Michaela Merz

Inflammation of the Achilles tendon (Achilles tendinitis)

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Living healthy is impossible. It took a long time until I understood. But sometime it became clear to me that life is not doable without damaging one’s own body. Once can resign from sugar, white flour, alcohol, coffee, maybe even meat. But soon one notices that the 5 portions of fruits per day, as recommended by the cancer foundation, make the dental enamel melt because of the aggressive acid and remedies are difficult.

Somehow similar it is with exercise. Doing exercise is necessary, without it the body becomes stunted but if I look at all the sports injuries and its long-term consequences, exercise definitely does not just have positive effects.

On a Saturday morning in October I was jogging through the still sleeping city of Madrid and enjoyed the fact of having the empty city almost for myself at this hour of the day. I did not care about the fact that I lost my way a bit in the little alleys, since I had time until the late afternoon and was in no rush to get something done. One planned hour turned into two hours and also the light drizzle could not spoil the joy of movement in unique surroundings.

I came back, took a shower and suddenly, out of nowhere, my left heel started to hurt so badly that I could not even put my left foot on the ground. Apart from jumping on one leg, no other way of moving was possible. I could not make any sense out of it and the rest of the day I moved on foot tips.

That way I got to know the effect that ails many runners but also for example drummers. Achilles tendinitis. Let’s be honest, until that day I was not even aware what tendons I have, let alone the Achilles tendon. Of course I remembered the story from Greek mythology from school where the godly mother Thetis wanted to make her little son Achilles invulnerable (consequence of a mortal father). She dipped Achilles into the river Styx, which forms the boundary between the underworld and the earth. When dipping Achilles she had to hold him somewhere. That was then his heel. The Achilles heel thus remained vulnerable. Already back then the story seemed dubious to me. What mother holds her child at the heel when bathing!?! Achilles must have screamed and for sure swallowed a lot of water.

In specialist literature I learned that the calf muscle is made of three parts, the soleus muscle and the bipennate gastrocnemius. These three muscle parts end in the lower part in the Achilles tendon, which inserts onto the heel bone. The Achilles tendon thus transfers the contraction from the calf muscles to the heel bones and on to the foot. The Achilles tendon is one of the most used bone structures of the human body. The reasons are unclear but there is a lot of speculation. It did put my mind any more at ease that men are much more often affected than women.

And remedy? This means stretching of the calf muscles!! Terribly boring but apparently the only way. There is not thinking of going jogging, I can hardly walk!! Thus I am forced to switch to other sports. This is easier said than done. It is December in Europe and the temperatures outside are around 0 degrees Celsius and it gets dark after 5pm.

I go swimming, biking, swimming and again swimming but I miss going jogging outside!! And then I return to my gymnastics and practice movements which I have not done for a long time. I roll out the old gymnastics mats which I found in the cellar, early in the morning in the kitchen when it is still dark outside and the lights of the city can be seen, provided that the fog is not too dense. The only positive about the Achilles tendinitis is that after six weeks of early morning gymnastics I am again as agile as a rubber doll. But my most burning desire is still to be able to go jogging outside. This wish remains unfulfilled for the time being.

BildQuelle: Paulwip  / pixelio.de

One thought on “Inflammation of the Achilles tendon (Achilles tendinitis)

  1. Pingback: Achilles tendinitis II – or longing for jogging | Michaela Merz

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