Carrying On

Another update on the Achilles injury.  Last post I mentioned that I would be seeing a new doctor that my chiropractor recommended, Dr. Terry Nicola at UIC.  I first saw him in late June.  He thought that the Achilles tissue was essentially better (this being consistent with the most recent look that Dr. Settergren took via ultrasound).  Nicola thought that the peritenon—the sheath surrounding the tendon, which usually helps it move more smoothly—may be stuck in an inflammatory process, and thus hindering things and causing pain.  He put me on a topical NSAID patch to calm things down with the peritenon, and I did about a week with no running, but a lot of uphill walking on the treadmill.  I would do around 45:00 at 15% grade and 4(+) mph.

I saw Dr. Nicola again last Tuesday (a week ago), and he thinks that the NSAID patches seem to have helped with the peritenon.  However, I'm still using them for the time being (you wear them 24/7, putting a new one on every 12 hours).  He's started me on a program of walk/run alternations, with the goal of progressing to 10 miles by next week.  With an odd day or two off in the last week, I've built from 5 to 8 miles, and I'm now running 3 minute segments to 2 minutes walking (I started at 2/2).  I've also continued to ice, stretch, do eccentric calves, etc.  I'm still biking a fair bit and doing some uphill walking, as well as general strength work, so I'm staying fairly fit.  

The heel seems to be responding fairly well to this.  It's a bit tight at the beginning of runs—just the first running segment or two—but then it feels about 99% good after that.  It also hasn't been very tender post-run, which is a good sign.  It feels great to be back out running, even if it's interrupted with walking.  I run at a decent pace, maybe 5:45-6:00 pace.  Assuming things feel OK, my plan for the next 7 days is:
7/11 - 9 miles (3 minute run, 2 minute walk)
7/12 - 10 miles (3 min run, 2 min walk)
7/13 - 8 miles (4 min run, 2 min walk)
7/14 - 10 miles (4 min run, 2 min walk)
7/15 - 8 miles (5 min run, 2 min walk)
7/16 - 10 miles (5 min run, 2 min walk)
7/17 - 10 miles (5 min run, 1 min walk)

I see Dr. Nicola on the 17th, so we'll see what he has to say at that point.  He was fairly encouraged after our last visit and thinks I'll be in the clear soon.  After such a long time dealing with this crap, I'm a bit less optimistic.  Hopeful, but more of the attitude: I'll believe it when I'm cranking out 100+ miles a week again.