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Author Topic: Achilles tendonitis solutions?  (Read 273 times)

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Offline icepixie

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Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« on: April 04, 2017, 08:20:00 PM »
My achilles tendons have started to bother me lately, I assume because my boots have recently started showing signs of breakdown and I'm tying tighter to compensate.  I know the best solution is new skates, which is happening...but not until SP Teri is here in May to fit me (plus whatever time it takes for customs; I have such a high arch and instep that one of my coaches who also works for a bootmaker said I'll never find a stock boot that actually fits me).  Until then, does anyone have suggestions for how to ease the pressure on the tendons?

I've tried gel sleeves before, and I find that they push my feet too far forward in the skate so that my toes don't have enough room.  They also seem to make it hard to get the laces around the hooks securely.  Bunga pads on either side of the tendon, maybe?  I have a couple layers of moleskin on either side of the line along the back of the boot where the tendon fits to kind of even out the pressure along the entire heel and back of the ankle (not to mention keep it from slipping) so maybe I just need to do more of that.  Other ideas?

Offline LunarSkater

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 06:45:48 PM »
I use the Boot Bumper Bunga pad for lace bite and heel protection. I know they make a style with just the heel protection. You mentioned gel sleeves - maybe having it all the way around was too much thickness, but possibly a pad only in the back would be okay?

Offline icepixie

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 08:06:52 PM »
Do you know if the Bunga sleeves are thinner than the Silipos gel sleeves?  I might give that a try if so.  I'm thinking those Bunga discs on either side of my heel, below the ankle bone, but I worry they'll be too thick and just irritate things more.

Offline tstop4me

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 06:37:43 AM »
If you want something in between moleskin and gel sleeves, you might want to consider molefoam:

https://www.drscholls.com/productsandbrands/molefoampadding/

Like moleskin, you can cut these to size and stick them only where needed, instead of all around such as with gel sleeves.

Also, I use Silipos gel sleeves, and have found that the thickness varies along any one particular sleeve, as well as from one sleeve to another sleeve.  I buy the 10" long ones and cut them into two 5" long ones.  So far, I've bought five units, so I can wash a batch at a time.  For a single 10" sleeve, the thick end can be twice as thick as the thin end.  Comparing the thickest portions of the five units, the thickest unit is twice as thick as the thinnest unit.  If you buy at a store instead of online, perhaps you can pickout the thinnest ones before you buy (buy two of the thinnest units and use the thin half of each).  I buy online, but the thickness doesn't bother me much.

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2017, 07:47:11 AM »
I've never had an Achilles problem, but I have temporarily stiffened boots by wrapping wrapping duct tape fairly tight around the top, down to the vertical level at which the boot is bending. A bit of a nuisance - I sometimes had to cut the tape off with a good sharp scissors or knife to remove the boot (make sure you bring those with you). I don't know if that is any better for your health than tying tight, but you could try.

You could also try NOT wrapping tape around the very top, so the top edge isn't so stiff.

Even if you tie tight, you could seperate the tension of the top hook(s) from the bottom, by adding a knot in between - e.g., a double overhand lock lace - see
  https://www.backcountryedge.com/videos/lacing-techniques-for-better-boot-fit
Then keep the top fairly loose. You could even just not use the top hooks, but that might be too much. Incidentally, that page has a suggestion for a lacing system for people with high arch problems - I don't know how well it works. (I would think it would just be better to add tape or adhesive foam under the insole at the arch, to make the boot fit your foot - a relatively simple mod that doesn't require custom boots, provided the boot uppers don't misfit you too.)

Anyway, be careful! Apparently, burst Achilles tendons are somewhat common among skaters, due to excess pressure from the top of the boot (e.g., tight laces). (Tendons and ligaments take tension well, but are easily damaged by compression.)  A very serious injury, from which you might never fully recover, even with surgery.

Perhaps jumping makes the injury more likely? If so, you could not jump. Maybe a doctor would know.


Offline icepixie

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 01:10:48 PM »
tstop4me, thank you for the link to molefoam!  That sounds like it might be exactly what I need.

Query, thanks for the suggestions, but I agree, duct tape is probably not the solution.  I already don't tie my top hooks (never have), have added arch supports, and skip holes when lacing  to accommodate my instep.  I suspect this is why the boots broke down relatively quickly.

If all else fails, I suppose I may just need to take a break from skating until I get new skates.  I'd prefer not to irrevocably injure one or both of my tendons.  I already had physical therapy for Achilles tendonitis when I started skating, which only did me about 50% good even though I still do the exercises.  However, one of the bonus conditions that comes along with my type of inflammatory arthritis is inflammation of the Achilles tendons, so it may be I was just having a flare then and am having another one now, and skating/boots have little to nothing to do with it.  Always a mystery!

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 09:29:36 PM »
Query, thanks for the suggestions, but I agree, duct tape is probably not the solution.

Actually, I think it is a good temporary solution if you want to stiffen your boots until the others arrive, to counter the breakdown. But it is a nuisance, that requires extra time when you put on and take off your boots.

Custom boots may or may not solve your problems. If the custom measurements and boots take into account your high arches and perhaps a consequently higher volume upper, then the customs may fit you better. But if not, if they only fit the foot tracing better, which is what a somewhat inexpert fitting would do, those misfits will remain, and your boots could also still break down faster, and, perhaps, you might still be placing extra stress on your Achilles. I hope you found a good fitter who did everything right. An inexpert custom fitting, like I once had, may not solve anything.


Offline icepixie

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2017, 09:14:11 PM »
Update: Molefoam was too thick, so I ended up adding another layer of moleskin to the two already there in the area on either side of the heel just under the ankle punchout.  Seemed to work okay today; I think my heels had been slipping a bit and that was contributing to the problem.

George Spiteri is going to be here to do fittings at the PSA conference in May, so I'm getting fitted by him.  Apparently he's bringing those socks that make a plaster mold of your feet, so it should take into account the volume I need.  (I certainly hope so!)

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Re: Achilles tendonitis solutions?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2017, 11:52:26 AM »
By most accounts, George would certainly qualify as an expert fitter for his company's boots. He will probably make everything wonderful.

I like the theory on spteri's website that the foot should be able to lie flat, and allow you to balance in the middle of the blade. I bet that would work better for my feet.

Does that change the theory that the sweet spot should be under the ball of the foot for maximal control?

I still don't understand why both low and high arches can create Achilles problems...