Acupuncture for Achilles Tendinitis
- Treatment Reviews
- Videos & Guides
- Injury Status In Pain
- Physical activity per week 0-4 hours
- Chronicity 4 - 6 Months
- Repeat injury? No
- Runner No
- Doctor/Care Giver Dr. Deeves
Pain started in bottom of foot Progressed to back of heel and spur formed. Tried cortizone pills, dry needling, physical therapy, and night splint along with orthotic shoes. No long-term success with any treatment.
- Chronicity 4 - 6 Months
I could write volumes about achilles tendinosis. I've had it off and on (bilaterally) for the better part of 18 years. It has been a significant limiter to my training and race participation over the years. I've spent $1,000's in wasted entry fees and canceled travel plans. Looking on the bright side, I've learned to think positively, to persevere, and most importantly not to take this sport too seriously. Anyhow, here's a summary of my experience:
July 4, 1997: pain started in left AT. After 4 months of physical therapy including all the standard stuff: rest, ultrasound, cross friction massage, iontophoresis I could run again at an acceptable level of pain.
1997-2006: fluctuating pain levels in both ATs. These nine years of running/cycling frequency dictated by pain levels. Saved hard/long runs mostly for race day. Tried just about every non-surgical remedy under the sun, multiple times. gazillion doctor visits, more physical therapy, MRI's, eccentric calf raises, pissed a lot of money on useless orthotics. I spent a significant amount of time researching tendinosis and discovered that most orthopedics and podiatrists really don't know what to do. I saw a dozen different doctors over this time period confirming this at least for me. You can confirm this as well: arm yourself with list of questions requiring concrete, detailed responses prior to visiting your doctor and watch them squirm for answers. (One supposedly world-renowned ankle reconstruction orthopedic didn't even attempt to find a solution, looking me straight in the eye instead and said nothing could be done; I should stop running and play golf)
July 2006: By this time, I couldn't run more than 10 feet. Left AT was a mess. After more research, I concluded that topaz microdebridement surgery might work for me. I flew from Fla where I was living at the time to Santa Monica, CA to have the procedure done by a podiatrist who appeared to have some success with procedure. Surgery required general anesthesia. Post surgery, non-weight bearing boot for 2 weeks, followed by weight bearing boot for another 4 weeks. I wasn't able to run for 7 months - long rehab period. However, after 7 months I was cured. No more pain. Unfortunately, soon afterward, my right AT became more of a limiter.
Nov 2009: Went back to Santa Monica for my right AT (now living in CA). Tried PRP. Fail.
Dec 2009: Topaz microdebridement on my right AT. I was a better patient this time so rehab was more like 5 months. However, this time I'd say the success was about 80%. A portion of the painful tendon didn't fully heal but was good enough to run somewhat unimpeded.
~2012: right AT getting more bothersome and hampered running.
~2013: MRI on right AT. Tendinosis confirmed. tried acupuncture, more PT, loads of eccentrics to no avail.
August 2014: pain in right AT (which had been pain free for 8 years) came on strong day after race. Now I have it in both legs again.
October 2014: went back to Santa Monica. Tried PRP twice in both legs over 8 week period. FAIL. In my view, PRP sucks and is a waste of time and $. I knew that before but, against my better judgement, allowed the doc to talk me into it. $1,500 down the tubes.
March 2015: Here's where it gets interesting, at least to me. After more research and internal reflection, I decided to go to the king of achilles tendons. So, I contacted Hakan Alfredson in Sweden (of the Alfredson eccentric protocol fame) and booked an appointment to see him.
March 28, 2015: Flew from CA to Umea, Sweden. Three days later, I was on the table and Prof. Alfredson was performing bilateral AT surgery (ultrasound+Doppler-guided mini-surgical scraping). It was under local anesthesia. I felt no pain. The surgery took about 1 hour and I got up from the table and walked back to my hotel room which was about 200 yrs from his office. By the way, nobody in the U.S. is doing this yet. And, it's been a successful procedures to the many professional athletes that travel from all over the world to see him. I flew home on 4/2.
April 4, 2015: Here it is less than a week after bilateral surgery and I am walking almost normally and with no pain. I can't believe it. The rehab procedure calls for me to begin light running in 5 to 7 weeks, and I am very hopeful that this works. Here's some info on his procedure:
- Injury Status Cured
- Runner Yes
1) Eccentric Calf drops, 60-100 per day
2) Roll It - believe it or not, I used a wooden rolling pin.
5) Acupuncture (works better for some then others but worth a shot)
I tried to fix it on my own, no luck. Followed the above regiment and was back in business in no time. I couldn't run 2km without having to stop dead in my tracks. Now I'm back up to 20km runs with no problem. Follow it like clock work and you will get back sooner, casually follow it and it will take much longer.
- Injury Status In Pain
- Chronicity 2 - 3 Months
- Runner Yes
I've been managing achilles tendonosis for a year now, after running for the Wounded Warriors foundation last September. I'm male, late 30's, long commute and long days stuck in an office chair - run 3-5 miles 2 or 3 days a week (for 20 years now), so pretty much the classic tendonosis candidate. I've been to a variety of specialists, from podiatrists to orthopedists to ART/graston, to accupuncture. Here's what's working, and what's not - would appreciate some guidance, as I'm loosing hope...
Oct 2014: Physical therapy - helped loosen the calf/hips, but pain remained; started riding stationary bike to get cardio in, stopped running altogether (maintained stationary bike until recently - see below)
Nov: Oral steroids prescribed by 1st orthopedic surgeon - slight reduction in swelling, but came back 1-2 weeks later
Dec: deep tissue massage at podiatrist office a few times a week - helped but became too expensive and too tough to get there with my hectic schedule
Jan: orthopedic surgeon recommended surgery - first time I "ran" since Sep, as in running right out of his office
Feb: tried ART/Graston - first once a week, then twice a week; started Alfredson protocol (eccentric heal drops), but with no weights
Mar: ART/Graston helping quite a bit, but felt like eccentric heal drops making it worse, or at least preventing progress - stopped doing them after 4-5 weeks
Apr: Chiro performing ART/Graston suggested slow running to get blood flowing - started nice and easy and progressed VERY slowly. Running in Glycerin 13 (Brooks), and hard orthotics (been using for many years) - in retrospect, the shoes were probably worn out
May: After 7-8 weeks of increasing mileage, went for a slow 2.5 mile run, foot in ice bath afterwards, next day couldn't get out of bed until 30 minutes of massage and stretching - back to square one
Jun: stopped ART/Graston, and to another orthopedic group to see their "non-surgery solution MD" - recommended nitroglycerin patch, and said may try PRP in a few weeks if that didn't work. He said the patches could cause headaches - which gets funny... I work with anesthesiologists in my day job. 10 days after starting the patches, my eyes were red, and my head was pounding. One of the physicians took notice, and asked if I was okay - I told him about the patches, and he just started laughing - said to stop immediately. I did. The head is much better. Achilles the same...
Jul: started accupuncture with traditional Chinese physician - seems to help a little. I go on Saturdays, and feel okay throughout the rest of the weekend. By Monday I'm back to same pain.
Aug: learned the Alfredson protocol requires weight to be added (hadn't realized that before). Started loading a backpack and got back to the protocol (3 weeks ago). Also, got back to seeing ART/Graston once a week (Wednesdays), and seeing Accupuncture on Saturdays. Stopped stationary bike, as I figured it could be causing problems. Switched to eliptical machine, but staying mindful not to lift heels from the pedal, as trying to get cardio in without too much pressure on achilles.
Sep 2015: Accupuncturist getting frustrated with the injury, and recommends injection of homeopathic meds (Traumeel). Got two weeks in a row of injections. Seems to hep with inflamation for a few days, and then back to normal. Following the alfredson protocol, and up to about 30-40 pounds of weight. After the exercises, I ice for 15 minutes, and then hot water and epson salts for 30 minutes. Also rolling the calfs and hamstrings regularly.
Hopefully that's enough background. Here's the current problem (other than the frustration of not running more than 20 miles over an entire year). I really think the Alfredson protocol is making my problem worse. Like much worse. I've read that this is kind of the point, and in the spirit of the protocol. However, I'm looking for some guidance from the folks on the forum as to if you experienced the same increased pain, and I could use some convincing to stick with it if that's worked for any of you. For those that stuck with it, how many weeks of getting worse until you noticed it turning the corner? It doesn't hurt while doing the exercises, but my pain in general is getting worse. I had hoped to finally get over the pain, and give a new pair of Hoka's a try.
We all likely have a love/hate relationship with running. I have to say I'm heartbroken with this injury. I just hit my 1-year anniversary today. Not sure what else to do. Thank you in advance for your thoughts and guidance.