Will my Achilles Tendon be my Achilles Heel?

It finally happened.  It turns out I’m not invincible. My first injury has really occurred.  Not ankle tightness.  Not a head cold or the flu, but a heartbreaking, hobbling tragedy.

It all started before the hobbling with a startling self-diagnosis.  I have a painful purple spot on the bottom of my left foot.  An in-depth investigation yielded that I either had lupus or Guillan-Barre Syndrom.  I’ve watched enough episodes of House to know that it wasn’t lupus.  My sister pointed out that it’s most likely a bruise.  She’s probably right.


Like the mighty Achilles of legend, I have been struck down by that little ligament on the back of my right foot.  Here’s a bit of Greek myth for you — it was prophesized that the great warrior Achilles would be struck down by an arrow to his foot.  Thetis, being proper maternal, promptly took her infant and dunked him in the River Styx to protect him from harm, pinching him on this ligament between two fingers.  It pretty much worked.  Achilles was nearly undefeatable.  At the siege of Troy after bringing the city to its breaking point by killing his adversary Hektor, Achilles was ultimately killed by an arrow that struck him above his heel.

While running on Saturday, around six miles in, I noticed my Achilles tendon starting to throb.  Each time I planted my foot it stung a little bit more and my stride just didn’t feel right.  The Achilles tendon runs from the bottom of your calf to the top of your heel and functions like a rubber band that condenses and springs with every foot fall.  I had experienced similar discomfort a few times previously which I had attributed to a combination of the shoes I had been wearing and the movement of my ankle.  Since I had switched to primarily running in Vibrams, this issue hadn’t reared up again.  Until Saturday.  The only explanation I have is that I was lazy or not cautious enough on my run, and that my footfalls were more flat than ordinary.  Saturday afternoon I had difficulty walking.  Most of Sunday I spent looking like a convulsing robot.  Even this morning was a struggle.  The good news is that as of the time of this writing, I am able to walk (almost) normally.  I attribute this to the fact that my job requires me to be mostly sedentary all day.  Hopefully tomorrow the results will be even better.  At the advice of my guru Katie, I will not be running for the rest of this week to give my tendon time to fully rest, recover, and heal.  I do have a race Thanksgiving morning that I am not only hoping but am looking forward to running.

I would like to thank Scott and Lacy Stoneburner one last time for their generous donation Saturday.  While I was cheering on runners at the Chilly Half Marathon, I received an email alerting me of their contribution.  Thank you guys so much!  And if any of the rest of you out there would like to help me and the American Liver Foundation just follow this link!  Any amount you can give, whether it is five, ten, or more dollars is greatly appreciated.

Song Stuck in my Head — Little Bird by Lisa Hannigan

On a side note – where I come from in New Jersey, I live across the River Styx Bridge.  Coincidence?


About Graham Runs Boston

Bostonian running around Boston. Team RaceMenu distance runner. Oyster appreciator, beer lover, outside all the time when I can, loosely pursuing a BQ
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