The Wonky Achilles

6.08.10 Am I, or Am I not Injured?


Since the Achilles/calf injury that ended my racing season last month, I have been taking it pretty easy with runs.

I have shed the Garmin so I would not focus on speed, capped my runs about four miles and only run about four times a week. Still, I have been in pain.

As promised, this weekend I took three days off from running and my Achilles does feel better, but I am about to do a run today for the first time and am feeling nervous it will start to hurt again.

Running injuries are strange. Some come on quickly and go away just as fast, but some – like Achilles tendonitis – can come on slowly and just keep coming back until a person takes a month or two off. Since I am supposed to start running long again on July 1, I really do not want to have to take a month off, so I need to take care of this now.

The obvious answer is that I should see a doctor, but that would be too simple. And besides, anyone who runs a lot knows better than to go to the doctor who always tells you to take time off. This is not what I need to hear.

I am making an appointment this week with my massage therapist, using a lot of Blue Emu (a special cream for injuries), downing Ibuprofen and just really keeping my fingers crossed that this is something that will go away with time. The last time I had Achilles tendoninitis, I had to take six weeks off, so I am hoping this does not turn out to be that.

One of the main problems with my Achilles is my shoe collection. When a woman wears heels, it shortens her Achilles, then when she switches to flats, it lengthens again. Sometimes this can cause a problem to flare.

Long before I was a runner, I was a shoe lover, so the idea that I may have to scale back (read: throw out) some of my nearly 100 pairs of 4+ inch heels is not easy to swallow. I stopped wearing them for pregnancy and rarely wear them when I have my kids, but I do like to slide into a pair on date night or when I go out with the friends.

Lately, I feel like I need to choose between my love of heels and my love of running and, unfortunately, my shoes may lose.

But my secret dream is to design a line of fierce stilettos made with the runner in mind. But until then (sob), my shoes will likely be in storage.

Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.