The Most Common Mistake in Self-Treating Achilles Tendonitis

I encountered three people in the past two weeks that were all self-treating Achilles tendinitis.

They all were getting worse.  

They all were making the same mistake.

This is my public service announcement for the week.  Many of us employ the treat by consensus plan.  We consult Dr. Google.  We ask friends.  We call family.  We listen to trainers that a friend of a friend’s aunt knows.  I know I do it.  Apparently, some of my friends do as well.  Adding to that, we have the voice of our fourth grade gym teacher in our head; “no pain, no gain”.

The consensus/group think treatment for Achilles tendinitis seems to be:  stretch till it bleeds.  

The calf muscle group is often tight and needs to be stretched.  However, overstretching can irritate an injured muscle or tendon.  If the pain is where the tendon inserts onto the heel, you can start to weaken the insertion point.  My little art project:

Relaxed Muscle Fibers

Relaxed muscle fibers

Stretched muscle fibers

Stretched muscle fibers

Torn Muscle Fibers

Torn muscle fibers


Sometimes a tendinitis is actually a tendinosis.  Tendinitis is more of an inflammatory type process.  A tendon gets irritated from overuse and as the body tries to go through the healing process, it gets stalled in the inflammation phase.  Inflammation is a normal part of healing an injury.  It becomes a problem when the process does not continue and move beyond that phase.

Tendinosis is a little different.

From Wiki:
This may lead to reduced tensile strength, thus increasing the chance of tendon rupture. Tendinosis is often misdiagnosed as tendinitis.[1] Classical characteristics of “tendinosis” include degenerative changes in the collagenous matrix, hypercellularity, hypervascularity, and a lack of inflammatory cells which has challenged the original misnomer “tendinitis”.[2]

How would I treat it?

  1. Ice can be very useful, especially if it is a new pain.  Use caution after icing:  you just decreased blood flow to an area that sustains a great deal of force when you walk.  If you ice, plan on watching TV or reading for a while after.  (ice 10-20 minutes)
  2. Heat can feel really nice.  It can also be helpful in relaxing the area before stretching. (heat 10-20 minutes)
  3. Stretch gently.  In the beginning, it may be easier to stretch sitting down.  Place a towel or belt around you forefoot and gently pull back, stopping when you start to feel a pull in your calf.  (Hold 30 seconds 2-3 times; 2-3 times a day)
  4. Eccentric loading exercise sounds much more complicated than it is.  Stand near a counter for safety.  Raise up on toes of both feet.  Pick up the foot that is not hurt.  Using just your injured leg, slowly lower your heel back to the floor.  Repeat.  You may only be able to do a few at first because it causes a strong contraction but because the muscle is lengthening, it is seems cause a different result than just doing a bunch of heel raises.

Please talk to your doctor about calf pain.  There are other things that can cause the pain.  Identifying the source will make treatment much more effective and efficient.


Tommie Copper and the Acupuncturist Vs Foot Pain

My first steps almost every morning for the past several years have greeted me with the soreness that usually comes from plantar fasciitis.  My Lyme literate doctor (LLMD) has felt that this pain along with occasional burning and tingling is likely a symptom of Bartonella (a common co-infection of Lyme).  Two weeks ago, I began to have symptoms all day that became worse at night.  The LLMD wanted to know if any of my symptoms changed, so I called and left a message.  Through his nurse, he told me it was the Bartonella and suggested I add either another antibiotic or a herbal mixture called A-Bart.  The antibiotics I am already on are supposed to battle both Bart and Lyme, so I opted for the herbal boost.

Before I received the new medicine, I noticed that wearing compression stockings helped.  I ordered a pair of Tommie Copper socks that I could wear more comfortably and for longer periods of time.

Product Details

The compression seems to be the trick for reducing the tingling, burning and aching.  Who knew? Well, I am sure someone did, but not me.

A day or so before Tommie came to my door, I had an acupuncture treatment.  I saw a Groupon a few months back and snatched it.  It was about to expire, so I thought; why not go for it?  While I, generally, do not shop for medical treatment on social media coupon sites, it was a really good deal and close to home.  I was a little sore around the Achilles area after the treatment, but the next day, I did feel better.  The previous visit, she focused on just evaluating the situation.  I do not understand all the science behind it, but she did a sort of electrical impedance test that measures meridians and any imbalances. The pie graph is supposed to be all green if everything is peachy fine.  Many look like:

Mine had NO green areas.  Apparently, I am out of balance from left to right/top to bottom.

I guess I can give both compression socks and acupuncture thumbs up to helping manage neuropathy type symptoms and Achilles tendon pain.  I do not know if they work as well for things like diabetic neuropathy and tendonitis/tendonopathy, but they may be worth a shot.

Extra self treatment: Resumed vitamin B12, but at lower dose, increased Vitamin C

Be well :)

spirit crushing CAPITALISM

One of the first modern era spirit crushing capitalistic moves was the assembly line. Instead of a skilled craftsman gaining pride and satisfaction in building a product from start to finish, he spent all day, every day building the same little widget over and over. He was paid more. He could provide more for his family. However, accomplishment became more defined by quotas and money than by pride and ownership of a quality, finished product.

Many politicians enter the field of public service with a strong desire to help constituents and humanity. They believe that they have an important view point and can get things done “the right way”. They see corruption and want to right wrongs. I imagine it is extremely difficult to navigate halls lined with lobbyists funded by businesses trying to improve their market positions. It costs so much to run for office, that some may start compromising their beliefs to collect.   They need to hit fundraising goals or not only will they be limited in advertising, but others will see them as weak. Who wants to put their name behind the weak guy?  One little compromise leads to another and as their spirit is crushed, they become players in a game that they never wanted to play.

Healthcare seems to be defined more and more by quotas and pay checks. Sales people are paid to sell. Every year their quota goes up. At what point do medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and services reach saturation?  The pressure and incentives can lead to inappropriate up selling or over selling.  A lovely lady I met needed an electric chair to be mobile outside of the house. The equipment company pressured the doctor to recommend a super high tech and expensive version that was originally designed for patients with severe spinal cord injuries that had to spend most of the day in the chair and had limited sensation to pressure points. Not only would this chair cost thousands of dollars more, but it could have actually discouraged the lady from using the mobility and strength she did have. Making her worse!

Insurance companies have to make more money every year to keep investors happy. They demand increased paperwork and administrative costs from providers.  They demand patients pay a greater share and negotiate lower reimbursement rates for providers.

Providers have to see more patients to keep budgets balanced.  This leads to even more paperwork.  Crushed by administrative headaches and late nights of paper pushing, some practitioners look for ways to return their focus back to clinical work. Independent doctors are becoming a rarity as hospitals buy out as many as they can in order secure more patients and internal referrals. There is also a bundled payment system that makes this model desirable for all involved.

Patients are forced to accept higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays.  As patients have to pay more, their relationship with practitioners can become almost adversarial. Their, once, independent doctor now has a new set of rules to follow and a higher quota dictated by the conglomerate that owns them. “No, we cannot talk about your meds today because your visit is coded as a test result follow up.” -a friend’s true story.

At the beginning of this week, I thought I would have to make a choice between a job that valued volume over care and a job that valued quality but was not as administratively buttoned up as I would like. (Their can be huge ramifications if done wrong.) This tore at my spirit until I realized that nothing is perfect and I should be happy to have the luxury of choice.  Then it just became sad that the allied health fields have become so polluted. I entered healthcare to help people. It was more of a calling than a career choice.  Am I ready to work an assembly line?

Luckily, the choice was taken from me. For the moment, I have been spared the choice between stability and providing a higher quality product.  At some point, I may likely need to seek out stability. I have never been particularly good at taking the riskier path. Growth, here I come.

Assembly lines did lead to several advancements. Hopefully, these are just growing pains.

Another LLMD visit and C4a Results

In early January, I took a blood test called C4a.  As expected, the results were not back at my last visit.  He was to call me if anything unexpected came back.  I believe he was using it as a general marker of my current inflammatory level and to see if anything crazy high came back.  If it were crazy high, he may have wanted to investigate any mold exposure.

Turns out it was high, but not crazy high.  (over 7000 with normal being 0 – 2830).  C4a is NOT at all specific for Lyme.  It is just another piece of the puzzle that can be monitored.  I am feeling better since the test was taken so he believes that it would likely be lower at this point.  This blog has some information you may find interesting if you are looking for more.

From another site:


The complement system is a group of proteins that move freely through your bloodstream.  The proteins work with your immune system and play a role in the development of inflammation.

These short-lived products are re-manufactured rapidly, such that an initial rise of plasma levels is seen within 12 hours of exposure to biotoxins, and sustained elevation is seen until definitive therapy is initiated.

The rest of the visit was a symptom check and deciding to stay the course a little longer.


How to clean your kitchen, the hard way


  1. Over cook breakfast


2.  The next step is much more complicated.

Remember late in the morning that it is trash day and there are things in the refrigerator that you need to get out.  Be in a hurry, and do not pull your hair back, because why would you want to see what you are doing?

Cleaning out the old food will make you realize that the fridge needs a quick wipe down.  This will make you realize that there is gunk stuck in the crease between the glass and the shelf frame.  Take out the frame and the glass.  Wait until the glass starts to react to the temperature change.  For maximum effect make sure the fridge door and a couple of cabinet doors are open.

Pick up the glass off the shelf in just the right spot to create the exact pressure needed to cause a glass explosion.

Glass explosion

If your stove is dirty, try letting soup boil over.

Using the Health Insurance Marketplace

One of the pleasures of being self-employed is that I have to purchase my own health insurance.  Sorry, this post may be bit boring for my international friends.

In order for the insurance to be active by the first of next month, I had to apply by the 15th of this month.

It was easy!

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