoob_84 [206 posts]
16th June 2014 - 17:17

1 Like

Hi my achilles problem started after I got a new bike. Even though I had setup the seat height the same as my other bike I started to get a numbness in my right ankle. I read loads of comments about pedal clip location which helped a little. The problem cleared up when I decided to raise my seat 1cm. For my problem raising the seat lessened the stretch on my ankle, by increasing toe down riding position slightly.

You need to analyse your issue, whether you have smooth ankle movement or too much stretch or not enough. Make one small adjustment at a time and see if your issue settles or improves.

posted by CXR94Di2 [149 posts]
16th June 2014 - 19:53

1 Like

veseunr - What you describe sounds very much like tendonitis and I would *strongly* recommend you get it looked at ASAP. This is not a condition that you want to ignore or just try and 'push through' - sorry, Jimmy Ray but that is terrible advice - and less time on the bike is, I'm afraid very much an option you will need to consider.

My own experience of tendonitis sounds very much like yours and was mostly a result of running and playing football - dull pain in the tendon in the morning, slightly alleviated by stretching and massage, generally increased during exercise and was very painful afterwards. I tried rest, different shoes, exercise and ignoring it then one day playing 5-a-side, felt what I thought was a kick in the back of the calf, heard a squeaky 'pop' and that was my left achilles tendon rupturing about 4cm above the back of the heel. This is the 'horribly wrong' JRW alludes to above.

Cue nearly 3 months in various plaster casts and months of physio and rebuilding of strength. That was in 2007 and I still have one calf a bit smaller than the other and slightly less extension & power. It's fine for running and cycling but I don't play any stop-and-start sports now.

Also, don't confuse external irritation from shoes with mechanical and tissue problems, they are not necessarily the same thing.

Do not mess about, go and see a physio, GP and get it assessed properly. Cautionary tale over.

Addition: you will almost certainly be prescribed eccentric heel raises as an exercise to stretch the calf muscles and strengthen the tendon. Look it up on the web and try it but remember the key is to do it very slowly and controlled, not bouncing.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [838 posts]
16th June 2014 - 23:19

3 Likes