So I went for my first decent ride ever yesterday, training for the Gong ride. Just down to Kurnell (35k's each way is it from Glebe?). Just the 4 of us, non road-warrior types, our usual commutes are about 8ks each way so a bit different.

I'm not sure if it was hurting before, but gradually my achilles on my left ankle started hurting. On the way back hurting more, but I pressed on through regardless.

Later on I was really hurting, and it's been bad all night and today into near agony at times. Has anyone else had a similar problem?

I'm rather worried as everything I read about Achilles problems is that you need quite a lot of rest to avoid aggravating the injury further, so I might be struggling for the Gong ride in 2 weeks (was going to get some good hills in this week too).

We shall see, but I will find out what the physio says tonight. I mention this

  • in case anyone else has had a similar experience and might have advice (Might I be OK for the Gong ride? I can walk, it's not agony, just a worry)
  • To draw attention to this - http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html#achilles (and the part about ankling - does anyone else do this? I didn't know it was bad!)
  • To wonder how many people wave to other riders? Not many 'serious' looking riders did (with notable exceptions) except the person at the back of each group (presumably the leader or one of them?)

All in all it was a great first place for a ride, no hills of note at all, but I don't feel sore today anywhere too much aside from my ankle. We did the leg to Kurnell in 1h10 which I think is a pretty good pace (?) for some noobs in variable levels of kit and no slipstreaming!

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May just be an over use style injury. If you haven't done long rides previously it would be on the cards.

Try some rest & a minor exercise to let it settle down.

Good on you for giving it a solid go.

 

When you say "achilles" you mean the achilles tendon, yeah?

Question. Any sensation of "creaking" in the tendon? Esp if you rest your left lower leg across your right knee, and do a "heel-and-toe" action with your injured foot, while gently holding the tendon between finger and thumb?

 

 

OK, so I went to the physio this afternoon.

It is indeed a strain of the tendon, but whilst it is visibly swollen, hopefully should go down in a few days. Apparently the achilles is very tough and you only have feeling in the outside of it (5% or so he reckoned). Pain can be OK, but we're going to re-assess, and I might still be OK for the Gong ride. We won't really know until nearer the time. As it's not a competition I'm not going to put myself through a pain barrier if it causes damage, but I can toughen up a bit! Just gutted I can't do some more practice to help me get up those hills!

Interesting info this has dug up about the riding style and some injuries that can be caused, so I will really thoroughly check that as much as I can before the big ride. Also I will watch for using my ankles too much (thanks Sheldon, RIP). Has anyone else had similar problems? (Nice research paper there, Bill!!)

I didn't think a 3 hour flat ride (return) would be too bad as an intro ride, I do 45 mins every day and a lot more stopping and starting, but it was a good test. Ideally I suppose I'd have a much more gentle slope but work and other commitments (including an aversion to early mornings and mates who are hard to organise) make it hard.

Great idea about getting "juiced up". I've had some watermelon this evening, and got some OJ for in the morning. I assume that's what you meant, unless there's a more specific type of juice we should be looking for?

I'm actually pleasantly surprised how we all pulled up today to be honest, very few aches and pains, and I really enjoyed going for a nice flat ride like that. It's hard to put my finger on what part of the body would be tired first on a long ride like that, most exercise leaves me more out of breath, but on some fast sections it was a bit of everything, but not so much muscle ache. Indeed most exercise I've done has left me feeling more aches and pains the day after.

My bum is a bit sore, but not as sore as that of the collective Manchester United squad after they got bent over by Manchester City last night... c'mon you blues!

 

But be advised he'll probably tell you to get on the juice!

His web site is really quite good.
My "Achilles" felt as smooth as pork crackling before I found his http://www.sydneysteroidologycyclist.com

Achilles usually play up with unusual strain but can show up anytime. Is usually an indicator of calf muscle issues great or small. There's some great internet resources for proactive strengthening to prevent it reoccurring. 

Don't know if I'd completely go with the "tough tendon" scenario, but at least pedalling isn't high impact.  If you were playing football I'd say go lightly.

In my own personal experience with achilles I've found that completely stopping exercise doesn't help all that much. I got best results when I did strengthening combined with light exercise. Never stopped me from using the bike. 

My call is you don’t want to go anywhere near Achilles Tendonitis if you can. Best sort it out beforehand, could be shoes or position of cleats. I agree with Cate, have a look on the web for stretching exercise, pick a few and do them as often as you can.
I had several years of deep massage and strapping because of running shoes which didn’t suit my style. Swapped brands, did more barefoot stuff and have been pain and creak free since.

Sorry can I just correct you baa baa .. calf strengthening exercises are what I was talking about. 

Stretching may be very wrong for an achilles that is under stress. 

Achilles tendinopathy interfered with my cycling for about 5 years in the 1970s. Physio helped a little, but adjusting cleat position did not appear to make any difference. Eventually a sports physician suggested stretching the calf muscles and the problem vanished within days. Stretching is pretty close to eccentric exercise which is probably the best way to go now. In eccentric exercise the muscle lengthens while under load.  Three short You tube videos by La Trobe Uni show how to do the exercises:

part 1;   part 2;   part 3.

 

I suggest that you wait until you can walk pain free, then start with about 5 reps and build up slowly. Eccentric exercise stresses the muscle quite severely. You will feel it the next day.

 

Usually this is caused by a sudden stretch of your tendon, you will be fine after a few days. A little foot rotation warm up before the ride and move the seat post higher, so that when you crank your pedals, your toes are SLIGHTLY dipping downward instead pointing up or horizontally, imagine you're walking tip-toe while riding. I commute 35km pedalling like this, no muscle pains anywhere except that I ran out of breath.

Thanks for all the tips guys! I've had a couple of physio sessions, and feel much better. Will try a light ride tomorrow and hopefully this should go OK. Today I'm walking alright. On reflection it may have been caused by me jumping off a balcony on Saturday, but then only really aggravated by riding on Sunday, so cycling might not be totally to blame. This is a good thing.

The physio did some massage and suggested voltarin and heat packs. It started to squeak a bit (my achilles) on Wednesday, but apparently this is a good sign it's healing.

Anyway, thanks for the help and support - I'm going to check out those stretches when I'm safe to do so. All being well we'll be on the gong ride!

Oh, and as for the "juice" suggestions. Yeah, just juice, that's what you were talking about, right? I've been drinking plenty just before my EPO sessions and getting my weekly nandralone injections.

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