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Injuries and Related Thoughts11/12/2017

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West Ridge of Mt. Elbert, June 2013. Credit: Caroline Treadway.

Since May 8th, I’ve been dealing with an achilles injury in my left heel. Insertional achilles tendinosis. As if ascribing it a label makes any fucking difference in my ability to do what I want with my body. This spring I was coming off a particularly productive season of skiing (by my standards), so I was cardiovascularly fit and ramping up the running in anticipation of any number of summer objectives (maybe even some races!). I remember that the possibility of tackling Nolan’s 14 in late June is what specifically motivated this particular outing (33mi/12k’). There was a lot of uphill.

I woke up the next morning with a very tight left achilles, but honestly, that’s been typical for me after long efforts for, like, almost 10 years now. So I went biking, which I’d planned anyways. The following day, I jogged through a flat run, but by the end I knew my achilles was fucked. It took more than six weeks to get back to 100%-ish (late June). I re-aggravated it with a week of big vertical and running outings in the Tetons and Wind River Range in early August, and sorta put the nail in the proverbial coffin with a long alpine run/scramble in Rocky Mt National Park in mid-August. I haven’t done any meaningful running, climbing, or scrambling on it since.

When I was in high school, I sucked at running, if one were to evaluate my racing by any objective standard. Sure, I ran more than anyone else, but even so, my meager talent allowed for only mediocre results.  I almost immediately compensated by taking solace in the fact that I was at least trying really hard, i.e. running way more than was reasonable or advisable. If I wasn’t going to win races, at least no one could accuse me of laziness or not caring.

This amounts to a sort of pyrrhic victory. Which is to say, not a victory at all. In fact, it’s kind of bullshit. There is no honor in running oneself into the ground.

In the beginning—even far after the beginning, in my case—assiduously cultivating an ironclad work ethic was the main goal. So much talent is squandered due to lack of motivation, lack of work ethic, lack of discipline. It has always been (at least for me) really difficult to differentiate between feeling reluctant to run because I’m overworked and tired (and thereby flirting with injury) and feeling reluctant because maybe I’m just being lazy or perhaps not tough enough. One of the things that really attracted me to the sport in the first place was the individual responsibility. If I was going to suck, it was going to be on me, not contingent on the apathy of teammates. So, from the beginning, I was determined to at least not fail due to laziness.

I distinctly remember lying on the floor in front of the propane heater in my childhood home, blissfully soaking up the hot air on winter mornings while waging an internal battle between just rolling over, giving in to the cozy comfort and skipping the morning run…or instead rousting myself, getting dressed, and heading out into the icy pre-dawn darkness for the 7mi jaunt into town for school. I was 13. What the fuck.

But back then (1997) I was <5’ tall, 85lb, and basically indestructible. Over the 20 weeks of that winter and then spring track season, I averaged more than 80mpw and ultimately logged more than 3000 miles on a single pair of retro Nike Cortez that I’d gotten for $1 at a thrift store. I basically didn’t know that running injuries were a thing.

Less than a year later, they most definitely were a thing, as I incurred my first (of ~15) stress fractures–this one in my left tibia–in November 1997. Back then, only 14 years old, I healed absurdly quickly, and I was back out there only three or four weeks later. But then it was my achilles, my hip, a femoral stress fracture, my hamstring, etc, etc. The last 20 years have basically been one injury after another, because once I’d gotten through the growing pains of puberty, it was back to that old trope of outworking everyone else and, suddenly, I found that, in my 20s, I could handle up to 200 miles per week of running, for at least a few weeks at a time, before something broke down.

Nevertheless, this obsession—combined with finding my niche in the then competitively immature sport of ultra trail running—allowed me to finally find success as a runner. Volume became both my security blanket and, ultimately, my foil. Due to my lack of success in the conventional (sub-ultra) racing distances, I’ve always denied that I have any talent as a runner and have always tried to make up for that with sheer volume.

Ultimately, whether I have any talent (I’ve accepted that I do, for what it’s worth) has become irrelevant, because I can’t fucking run. And I’d still really, really like to. Races and not. Recently, my physiotherapist made the assumption that I was still running 30-4o miles per week these last couple months (I haven’t, obviously). Gimme a fucking break. If I could run that much—consistently—I wouldn’t be here bitching about it so much! Being able to handle 40-50mpw with additional skiing or biking (season dependent), would be utopia.

Is that too much to ask? Did I really fuck myself with all those years of pointless miles? Is that why my Achilles hurts? (The prominent Haglund’s Deformity that I’ve had on that heel for literally as long as I can remember might suggest yes.) I still have so much shit I really want to do. Maybe I don’t deserve another chance, but, man, I’d really appreciate one.

 

46 responses to “Injuries and Related Thoughts”

  1. Sylvie says:

    Tony, thank you for talking about injuries and real personal struggles in the era of social media where people only seem to be publishing their successes. Makes one feel less alone in it. Hope you recover soon.

  2. Jeff Valliere says:

    Damn, I feel for you. I joke with you on occasion about overdoing it, but I really do get the obsession to a certain degree, maybe not the volume for the sake of volume, but your passion for the mountains and vertical. Heck, if I wasn’t so busy with other things in life like wife, kids, house, working, etc… I would most certainly be injured much more often. I don’t get out nearly as much as I want, but life outside running sort of keeps me in check, for better and worse.

    Anyways, I am always rooting for you to heal up and get back to doing whatever it is that you most want to do and do it at your full capacity. Or at the very least, get back to running with you again.

    • anton says:

      Thanks, Jeff. I definitely do miss being able to get out for just a simple jog up the hill. I’ll get there.

  3. Brad Williams says:

    It’s boggling how the human body can seem completely unbreakable and fragile at the same time. I often hope my passion dies before my body calls it quits. Good luck. I hope you find a way to put it all together.

  4. Paco says:

    Man, it hurts to read you. As a runner. As one who loves running, has been injured a lot, has come back as many times, fallen again, lost hope, came back nevertheless.
    I hope this helps.
    At high school and college I run middle distances, I was a 14:45 5k guy. Kept getting injured, plantar fascitis, hamstring tears, stress fractures. Eventually gave up.
    Came back a few years later, posed to run a maraton, got injured a few times in the process, run 2:32, tore my fascia and metatarsals several times, gave up again.
    Came back again a few years later, this is, a few years ago. I’m now 41 and just run my PB in half marathon 1:10 and marathon 2:29. I have managed to train for almost three years in a row without a serious injury now.
    How did I do it?
    I ditched my insoles. I ditched pronation control shoes. I started walking barefoot and gently stretching my calves and tibialis, the typical pushing the wall and crouching like a pigeon. This is important. But just walking, wide zero drop shoes or barefoot, maybe run half a mile one day, rest, a bit more, rest, and, I know this sounds horribly boring, this way I walked myself out of the hole I was. Eventually I managed to run 5k, then 10k, then faster, then longer, then harder, then reps, then hills, then races.
    My advice is give your achiles a little break, break up that Haglund as much as you can, then start from zero.
    Good luck.
    And thanks for sharing.

  5. AJW says:

    Hey Tony, well said. When you get back to that 40-50 mow you’ll be grateful (I know I AN). Running is a gift guys like us have taken for granted and as we get older it has to be respected and cared for a bit more carefully. Or it will bite us in the ass. Good luck on the recovery trail.

  6. Injuries suck – plain and simple

    But they do force you to focus on what’s most important, goals, loves, and healing. I am not an athlete of your caliber – but I once was a decent athlete, and I pride myself on the journey I am on to get semi-close to the decent athlete I once was.

    I’ve had to balance that goal with being a single mom of 3 kids, working a full time job, and being the chief cook and bottle washer at home. In between all of that noise I’ve made time to hike, run, swim and bike – and I was on my way – feeling stronger. But then I took a bad step on a rainy night in Minnesota and ended up in the ER with a cracked right fibula. I was angry with myself and devistated that all the hikes and events I planned for the summer were doomed – not to mention taking care of everyone whilst crippled.

    I moped around after the surgery for a few days, but then read about healing and nutrition and decided if I couldn’t move – I’d make sure everything I ate was optimal for healing. It gave me new focus and I felt great – from the inside out. I also gained a whole new appreciation for the handicapped. I sought out handicapped accessible trails (like up at NCAR), I was more understanding and patient than I had ever been – AND I got really good at allowing people to help me, something I’ve always SUCKED at.

    I follow you and many other mountian athletes not because I aspire to be as good as you (I’m a realist), but because I like to see where your adventures take you. I work on achieving mini versions of what you do (like your bike trip for example), and like to see myself someday taking on greater, longer treks. But for now I focus on what I can do, not what I can’t – and I don’t think about what I once was – I’m better than before because I’m stronger mentally, waaaaay smarter, and far more focused than I ever was.

    My ankle is strong enough for the hardware that was put in to come out. I started running and biking (albeit slowly) again in August and hiking in September. I’m going to try to continue my new healing-focused diet with some small modifications, and I’m looking forward to every day with anticipation of new goals. I feel strong and so will you – it just takes time to get your head wrapped around letting healing take its course.

  7. Manu says:

    I got haglund syndrom too…but with nike free 5.0 (back very very soft) i can run with no pain.
    Good luck Anton

  8. Sam Bosworth says:

    Been a fan for years Anton I don’t know if you have read Chi running by Danny Dreyer (Pose Method by Dr. Romanov has some good stuff too) or not-it saved my running life. I couldnt take the mental roller coaster anymore and quit for a year. You probably have looked at the way you run and what’s driving it (internal such as posture, and breath or external such as “training”. I used to have achilless issues and the cause was (in basic terms) pushing off with the calves as opposed to picking the feet up with the hip flexors. I am an artist and (and ultrarunner for 11 years) running mechanics have kinda taken over my subject matter. Some of Dr. Phil Maffetone could help you too. Mechanics, gets off the sugar and fix the perspective so you can listen to your body. Drop me a line if ya wanna chat

  9. Mike V says:

    Tony: I’m sure you get all sorts of unsolicited medical advice so feel free to disregard. Have you considered PRP injections? Hope you recover quickly. Would love to see you out there tearing it up!

    • anton says:

      Yes. I had a PRP injection a little over six weeks ago. It had little discernible effect. After a month of being much worse (typical with the procedure), I seem to now be stuck at the level of function and tolerance of activity that I had prior to the injection.

  10. OJ says:

    I added a 20lb dumbbell to eccentric heel raises. After not running for 3 months, it cleared up in two weeks.

    • anton says:

      Been doing weighted eccentric heel drops for three weeks now. Progressed up to 60lbs added weight. Fingers crossed!

      • Kieran McCarthy says:

        I’m gonna offer some more unsolicited advice. But for what it’s worth, I’ve had the injury in both legs and have since recovered fully to be able to run 70-plus-mile weeks with 10k plus of gain.

        What worked for me was straight leg only eccentric drops on flat surface. This approach was based on the study cited below.

        http://www.runningwritings.com/2011/09/injury-series-flat-eccentric-heel-drops.html

        “In a 2008 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Jonsson et al. investigated this modified version of the eccentric heel drop exercise. The flat eccentric heel drops are done as follows: starting on the uninjured side and standing on level ground, the patient raises the heel of the uninjured leg off the ground. All body weight is then transferred to the injured leg with the ankle in a plantar-flexed (foot pointed down) position and the knee straight. The patient then slowly lowers the heel to the ground, then uses the uninjured leg to return to the starting position. Unlike the exercises for midpoint Achilles tendonitis, there is no bent-leg variant for this exercise. The flat eccentric heel drop protocol consists of three sets of fifteen repetitions done twice a day for twelve weeks. If there is pain on both sides, the subjects in Jonsson’s study used a box to get into the “up” position, avoiding any concentric contraction of the calf. Just like all of the previous eccentric exercises we’ve seen, patients are encouraged to exercise into moderate pain (though instructed to stop if it becomes debilitating). Once the exercise can be performed without pain, weight is added progressively using a backpack (illustrated at right) so the exercise is always done with mild or moderate pain.”

        Don’t add weight until it’s pain free. Really try to get high as possible onto the tiptoes. I found that getting higher on the toe mattered more than the amount of weight.

        Best of luck.

  11. Randall says:

    Anton, like so many others, I have enjoyed your writing for a long time as entertainment and as inspiration for my humble outdoor adventures, but also because of its quality – your ability to turn a phrase and articulate so well the ethos of the mountain athlete.

    Over the past years, you have lived the life that I and many others dream about, but now I find myself feeling sorry for you, just as I feel sorry for myself because of this sore knee I’ve got that has turned me into a temporary trail hiker.

    Everybody’s got advice, nobody has a magic cure. My 2 cents worth: Take some time off, and when you are physically able, slowly start a basic yoga routine. Gradually move back into physical activities outdoors as you sense your body loosening up. You’ve always looked way too tightly-tuned to me. Take the focus off yourself and find a way to contribute to the efforts to save some wild country in Colorado or elsewhere. I visited your state a couple of months ago for the first time in 11 years, and I was not encouraged. Maybe I will do the same.

    I wish you well.

  12. Dave says:

    Tony – I remember running with you on May 10th with my son at a BRC event and you seemed a little off (running wise). I guess this post explains what was going on. Don’t get me wrong – you were very nice to my son (12) and made a big impression on him, but I could tell you really didn’t want to be out there running.

    I too am suffering heel pain, though what started as insertional achilles tendonosis has turned into a months-long (year-long?) bout of retrocalcaneal bursitis. No amount of rest or stretching seems to be having any effect; a solid week of running puts it back in the “bad place”. Because I’m a typical big stupid male I haven’t had a doctor look to see why I have a big red swollen heel. Hmm… probably a Haglund’s deformity…or generic heel spur (guess I can’t go to war).

    Long story short, I don’t want this “not-quite-an-invalid-but-still-can’t-train-properly” thing to drag out any longer and will get this checked out. Any local recommendations for a minimalist-runner-friendly podiatrist? :) I’ve already picked a surgical option (Keck and Keck). Docs always love a runner-patient who’s come in with a google-web diagnosis!

    Best of luck Tony. This is an awful mental trial for you to go through (let alone a career-threatening one). Hopefully we’ll all get ourselves figured out some day.

    Dave

    • anton says:

      Thanks, Dave. Yeah, that jog that evening out of BRC was a total teeth-gritter for me. Achilles was killing me.

  13. Ashton says:

    I have been running for about 11 years now. I have been injured from the start pretty much. In college I joined a team and when I looked around everyone had nice sports clothes with functional uses I had never heard of. I ran in pajamas some days. My first race I was in last place on my team, it was a 5k. Soon after I got a bad achilles injury where I could hardly walk for months. Basically, I joined a team of people who were faster and more experienced then me. I willed myself to keep up and it resulted in injury. Later on I left the team because I moved out of the college town I was living in. I knew I wasn’t anything special with running fast but I felt over time that I did have the gift of mental toughness. I didn’t know anything about ultra running until a few years ago. I wanted so badly to compete in one of these events but doubted myself because of my consistent history with injuries. I tried to train for an ultra a little over a year ago and got injured. I decided to give triathlons a try which I did pretty well in this year. However, although I enjoyed triathlons I didn’t like how high maintenanced they were. I missed the simplicity of just shoes and trail…or even cement. I just love running. I remember watching some YouTube video about you and how you are constantly struggling with injuries. I thought to myself how even a top performing athlete struggles with injuries. In that moment I decided I wasn’t special. I started training a little under 3 months ago for a 50k. It was the only ultra in panama at the time and I figured I could give it a shot. Time was short but I knew it wasn’t that big for an ultra (although I had never ran a marathon race). 2 weeks before the race and my fucking achilles flared up. Same one from the 7 years ago. I ended up racing with the mindset that I very well likely might need to drop out. I finished 3rd. April I want to run the 100k in Costa Rica or possibly one in Colombia. My point of this long personal record I just shared is that although I know pretty much nothing can ease your angst right now, thank you for sharing your experiences because it has helped me to continue to persue my own passion of running. When I am injured I have such an all or nothing attitude. I feel like a failure and like everything I have ever accomplished was not real and any goals I have are gone for good. my thinking is often irrational. I have run with and through addiction and so it is often somethibg that has helped to keep me centered when I gave up other faulty coping mechanisms. I am afraid for the day where I possibly won’t have this release, the experiences running brings. However, I also know that we are adaptable and that once something must be accepted that we can change and find love and passion in something else.

  14. Greg H says:

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and feelings. I’m pulling for you.

  15. Tony says:

    Feel for you man as I have an achilles issue on my right foot that just seems to stay around. I can rest for extended periods and it does no better so just run some and see how it goes. First real achilles issue in 45+ years of running, even though I too have the proverbial bump on my right foot that invariably wears through about all my shoes but till now has not been an issue. As you share the issue is just that I cannot run as I would like is frustrating. I know I have a lot of miles in my legs, 45+ years will do that, but know I have more if I can get by this issue. Often hard for others who do not love to run to understand as it is easy to just say take a rest but harder to do.

    Funny how your story is much like mine as I ran for a really good team many years ago and pretty much had to race workouts to get a shot at going to meets and was in the end injured quite a bit. But that did nto stop my love for the sport but curtailed progressing in it. I even went to racing bikes and did well for 10 years but just so hard to find races and also real expensive in the end so went back to running. So now that I am back to running and done a few ultras I get this stupid injury and was not really running much, but it is what it is and just want it gone so feel your pain – so to speak.

    Hoping you can get the issue cleared up and get back to what you love and will be good to see you back in the Ultra world if that is where you get back to. But more than that just hope you can get back to running as you want so you can enjoy it.

  16. Carlos says:

    Anton, Muchos ánimos desde Barcelona. Estoy seguro de que volverás con mas fuerza aún. Todos estos contratiempos y lesiones te habrán reforzado mentalmente. Mucha fuerza y nos vemos en los senderos, bro!

    p.d: I can´t wait for my next shoes. Sportiva Unika model. Reminds me another Krupi pro model style 😉

  17. Brad says:

    I think you’re being too hard on yourself. And I don’t think your heavy training from a young age is the reason you find yourself injured now. I’ve never put in 200 mile weeks, but I used to beat the shit out of my body. Day after day of running hard, and just horrible eating habits and a constant state of dehydration. I look back and have no regrets about training hard. Those are great memories. However I have a lot of regrets about my lack of attention to nutrition and drinking water. Feel like that shit caught up with me. Achilles tendonitis was one of many injuries I endured. Like every other injury, I researched it to death to find a way to manage it and keep running. It was so inflamed, I’d basically tape my ankle like a basketball player just so I could run. There’s light on the other side. Once that inflammation comes back to earth, you’ll be able to recognize twinges and when you need to stretch and or rest. It will probably flare up from time to time for the rest of your life. Being injured in today’s social media frenzy makes it even harder. You see your peers doing things you know you could be doing just as well. Finding perspective is crucial. The heartache we feel over not being able to run is nothing when you compare it to the pain some people endure every day of their lives. As I’ve gotten older and smarter, I no longer let injuries hold me hostage. I take care of non-running related things that have been on the back burner. Maybe you never race at the high level you once did again. Who cares. I have a feeling you’ll find a way to get back into some regular running again. Stop kicking yourself over your past training.

  18. Emerson says:

    “A man is what he thinks about all day long. The ancestor of every action is a thought…” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  19. Jim Campiformio says:

    Have you looked into PRP or stem cell treatment for the tendonosis? Worked for me. Shoulders and knee. At the age of 67. So you might even have a better outcome.

  20. Art says:

    You are making progress by identifying the addiction and reason why; credit yourself because many do not. You are into a deep injury/over train/injury cycle. If you are not seeing a mental health professional this is where I would start to try and break the addictive cycle. With all due respect, all the recommendations of treating the physical symptoms are just a smidgeon above worthless. What good will it be to “physically “recover” for “one more shot” if you fuck yourself? Other doors beyond constant physical training are open to you; explore these. You are not a one trick pony. Best of luck.

    • Jackie Lai says:

      Art, I agree with your recommended direction of treatment. Anton, your physical ailments will only continue until you are able to quiet that voice in your head telling you untruths. You are an amazing person and I know you can get better!!! Much respect and love to you!

  21. Patrick says:

    Hi Anton – falling into the category of ‘unsolicited layman eccentric heel drop advice:’ I had (and resolved via eccentric heel drop protocol) mid-portional AT on both sides by adding 5-7 lbs a week – up to +65-70lbs ([previously left you a comment to that affect)…just noted you are +60lbs in 3 weeks with your Insertional drops — while ‘overload’ is an important component of the protocol, just wanted to mention you may want to be circumspect about how fast you add more lbs from here…really hoping things improve for you!!

  22. Drew says:

    Hello Anton,

    Have you reached out to other top runners such as Sandy Nypaver who’ve seemingly had successful minimally invasive surgery for this condition? Sandy wrote about about her experience here:
    http://sandinypaver.blogspot.com/2015/05/an-achilles-story-personal-account-of.html

    I’ve done way too much personal research on Achilles tendonosis. Fortunately, mine was non-insertional, never required surgery and is mostly manageable now. It certainly is a tricky one and it has been the most problematic of all the running injuries I’ve experienced so far.

    Spirits up!

  23. Albert says:

    Anton, like everyone else I bring unsolicited advice, but it’s based on my many years around running mountains consistently (24+) and ultras (17+), all in a very mediocre manner but damn it I’m still out there. I’ve seen so many people come and go on the scene, with virtually all of the burnouts doing the overtrain/recover/overtrain cycle for years until their bodies gave out. They were all over-obsessed, never listened nor experimented with what others told them about how to stay healthy, and refused to change their ways. In answer to your final question, in my opinion you may not have fucked yourself and can get back to fully doing what you love, but I think it’s going to require a fundamental internal change, perhaps in training, perhaps in diet, perhaps in footwear, perhaps in all of the above. An example: someone asked you at one time if you considered doing heart rate training. You said no, and that you ran by feel only. Perhaps if you had given it consideration and did other things that go along with heart rate training such as going paleo or low carb high fat or something like that, instead of ignoring it, then who knows what might have happened? If you’re not TRULY willing to entertain new ideas and make fundamental changes, and you’re going to stay over-obsessed, then maybe yes, you’re fucked.

  24. Cyril Laffitte says:

    Hello Anton, as we say in French :” un pas après l’autre”. Send you my best thoughts Much love and respect from France. Always. Cyril

  25. ch says:

    Sclerosing injections. Appear to be very promising for insertional achilless (eccentrics dont seem to work for insertional). From the paper: “…showed that 8 of 10 tendons were pain free after a mean of two treatments”
    Link to the paper:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658946/

  26. Kelly says:

    Dang man, I feel this so deeply (while doing eccentric heel raises at my makeshift standing desk). Best wishes on a strong recovery! Also, this may or may not be the place for it but: that Touching the Trail pod episode you did was a fantastic departure from the typical endurance athlete podcast. I do enjoy discussions of training styles, race strategies, and racing anecdotes, but at some point those stories can all mush together and I realize I have spent countless miles of a long run/ride/car commute tuned out to the sound of people to whom I truly enjoy listening; and then you and the host Jarod put out this anything-goes segment about books, life, and a lot of non-running stuff and it was different enough that my focus did not wane. I would like to hear more climbers, runners, cyclists, authors, musicians to whom I have grown endeared discuss the more esoteric subjects, passions, hobbies, and obsessions that keep them mentally/emotionally fresh. That said, I completely understand why every host wants and needs to ask the primary activity specific questions and I am assessing zero fault to host or guest- as I do not want anyone here to think I am grumbling when praise is the goal.

    Sincerely,
    a Hagland bro

  27. Teresa Smith says:

    Hi Anton, Food for thought: Stephanie Howe Violett had Haglund’s Deformity on both feet which caused her Achilles issues. She had surgery on one foot (the other was asymptomatic)- shaving the bone and reattaching the Achilles. She had healed and came back to compete this year. Have you considered correcting it? You probably don’t need to fly to Sweden to seek the premier doctor, like she did, because it’s a common deformity. We feel your frustration and pain! I just had foot surgery (on 11/7) and can’t walk on it for 4 weeks. Rest & heal, Teresa

    • anton says:

      Both hers and Sandi’s cases (cited above) have definitely piqued my interest. I’ve had Haglund’s Deformities on both heels since high school, so about 18 years. This is the first time since high school that I’ve dealt with insertional achilles issues, though. Hmmm…

  28. Logan Brooks says:

    Call it sheer work ethic and NO TALENT if you want. But as you know Tony, just getting your ass to the start line of the objectives that you have placed before yourself in the past 20 years, especially those in the mountains, is the most crucial bit of talent even the most successful people on earth must posses. And you my friend, have shown up every fucking time. There are outlier’s on earth, but there is a reason you have sponsors, and a reason you and your place in the outdoor world is nearly unparalleled. And fortunately, results cannot take that away.

  29. Elsa says:

    Thank you for sharing. I hope (and think) that you will get better soon.

  30. David Kelly says:

    Hi Anton,
    Dr. Sarno & Alan Gordon.
    After literally years of grappling with Achilles issues (boom/bust) and some low back pain I finally opened my mind to pain science.
    Trust me, moving from a mechano-structural approach to running injuries to a more mind body approach was not easy for me.
    I’ve studied sports science & physical therapy and had to fundamentally change the way I understand pain.
    I won’t try to convince you but rather encourage you to read anything by these two gentlemen.
    Summery
    Stress / perceived threat / context / anxiety / beliefs all have the ability to affect out sensitivity to pain.
    You have sensitive Achilles. How do you get them de-sensitised? Well that’s where it can get tricky but I’m now running x3 times per week without problems.
    Best of luck
    David.

  31. Cecilia Gómez says:

    Hi Anton, the only thing I can say is I am sending you light and a big hug 🤗 from Argentina and it’s a long way!!! Don’t lose your faith. I has some health issues and I thought I was not going to be able to get my health back. Last year I was blessed and I was able to be at western states as a crew member. I saw the Billy yung documenal during that time and not even a a million years I thought I was going to be there. Life is uncertain you already know that don’t lose your faith. Love Cecilia,
    💜💜💜

  32. Damn! That sucks. Only thing that got me back from injuries is going back way, WAY back to the basics. Assume that you never ran in your whole life and start accordingly. Check the program that saved me here: https://lacliniqueducoureur.com/coureurs/apprendre/programmes-de-course/programmes-de-course/retour-de-blessure/programmes-de-course-fractionnes/
    Start with “Program fractionné 1”. It’s in french, but you should get it. It starts with 3x(1’Run/1’Walk) !

    Good luck and keep inspiring!

  33. VeganTrailRunr says:

    Hi Anton,

    I think we have the same issue. I had the same symptoms as you for nearly two and a half years. Nothing seemed to work and after every period of enforced rest I’d slowly build back up again until my Achilles failed again.

    I turned out that I had a bone spur caused by debris from my Haglunds Deformity. Back in August I had an OS Calcis operation which, basically, moved my heel bone 12mm away from the Achilles. It’s a long recovery for a simple op but I can now just about walk normally, if slowly. I’m told I may be able to have a little jog at Xmas. I’m hopeful, excited and nervous.

    I had physios, podiatrists and musculoskeletal experts lead me a merry dance. I had an inconclusive MRI. It took a simple X-ray to show what was wrong. Maybe worth having a word with your chosen medical professional to see if this would help you. Fingers crossed for you.

  34. Shoebacca says:

    Really talented guys on more structured training plans with coaches and managers surrounding them still get bad achilles injuries, particularly after age 30. Dathan Ritzenhein, Alan Webb, Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie, and Sebastian Coe to name a few. I won’t pretend to diagnose your problem, especially since you have Haglund’s and that may complicate it, but I do recommend you look into their cases if you find yourself obsessively bored one night. The achilles thrives on elasticity and that is harder to maintain as you age. Your running does not have to end, but at some point you might really have to weigh surgery and months in a boot if running is important to you.

  35. Ceci says:

    Insertional Achilles tendinopathy is the worst. I have a Haglund’s deformity and had a terrible episode with it around two years ago. Doing the eccentric heel drops actually made me worse. They do seem to work for some though but not as often as with midpoint Achilles. Hopefully that will do the trick for you. What fixed me was five rounds of shockwave therapy(ESWT). It takes weeks to feel better but I was back running after about a month after the first treatment and was completely better after a couple of months. Six months later my tendon was better than it had ever been. There is good clinical evidence supporting the efficacy and way, way less downtime than surgery. My sports podiatrist has treated a number of professional runners for this issue with ESWT and recommends trying it before surgery (which he also does). Something to think about.

  36. I’m totally late to the unsolicited advice party, and I’ve never had Achilles problems myself, but I know how much riding you’re doing to supplement running/everything.

    One thing that many of the peeps in the Tour Divide do, is run their cleats way, way back – farther back than the ball of your foot. This is said to relieve a lot of the tension/stress on the Achilles. Some racers have stories of adjusting their cleats mid-race and getting instant relief. I run mine so the bolts holding the clear on are ~inch back from the widest part of the toe box.

    I’d hate for bike riding of all things to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back on this issue. Maybe it’ll help promote relief w/your Achilles stuff, or at least pass the idea to your physio. I know you run fairly cheap and not very stiff shoes (like I do), perhaps that’s a benefit in this situation, or on the other hand, leads to more stress on this particular problem. If pliability is better, consider even running flats on at least your REEB.

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