24th February 2016
I had my follow up with the Orthopedic consultant today to review my MRI scan and discuss next steps. The great news is that there seems to be no major problem. There remains some inflammation around the heel and tendon but the cause is likely to be pre-existing scar tissue rather than any structural issue such as Haglund's. Next step is to continue with more physio treatment, but with the focus on ultra-sound and mega-pulse to break down some of the scar tissue and reduce the inflammation. The nature of the injury is not one that will respond to shock-wave therapy. Good news. Hopefully, I can get back to doing some gentle running over the next few weeks.
10th February 2016
Today, I had my initial appointment with an Orthopedic consultant to assess my achilles injury. The discomfort has settled down further since I was referred to see the consultant, but it still feels some way off from a return to running / sport / hockey. There is definitely a raised, lumpy area on my heel bone which looks and feels slightly irritated. The consultant has referred me for an MRI scan of the ankle. He discussed a number of things it could be, such as a Haglund's deformity - apparently some sort of bony growth which can impinge on the achilles tendon and in some cases even grow into it. The consultant mentioned I have high arches which affects the angle of the foot and achilles and can lead to this kind of problem. Depending on the severity, it can require surgery to shave off some of the bone growth. Finger's crossed that this isn't the case - that sounds like it could be several months of recovery and lack of mobility. Good news is that the investigation is progressing quickly - I've managed to get booked in for an MRI scan in 3 days time.
18th January 2016
Another 3 or so weeks have passed and although my achilles has settled down a bit, it is remains troublesome and does not seem to be responding to further physio treatment (shock-wave therapy, ultra-sound and mega-pulse). There is a tender area just at the top of my heel bone on the inner area which is where the discomfort emanates from. The physio has decided it is worthy of further investigation via an MRI scan so we can see exactly what is going on. I've eased off on the stretching and strengthening exercises for now as they were causing further irritation. Hopefully, I can get to see a consultant and get the MRI scan done relatively soon.
24th December 2015
It's Christmas Eve and for the past 3 weeks, I've not been able to do any running since I injured my achilles tendon playing hockey. Not quite sure how - I think it started when I landed awkwardly, although didn't seem too bad at the time so I carried on playing. Anyway, within 30 minutes of stopping it was clear that it was going to mean at least a few weeks out of action and also a some trips to the physio. It was very painful for a first 4 or 5 days in and around the heel bone, making basic walking a problem and climbing / descending stairs a challenge. The physio checked it over and is treating it as tendinopathy. No symptoms of a rupture fortunately. I've had some minor problems with my achilles in the past (some mild tendonitis), but nothing I haven't been able to self-manage.
The physio has begun treating it with shock-wave therapy - something to do with sound waves being aimed at the tendon and stimulating the healing process by seemingly aggravating it ("the science bit"). Not something I've had done before - it's a slightly weird sensation like a tiny person taking a tiny hammer to your heel, lots of times and very quickly.
I'm now 3 sessions into the treatment, combined with some daily stretching routines and a not-too-demanding strengthening drill (raising up on both feet, then down on the injured foot). The injury is making progress although it still feels another few weeks before I can return to any sort of impact activity. I have some further (moderately more demanding) stretching and strengthening drills to do over the Christmas period. At least I'll have some time to do them during the holiday break.
In the meantime, the physio has suggested I invest in a pair of Gel Heel Cups to lift my heel up and reduce some of the strain on my achilles tendon. I've bought a pair of Bluepoint Gel Heel Cups - Size 9+ by Patterson Medical, which were recommended by the physio. These are also available in 2 other sizes :-
Although it's possible to find cheaper gel heel cups, you may end up with a thinner, inferior product. Gel Heel Pads may be a suitable alternative, but the heel cups are less likely to move around in your shoe (as the name suggests, they cup around your heel !)