There we go again

It’s been quiet on my blog for a very long time, simply because all was fine and I got on with my life as usual, gradually increasing my activity level, starting to run, slowly increasing the distance and speed. Every time i noticed some stiffness in the morning after I would give myself an extra day of rest and run a bit slower the next day. This seemed to work nicely, so in september i started training volleyball again. Wow, that was something else than running, and worst of all was my jump! I used to reach 3m50 in the good times before my rupture, now I only just got off the ground! Very scary as well, to start jumping again, but after a shaky start, I noticed no bad effects. The day after I was sore, but not specifically my achilles tendon. After a couple of trainings my jump had improved to ca 70% my pre-injury height and I played a 4 set match. After that I was a bit sore in the morning and the soreness did not go, but got worse every day. So now, two I have pain in my achilles again in the morning, and when I run or jump, so no more volleyball, no more running and back to 3×15 eccentric heel drops twice a day, for 12 weeks. Only thing I still do is on the stationary bicycle.

Very depressing, just as I was starting to believe I could come back to volleyball. But I guess the hard lesson is that with my style of play (1m jump in the good days), my tendon is not going to carry that… So after a couple of weeks when I can run again, I will stick to that and avoid the high-impact sports for good.


  1. Ali Said,

    October 30, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    You and me both Wilco, sorry to hear this. I deterioated over a couple of weeks after not wearing my inserts for a few days. I didn’t realise how much I need them. I guess we can’t forget this has been a serious injury and now and again there is a reminder. This time I listened a lot sooner and its getting under control. Bringing back some memories here but at least I know how to manage it this time and I have nothing like the old pain. Im back to the old stationary cycle and eccentrics routine too. Heal well.

  2. wilco Said,

    October 31, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

    Hi Ali, yes I’m sorry to hear you’re back there too. Same here as you, i immediately recognized where this was going to go. I think what we should not forget is that while we may well recover fully if we’re careful, we were in the risk group of healthy people who injure their Achilles tendon in the first place… My physio said that with my pre-injury jump height (ca 1m) the tendon has to withstand 15x my body weight when landing. So even for a healthy tendon that is a lot to ask.

  3. Ali Said,

    November 2, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    Hi Wilco yeah you are right. In my case the biomechanics are crucial. Whether I like it or not Im also going to have to commit to going to the gym more often. I do find it boring but is essential if I want to reduce my risk of further injury. I have to be up on my feet for work so its a no brainer really. Ive lost confidence in my gait temporarily but its getting there. Im grateful to not be in the same position as last year.

  4. normofthenorth Said,

    November 2, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

    It’s great you two have found each other — part of the magic of this website — but your stories puzzle me. I’ve torn both of my ATs (8 years apart) playing competitive court volleyball, and I returned to it full strength after both. And for me, the injuries didn’t come from jumping or landing, but from floor defense — specifically, back-pedalling fast in anticipation of a spike, then realizing I had to run and dive FORWARD to get the ball (or come close! ;-) ). That change of direction — pushing hard to go forward while still moving backwards — is a classic way to put max load on an AT, and rupture it. (Mind you, I don’t even DREAM of jumping 1m in the air — not at my peak, and also not now at 67!)

    So I’d be surprised if you both couldn’t work this through well enough to return to the high-risk sport that “did” your ATR, if you want to do so. For the vast majority of us, the healed AT is not the problem, but the other AT is at risk of rupturing, the same way the first one did. You two seem to be exceptions. I’m sure there’s a reason, and I don’t know what it is.

  5. Ali Said,

    November 3, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

    Mine is directly related to wearing no inserts for a few days, I was fine then I wasn’t, it happened really quickly. But then I had problems with my arches as a kid. Im definately improving and hope same for you Wilko.

  6. wilco Said,

    December 3, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    Hi Ali,

    yes so am I, i have been doing the eccentric program religiously and no running and volleyball. When I did run for a little the other day I only felt a slight ‘fatigue’ so I think I am on my way back. But I won’t do any volleyball until I have been running pain-free for at least 6 months. Hope you continue to improve as well!

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