tanja90’s AchillesBlog

Just another AchillesBlog.com weblog

Tendon warm to touch

Filed under: Uncategorized — tanja90 at 4:41 am on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Recently my tendon area has been feeling rather warm to the touch. Does anyone know why this is? Should I be worried?

Helpful supplements for tissue repair

Filed under: Uncategorized — tanja90 at 7:22 pm on Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I have been taking the following supplements and feel that they have helped me progress relatively quickly; I was in 2 shoes five days after having my cast removed, six weeks post surgery. Just under two weeks post cast removal I am using leg resistance machines in the gym. Read about my progress so far here http://achillesblog.com/tanja90/2014/08/03/my-timeline-so-far/


BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are made up of three essential amino, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are essential because the body is unable to make them out of other amino acids, meaning they must be ingested through food or supplements. The BCAAs make up 40 percent of the daily requirement of all nine essential amino acids, indicating their importance.

The BCAAs are found in foods containing protein, with the highest concentrations in chicken, beef, salmon, eggs, and whey protein. They can also be supplemented, which can be useful for athletes because free form BCAAs bypass the liver and gut tissue and go directly to the blood stream.

As their name suggests, BCAAs have a branched side chain that simplifies the job of converting each amino acid into energy during intense exertion. They make up about 35 percent of all muscle tissue. The more BCAAs that are present in the muscles, the more they will be used for energy, slowing the breakdown of muscles cells and preventing muscle loss.

BCAAs are well known for triggering protein synthesis. Combining BCAAs with resistance exercise results in maximal protein synthesis because they both trigger something called the mTORC1 signaling pathway that is essential for muscle building.

The BCAAs along with alanine, aspartate, and glutamate are all taken into muscle tissue for energy. It is suggested that muscle is designed to burn BCAAs for energy during exercise, making a large pool essential for performance.

Another great benefit of BCAAs is that if you have to take time off from training due to injury, a need for a break, or lack of time, increasing your BCAA intake will minimize muscle loss. In addition, because BCAAs trigger protein synthesis even in the absence of exercise, the preservation of lean muscle tissue can keep metabolism up and help prevent fat gain when inactive.

For example, in a rodent study, giving BCAAs to rats that had their hind-limbs immobilized for six days helped preserve protein synthesis. The BCAAs didn’t completely prevent muscle atrophy in the rats’ hind limbs, but they helped preserve the muscle to a greater extent than a placebo. The BCAA-fed rats also had lower body fat levels following immobilization.


MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring nutrient that provides the body with essential sulfur and methyl groups that are used in healing and repair processes. MSM is prized by professional and amateur athletes for effective nutritional support of athletic performance and recovery from soft tissue and joint injuries. MSM can safely be taken over the long term with no documented toxicity. As a result, athletes can achieve improved performance, pain relief, and enhanced tissue repair without fear of side effects.

MSM is thought to deliver sulfur to the body in a useable way. Sulfur helps maintain the structure of connective tissue by forming cross-linkages through disulfide bonds, i.e., sulfur strengthens the tissues that make up the joint.

Sulfur is critical to good joint health. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are the fundamental building blocks of joint cartilage, and GAG molecules are linked together in chains by disulfide bonds. As the name implies, these bonds are between two sulfur atoms. The disulfide bridges reduce conformational flexibility of GAG chains, making cartilage firm and resilient. Cartilage integrity is thus a sulfur-dependent state.

MSM contains a lot of sulfur – 34% by weight. While more research is needed to determine how the body absorbs the sulfur it needs from MSM, preliminary studies in mice and in horses suggest that the sulfur in MSM is incorporated into proteins and into joint tissues.

My progress so far - 9 weeks post surgery

Filed under: Uncategorized — tanja90 at 6:44 pm on Sunday, August 3, 2014

08/06/14 - 35 minutes into a game of netball I pushed off to dodge a defender as usual but this time I heard a thud, felt a kick and fell to the floor. I turned around and no one was there. I had a feeling it was my Achilles. I went to the hospital and they confirmed it and put a plaster cast on. It was a Sunday so I was told to come into the clinic the following day.

09/06/14 - Got ultrasound which showed 1.4cm rupture. Discussed options with consultant and decided on surgery. Said the next clinic with the surgeon was 2 weeks away but due to my age and activity levels he would speak to the consultant and see whether I could be seen earlier.

13/06/14 - Got a call on Friday morning telling me to come in for surgery. Was there until 4pm the following day.

25/06/14 - Wound check and cast change. Foot moved up to almost neutral.

09/07/14 - Cast change. Foot moved up to neutral.

23/07/14 - Cast removed and given boot. Discharged to Physiotherapist. Decided I wouldn’t just sit and do nothing like the consultant said so once home I went out in my garden and tried to walk slowly up and down using both crutches. I sat without my boot and pushed my foot back so my knee was over my toes and I could feel a stretch. I tried to do calf raises whilst sitting down but could barely move my heel.

24/07/14 - Using one crutch.

26/07/14 - No crutches with boot. Seated calf raises improved.

28/07/14 - First physio appointment. Seemed horrified to see me in a boot with no crutches but after talking to a senior physio he told me it was fine and that I could even walk around at home in trainers with a crutch! He had me perform some exercises so he could see my strength and flexibility and graded each one from 1-5. I scored 3 or 4 for all of them :). My leg seemed to have gotten slightly bigger since the cast was removed so I decided to measure so I could check my progress from then on. Left calf: 13.5″. Right calf 15″.

29/08/14 - Working on walking without a crutch in my garden.

03/08/14 - Physio said I can use stationary bike at the gym so I went for the first time today. The recumbent bike is much harder on my calves than the upright. I also walked slowly on the treadmill. My walking has improved but it is still slow with a slight limp.

04/08/14 - I have since been stretching everyday, icing everyday and doing calf raises everyday. I have also done a few squats. I have a physio appointment tomorrow.

05/08/14 - Went to the physio and he is happy with my progress. Still doesn’t want me to totally lose the boot just yet but is happy with me walking on the treadmill. He also says I can use the leg machines in the gym. I have 3 weeks to work on my balance and one legged squats and maybe start some more functional training.

08/08/14 - Things must be looking up. Today is the first day I have woken up without a stiff tendon! Legs & back today so I will try some one legged squats.

10/08/14 - Left calf 14″. It’s grown half an inch - one more inch to go

16/08/14 - The strength in my toes is improving. When I first went to the gym I couldn’t move a 4.5kg plate with my bad foot on tiptoes - pushing with the whole foot and with the heel were fine and I could do 18kg. Today I pushed 9kg with my bad toes and 25kg with my bad leg. I can also do one legged squats on my bad leg now and am able to balance whilst looking up.