Fairly experience Runner/Cyclist....

Hi There,

I've decided to become more serious in my training and have joined a tri club.  All was going well but maybe i was a little too enthusiastic and i now find myself with a achilles tendon injury and a problematic shoulder (through excess swimming of all things). 

I have a place in VLM next year and was training well until i felt pain with my AT.  I was about 5 miles from home and ran/walked home as best i could.  I decided to visit a sports injury specialist who applied friction massage and carried out a lymph drainage procedure.  I  gave the running a rest (while fiollowing the RICE procedure)for 10 days and cycled and swam instead. I tried gentle running on a track this week and duiscovered that my AT is no better.  To add to this i've got a slight shoulder injury that continually "pops" when i turn my wrsit.  I'm about 2 months into my training and find myself injured,a little broke (from equipment/sports injury costs etc.) and hugely frustrated i cannot train.

I've been running and cycling for about 5 years so consider myself fairly experienced but if anyone could offer any tips on where i am going wrong it would be greatly appreciated.



  • I can't see that you are doing anything "wrong" sj, you're just experiencing what many of us go through - it's called injury.

    AT injuries can happen suddenly - no real reason - much like plantar fasciitis which I've been suffering from since January and only now am I starting to run any meaningful distances again.  you need to get some more advice on the nature of the AT injury and rest it more - furstrating, yes, but it's the only real way or you risk long term injury. I got very frustrated with my PF early days but then realised that I could be in for a long haul on recovery so adapted to not running so much.

    as for the shoulder injury - that's probably been an underlying issue that swimming is now bringing to the fore.  the shoulder joint is pretty complex and fragile and if you've had an impact or rotation injury some time in the past on it, then it will never have recovered fully.   you may not have noticed this at all until the swimming started to use the joint more.   I have an impact injury from rugby on one shoulder - I notice it in the gym when pushing weights that the shoulder is now weak but in daily life it's no issue at all.

    just kick back, take advice, and keep fit on the bike/turbo instead of running and try to cut back on the intensity when swimming. 

  • SJ - do you know the root cause of your AT injury? I had a similar thing - after 3 years of high mileage, Achilles just flared up half way through a race. Whilst rest will allow it to recover (4 months for me), its often worthwhile having a biomechanical check or similar to find out what went wrong in the first place. For me it was a week glute, causing the knee to snap in and put a chronic strain on the Achilles. I had to correct that otherwise the AT woud have returned.

    Good luck anyway

  • mine was weak glutes.had to stop running for 3/4 months and work on the glutes.....

    beware when you are swimming that you are not pushing off from the walls with your affected foot.that will really aggravate the AT

  • And what lovely glutes you have now my dear image

  • no.they are still way too weak......image

  • Raf, you sweet-talker you

  • Wow, some of the layoff timescales mentioned here are frightening! I have just started in the last week or two started to feel my right achilles tendon. It doesnt really hurt, I'm just aware it's 'there'.. I can run on it OK without really noticing when I run, but a 9 mile slow run yesterday has left it a little more sore than before, so I'm thinking i should be a little more sensible.

    Is it OK to swim (no pushing off) and bike with it? I was planning on icing it in the evening and morning, and doing some strengthening on stair edges.

    These are the same glutes that got you round a Double IM Seren? Weak, real weak! image

  • swim without pushing off is fine.cycling will depend on how you ride and where............steep hill where you are pushing it might well irritate the area.........flatter is better.......

    Gladys.but i wmight have finished in a better state if I had better glutes

  • Thanks for the advice guys

    I do feel that there may be some underlying issue with my shoulder so i will get it looked at (after next payday lol).  I suspect that i increased the workload on my body a little too much and this has contributed to my AT. 

    Will try the heal lifts and let you know how i get on.

  • you may find the AT injury is cycling related rather than running.

    My adivce save the cash and stay away from anyone tellnig you to RICE a tendon - what a lot of crap.

    Have someone look at your bike and cleat position, get back into walking and hiking before running so its not a case of nothing then something.

    As for the shoulder - no idea but unless its really hurts, keep swimming, get stronger and you'll probably adapt adn the popping will go.

    I know that when I have pain caused by weakness, such as sore knees when cycling, then the easiest and cheapest method of resolving these issues is to train and get stronger, amazingly the weakenss disappears.

    Functional strength by doing the activity, rather than months of gym work and exercises just to lose specific fitness. Maybe I've spent to much time listening to Sutto...

  • AT injury through cycling TC??  explain.  can't say I've heard of one from cycling but I guess it's possible.

  • Have a look at http://www.teamtbb.com/forum/index.php?topic=2822.0

    The only forum I trust for advice - bad position can cause issues and tightness that show themselves whilst running - therefore the fizz says "Ooo you have a run injury, stop running and put ice on it, then do these exercises and stretches" then "£40 please, see you next week, then I play around with the injury, probably making it worse"

    Heat the area, get your bike fit looked at, think what have I done differently that may have caused this, isolate, rectify and move on.

  • I can see that some cycling issues could lead to AT problems and then that's exacebated with the impact of running, but frankly most AT issues are still run related.  the only time I had achilles tendonitis was caused by running - was doing no cycling at the time so it had to be running.  took a while to sort it - no running was the best cure

    I guess though that any injury has some root cause - as you say, isolate, rectify, move on.   

  • I just think when you hear the likes of

    "Been running for 5 years no issues, took up cycling, and now have AT problems" Well what's changed?

    I agree it could be nothing to do with the bike, I'm just saying don't rule it out.

  • Just my twopence worth, but in the acute stage of a tendon injury, ice is certainly (scientifically proved to be) benefitial. At least in horses. And i cant see that people would be that much different.

  • flyaway wrote (see)

     At least in horses. And i cant see that people would be that much different.

    bar missing 2 legs.....image

  • Well if were talking nags here, the most common cause of weakend tendons and therefore injured tendons is over heating. Hence Ice or other ways of cooling them is the best thing to promote healing in the acute stage and avoid over heating them (eg using boots or bandages as a matter of course normally and when an injury has occured if possible , sometimes not possible as support is cruicial or you need to keep the swelling down to avoid damaging other ligaments)

    This could mean that we should ditch our thermal running tights and man up and wear short shorts instead.

    I'm NOT liking that idea myself. Glad I'm not a nag.

  • I've not heard of overheating from boots or bandages, as a cause of tendon damage in horses?

  • Ooh I never run in thermal tights and I've never had a tendon injury ! Case proven !

  • Can I have your tendons to experiment on in the lab? Or just one tendon? Or just a little bit of tendon?

  • I theeenk i might need them.  But ask me after the next IM race. I'll probably agree then.

  • flyaway I'm not very good at findinding articles,  I've read them by following links.

    But the reports are behind the sudden mass marketing of air-flow boots for horses.

    I think this might be one article but not sure if you have to pay to read it.


  • Ali - do these horses ride bikes? If not, it proves it must be running and not cycling that causes AT image

  • Ali - hyperthermia as a cause of tenocyte death, sure (although "Tendon fibroblasts appear to have an inherent thermal tolerance compared with dermal fibroblasts" - A. Goodship, J Exp Biol 200, 1703-1708), but I think the boots/bandages link is just the companies that make boots/bandages trying to increase sales...

  • I can't find it but there was some more research done on 2011/2012 which monitored tendon heat under the support type wraps and showed it reached dangerous levels.

    Well thats what lots of vets said anyway, I can't find the artice though.

    Raf you're right they don't ride bikes nor do they swim (although I did have one horse who loved to go swimming) so it must be the running in thermals that does it!

  • I've now been been advised that its the soleus muscle that is damaged and that I need to work on my flexibility as this is what is causing the injury.  I've was given some stretches to do but i was under the impression you don't stretch a damaged muscle?

    A bit of conflicting advice there so i think i'll see sports masage therapist that solely deals with triathletes.

  • A damaged muscle is likely to heal in the position its in - so there's a possibility it will heal slightly shorter than is was, so there's a greater risk of it damaging again. I think its a tricky balance of stretching it to keep it long and resting it to let it heal!! At least that's my understanding, but I'm no expert!

  • I guess it depends on how much damage there is to the soleus.  If it's badly damaged, then rest is the best solution to let the muscle fibres heal, followed by a stretching regime.  If it's only lightly damaged you may find stretching will help - or even a light sports massage.  I've had sports massage on strained muscles - calf and ham - and found it beneficial as the deep massage helps remove any bruising that can be causing discomfort, and lengthens the muscle fibres.  But you need to do this with caution and have a masseur who knows how far to push it or it could cause more damage

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