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Achilles tendon pain

Hi everyone A few days ago I awoke to a sharp pain in the back of my ankle (achillies tendon- sp?) It eased off as the day went on. Yesterday and today it’s back with a vengence, and the pain is spreading up my calf and thigh. I am walking with a limp, and getting up and down the stairs is taking about 10 mins, and I’m turning the air blue trying!! I have not done anything out of the ordinary and it’s definitely not a sports injury! The heel itself is very tender to the touch and movement but there is no swelling or bruising. Have put a heat pack on it, but doesn’t seem to have helped very much, nor ibuprofen. I already take 1800mg gabapentin for nerve pain. So is it likely to be a ms neuropathic pain or a physical thing? Can anyone else relate? Could really do without the walk to the gp’s surgery, So all advice welcomed :slight_smile: Thanks

Hi Laura,

Probably due to shortened calf-muscles, from spasticity, at a guess. Are you doing calf-stretches?

I had recurrent achilles tendon “injuries” for years before MS was even suspected. Like you, I was baffled, as not a sporty person - definitely not a sports injury. Told doctor I couldn’t understand how or when I could have done it. He just shrugged, and said it was “one of those things”, and I might have done it stepping off a kerb!

I remember going for sports physio about it (much as I knew it wasn’t caused by sport - if the end result is the same, does it really matter?) The physio said I had the shortest calf muscles he’d ever seen, and hinted at the time that this could be caused by illness. But I’m afraid he was far too cryptic for me - I’m sure he suspected, but didn’t spell out for me what it might be, or recommend I saw a doctor, so I came away really puzzled, thinking: “What a bizarre thing to say!”

Of course, with hindsight, I’m sure he was one of the first people to recognize anything was wrong, and that I hadn’t just had a series of “unlucky” injuries. But that was years and years before anyone else picked up on it. I put it out of my mind, to be honest, and it only made sense after I was diagnosed, and realised that physio must have suspected.

Anyway, try some calf-stretches. There are different types - they’re all quite simple; however very hard to describe in writing. I suggest you either ask a GP or physio to show you, or Google some YouTube vids, so you can see. It’s much easier than me trying to explain. I do (when I remember!) the one on the bottom step of the stairs, where you drop your heels, and the one where you use a wall for support, and put one foot forward and the other back, so you stretch the back leg. Also the one with a dressing-gown cord, or similar tough cord. You wrap it round the foot and pull it back towards you - all of which will make absolutely no sense, until you see someone do them, which is why I suggest you Google some vids.

Oh, and also Baclofen has helped me. Stretches alone never really did the trick - I’ve needed medication as well. The short calves/sore achilles aren’t fixed, but they’re being managed - sort of. Also check your footwear gives you enough support. You may need arch supports, if your foot tends to roll (pronate) when walking, as this puts extra strain on the achilles.

Hope something in this lot helps!

Tina

x

Hi Leora

This does sound similar to my relapses last year, sorry :-(. My right leg ended up seizing up completely in the calf but the problem initially began at the ankle. I had the odd day where the achilles tendon felt tight and then I had a tight band around the whole ankle which spread to my calf. Eventually my calf seized up completely leaving me stuck in a very large supermarket and feeling like a right idiot (apart from being very painful)!

Tina is right, stretching does help but, in my case, a dose of steroids was needed to get me walking again in the first place.

I then began doing some basic stretches to lengthen the muscles. I used to lay on my back on a yoga mat or the bed (it’s easier to get up off the bed!). Start with both legs flat on the bed, then raise one straight above your body so your leg is at right angles with your body. You can support the back of the thigh with your hands if that helps. Now bring your toes towards your body so the bottom of your foot is facing up to the ceiling. (In my case this hurt a lot at first as I could feel the muscles stretching all the way from the sole of my foot, down the ankle and in the back of my calf and thigh. However I persevered as I knew these were the muscles causing the problem.) Release the foot, lower the leg slowly to lie flat on the bed and repeat with the other leg. Repeat each day, doing more repetitions as much as is comfortable. This is one of the basic warm up stretches we do at yoga class, you can probably see this on YouTube as well.

You could ask for a referral to physio but don’t hold your breath. My local nurse referred me to the neuro physio in June and I have an appointment next week! I had cancelled the referral in late September as I was walking reasonably well by then and thought there must be other patients in more need than me but now I have an appointment I may as well keep it as I do still get some pain after a while so may have picked up some bad walking habits. At least I know my name is on the list …

Good luck, I hope it eases off soon. Perhaps you should ring your nurse for some advice if you can’t free it off with some stretching?

Tracey xx

Thanks Tina & Tracey! I have had physio in the past and have some work sheets somewhere, will dig them out- will also try the ones you both suggested. I do hope it’s not the start of a relapse :frowning: Had a flare up of symptoms before Christmas too, nothing affecting my walking though. If it doesn’t get better soon I will give my nurse a call, still have the number for the physio so might call her too. It’s absolute agony! Thanks for your help and hope your physio goes well Tracy. Lxx

You need to get the exact problem diagnosed and a trip to a decent physio will be well rewarded. In the short term wearing a heel pad is a good idea, as this will help shorten the calf muscle and reduce the strain on the tendon.

The consequences of making the problem worse don’t bear thinking about and the last thing you need is a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Good idea Derek thanks. Definitely don’t want it to get worse, heard a friends ‘snap’ once, just the thought of it is horrendous!

My relapse wasn’t until March but the symptoms began in February as I remember discussing them at my nurse’s check up then. A month later I had to ring her and ask for steroids as I had seized up. That was a slow-burning relapse or maybe because I have learnt to rest up when symptoms flare I held it at bay for a bit longer, who knows?

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you but I do think you should tell your nurse just to see what she suggests. I know you don’t fancy a walk to the GPs but self diagnosis, as Derek points out, can do more harm than good.

Tracey x

Going to the gp in the morning and will let my nurse know what’s happening :slight_smile:

I have experienced the same pain for the past 5 to 6 months. I have tried therapy, pills, patches, creams and weight lifting. Nothing seems to work. I walk with a limp and my heels swell and pain has begun to radiate to my calf and hip. Sometimes, it is so painful I stop moving altogether because it feels like an electric shock. I have tried Ibuprofin, hydocodone, tylenol, capsacin and nothing helps. Is this related to MS. Please help!

Hello, All,

Recently experiencing severe Achilles tendon pain, I Googled the subject and stumbled upon your discussions. Seeing they’re from 2014: Is this thread still alive?

Wheelchair bound with SPMS since 2013, aside from spastic contractions, my legs do not move or support weight, ruling out problems stemming from overuse. A past discussion on differentiating a sensory disturbance from a physical problem, resulted in a shoulder shrug from a Neurologist. Recommendations from my PT to Ice and stretch produce no relief

So, my issue is perplexing; any feedback would be welcomed.

Bill