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Achilles Strain, whats the cause?

JimboPlobJimboPlob Posts: 397
edited October 2011 in Training, fitness and health
Hi

- After a heavy 2 weeks of cycling, I went out on my TT bike. I raised the saddle before the ride, and then I had Achilles pain. I had been riding fine on my road bike during the 2 weeks prior to this, so I am certain it was the high saddle on the TT bike that caused it. (I remember when i got to the hills I was sitting back in the saddle, dropping my heel and mashing)

- Have rested for about 3 weeks, and can now jog/run pain free

- When I am on my road bike now, I feel the Achilles aching after about 15 miles.

- I think that when I have my shoes tighter, it makes the problem worse

Does anyone have any ideas what the cause of this sounds like? My cleats are positioned so the ball of my foot is about 12mm in-front of the pedal spindal. Little bemused because road bike set-up was fine before the injury, but causing an ache now.

Posts

  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    JimboPlob wrote:
    Hi

    - Have rested for about 3 weeks, and can now jog/run pain free

    - When I am on my road bike now, I feel the Achilles aching after about 15 miles.

    - I think that when I have my shoes tighter, it makes the problem worse

    Does anyone have any ideas what the cause of this sounds like? My cleats are positioned so the ball of my foot is about 12mm in-front of the pedal spindal. Little bemused because road bike set-up was fine before the injury, but causing an ache now.

    Wrongly fitting /too tight shoes that physically rub the achilles area? jogging/running should be far more painful than cycling as the degree of movement is lower when cycling. COuld be your calves are too tight perhaps meaning achilles has to over work. Just some ideas.
  • JimboPlobJimboPlob Posts: 397
    Have had the shoes for a few years and no trouble in the past.

    If it doesnt happen when I jog but does when I bike, does that sound more like an over-reaching to the pedal issue?
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    JimboPlob wrote:
    Have had the shoes for a few years and no trouble in the past.

    If it doesnt happen when I jog but does when I bike, does that sound more like an over-reaching to the pedal issue?

    Yes - but you said you could still drop your heel - so I'm not sure (nor am I a medical person!)
  • JimboPlobJimboPlob Posts: 397
    I usually pedal with a slight toe down style. When I say dropping my heel, I mean in relation to this. In reality it prob. was about level. I remember unclipping my foot and trying to put my heel on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke. I couldnt reach it.

    Another thing I noticed on the turbo, was that I felt it a bit more when I was doing 1 legged drills on the upstroke.
  • gilesjukgilesjuk Posts: 340
    In my case it was saddle too high that did it. If the cleat is too far forward then you can also injure the achilles.
  • JimboPlobJimboPlob Posts: 397
    gilesjuk wrote:
    In my case it was saddle too high that did it. If the cleat is too far forward then you can also injure the achilles.

    Was it just one achilles or both? How much did you lower the saddle?
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Being able to put your heel on the pedal would be a good starting point, that way you can be sure you're not over-reaching when clipped in. Moving the cleats back a bit can also significantly reduce strain on the achilles.
  • JimboPlobJimboPlob Posts: 397
    Cleats are about 12-14mm behind ball of foot, so given my 47 size feet, think this is about right.

    I lowered saddle 3mm and my overall pedal stroke felt more fluid, but I did get some ache (although this could be lingering from the previous day with a higher saddle). Resting at the moment so will try again at weekend and see how I go.
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    My understanding is that if you are already overstretched moving cleat back will mean you have to 'reach ' more as it effectively shortens the leg - the same effect in broad terms as raising saddle. My guess is you sit too high at the moment. Lowering saddle some & Moving cleats forward will mean leg does not have to overtretch surely. Or am I off my trolley? (or bike?)
  • I did both my achilles the exact same way. Rode Brussels to Paris in two days with my seat too high and spent a month limping around on bad achilles.

    I believe its caused from excessive 'ankling', as soon as i reduced the height on my seat the problem went away (along with about 2 months of rest) and have just completed a 1300km ride through the Balkans over 2 weeks with no injury.

    Of course stretching helps alot when your fit and healthy, don't neglect your achilles its the largest tendon in the body and if it snaps it can be years for recovery.
  • marcd100 wrote:
    I believe its caused from excessive 'ankling', as soon as i reduced the height on my seat the problem went away (along with about 2 months of rest) and have just completed a 1300km ride through the Balkans over 2 weeks with no injury.

    How much did you drop your seat. For a relative indication, could you put your heel on the pedal before you dropped it, and can you do it now (with cycling shoes). If yes, is there a ben on your knee, or is it dead straight?

    Thanks
  • Noticed that pain is only noticable in the achilles when in the drops after a few minutes, or riding hard downhill in the drops.

    I tend to scoot forward on the saddle when in the drops (and presumably when going downhill), but does anyone have any ideas why this would cause pain?

    Thanks
  • JimboPlob wrote:
    Noticed that pain is only noticable in the achilles when in the drops after a few minutes, or riding hard downhill in the drops.

    I tend to scoot forward on the saddle when in the drops (and presumably when going downhill), but does anyone have any ideas why this would cause pain?

    Thanks

    Tight back chain of muscles - tight /weak vback/hamstrings, calf & achilles - too tight for set up you have. Either improve flexibility or change set up - would be my guess.
  • When you say improve felxibility, would that be lower back, hamstrings and calves?

    If I were to change setup, would moving the saddle back slightly help with this?
  • JimboPlob wrote:
    When you say improve felxibility, would that be lower back, hamstrings and calves?

    If I were to change setup, would moving the saddle back slightly help with this?

    When it comes to set up I'm not sure. It sounds like there may be a number of things 'wrong' and change all or some might not fix the problem because teh whole picture needs to be looked at. You need someone to look at you riding, and riding hardish to be able to say. I'm not sure you should be sliding forward - adn moving saddle back is going to mean you might run out of saddle!

    When it comes to flexibility - yes the whole 'chain' needs to be strong and flexible - obvioulsy having strong/longer hamstrings without a good lower back status or calves that can deliver power to pedals is a bit pointless.

    BUT - if your bike is basically set up wrong for you no amount of flexibility will help in the long run.

    I would make sure you are normally flexible (touch your toes for example) and concentrate on getting the bike fit right.

    If you improve flexibility over the winter (with for example dare I say it a well thought out weight training programme) the bike fit can be readjusted. But if you just adress the flexibility issue the bike fit will still be wrong (perhaps beyond reasonable flexibility improvements) - setting up continued problems next year....
  • WTFWTF Posts: 52
    Dropping saddle height about 1/4" solved my achilles pain.
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