I just found this site The Running World According to Dean and it’s got some very interesting information, particularly some good information on Achilles tendonitis and/or tendonosis. I’m going through this issue right now and it’s tremendously frustrating and mysterious.
It’s not a cut-and-dried sort of thing. It seems everyone’s Achilles issue is particular to them. It may arise from simple overuse like running too much, too fast, up too many hills and/or running too fast up too many hills. It could also arise from various biomechanical issues that aren’t always easy to identify. The wrong shoes seem to also play a role. Even certain types of medication can contribute to the matter.
Beyond the many causes, there are almost as many treatment recommendations: ice, heat, stretch, don’t stretch, run a little, don’t run at all, orthotics, shoes… Anyhow, if you’re going through any of this then this site might be of help to you.
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Tendonitis and tendonosis are not the same thing, so if you’re frustrated and confused, probably the first place to start is distinguishing between the two. Tendonitis is inflammation; tendonosis is actual degeneration of the tendon. The conditions are different, so treatments are different. Unfortunately, even doctors tend to conflate the two terms, so getting accurate information is difficult. As a rule of thumb, if you’ve had tendon pain for more than about two weeks, and have been doing the usual rest/ice/stretching treatment during that time with no improvement, you have tendonosis, not tendonitis. There is a good video up on Youtube that explains all this in more detail. The link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq1aKmPR0Ns if you’re interested.