T Nation

Thoughts? Achilles Tendon and Calves


So last Saturday was my leg workout. I normally don't spend lots of time calves (although I know i should) but decided it was time to blast them. I did a seat Calf push machine (hammer Strength)

Similar to the picture shown: I did 4 sets of 11 - 15 reps

My calves felt smoked afterwards so i left. last Sunday/ Monday and Tuesday I had MAD DOMS and my calves were so burnt I had to heel walk. Wednesday - Up until today, my achilles tendons on BOTH legs are severely strained. Apparently no tears from my family doctor says.

I know tendons will take a long time to fully heal. I've been icing and using a topical anti-inflammatory.

Anyone had similar experiences? I cannot walk and pulling the largest and strongest tendon in your body really fucks up your body mechanics. Even my Rhomboids and lower/ mid traps are tight...along with my neck.

HELP! Is this a long term thing? As in I'll never be 100% the same? Anyone pulled/ torn their achilles tendon(s)?


Don't bounce and jerk your reps next time.


Slow and controlled with a little cheating for the last 1 - 2 reps i'll admit.

But I've seen ppl do the whole stack in the standing calf raises. Most of them do not even look like they workout their calves, or legs for that matter.


How much weight did you use, just out of curiosity? I would imagine it would take a fair bit to hurt these tendons.


have you tried rolling the calves and ankles? i use a soft tennis ball on and around the joint, and something a little harder on the calf muscle. you could also try rolling the bottom of your foot with the tennis ball just because all that stuff is connected. maybe you'd have some success rolling around the tendon with a tennis ball too?

the right side of my ankle was painful to the touch last night, so i rolled it gently with the tennis ball. this morning: all better! i'm amazed that something so simple seems to work every time.


I use 10 plates on the machine with no problem. I think you just found your soleus. They hurt like a bitch when you get DOMS, tape 2 tennis balls together and roll from your heel to your knee in the nook between the balls.


Grettiron beat me to it


That's a great machine, but so many people who 1st try it go "whoah, I'm getting a great stretch here!" and overdo it a bit. I'm sure if a week or so you'll be fine. I've overstretched mine before, and even had quite a few bouts of plantar fasciatis (sp? -lol), which is really not fun.



My ankles are so swollen and i feel like my left leg is getting no blood floor. It feels dead. Definitely fucked up my tendons.

I can't even sit or lie down without consistent throbbing pain.


Hey Stu,

i've always admired your intelligence, but i think i've done much worse then over-stretched it. Tendinosis in both achilles tendons. My Leg ankle is swelled up like an orange and feels limp.

I've iced it many times and its only temporary. Im thinking of getting a massage for my legs/ calves...


I have over use problems in the tendon on the bottom of my foot. It gets pretty irritated when I hammer my calves (or do more than a small amount of running).


damn that sounds pretty serious. your doc checked it out right?

my ankle was very swollen when it came out of the cast after i broke it. i'd roll the whole calf, then gently around the joint (in hindsight i'd use a tennis ball, gently). next day the swelling would be gone. of course it would swell up again during the day, but just repeat the rolling. my surgeon was ok with me doing this, and thought it was a good idea.

i never really iced it either, just kept rolling and exercising it with bands.


I know we all like to think we can diagnose our own 'gym-injuries', but have you seen an actual doctor who might specialize in this sort of thing? I know that when I'm all fired up training hard, I don't usually notice when I've hurt myself until the next day, and considering how much you use your calves,.. well, you may wanna see a sports Dr and possibly get an MRI to see about any partial tears or whatnot....



OP, I think you're panicking and not thinking clearly. Didn't you say your family doctor said there were no tears?

Why do you say you have tendinosis? You don't. You have an acute tendon strain, which is just what Stu said, from overstretching it under load. Swelling means inflammation, so acute tendonitis would be the correct term. It may have been the heel walking with DOMS and not even the workout itself that stretched it, because the calf was swollen from DOMS and then you further stretched it under load by walking that way.

Millions of people, if not most every human alive, have strained a tendon at some point. These things heal in a few weeks. It is not the end of the world. With this large one, it might take longer, but then again with a diet with plenty of protein, vitamin C, and other nutrients for collagen synthesis, plus rest and good treatment, it may heal faster.

As long as there is swelling, I would be icing it with compression (like an ACE wrap) and elevation. This really does work wonders. Sure, the swelling will come back, but be persistent and bring the ice back too. I would also apply compression frequently. When it's no longer inflamed, then use heat to get more blood flow there to speed healing. I recently used an infrared massager thingy on my own calf/Achilles strain. I also used hot epsom salt soaks, which noticeably sped up the healing as well. I would also take 800 mg of ibuprofen 2X per day (this is what doctors always prescribe to me) or prescription naproxen sodium for 2 weeks. VERY GENTLY use it and stretch it (GENTLY) as it heals. OVERDOING THE STRETCHING PREMATURELY WILL RE-INJURE IT. Walking is good because it increases blood flow. I would also eat protein frequently (of course), take vitamin C frequently (it is not stored but is needed for collagen synthesis), and take
chondroitin (also needed for collagen synthesis).

Now I don't want to sound harsh, but in the future, don't be so stupid. Having not worked a muscle very much or recently, there is little to be gained except high risk of injury by deciding to suddenly "blast" it. I have learned this the hard way. It is progression over a relatively long period of time that builds a muscle, not shocking it one day in the gym.


Thanks for the tips Gret. I will try these techniques out


Hey Stu, I've gone back to my family MD and gotten a note to get an ultrasound. He also wrote me a note to go see a physio.

I will def keep these pts in mind. And worse comes to the worse, i will request an MRI


Hey andersons, u are providing excellent pts. And that is probably how i imagined it to have occurred and gotten worse over the course of the week.

kept walking about and load bearing without icing probably caused the inflammation in my tendon. I wasnt panicking at first because i assumed it to be DOMs in my calves, thats it. I couldn't really associate the pain at first, but yes after i realized my tendon was starting to hurt. I was worried.

My family MD said there were no tears, but all he was a simple test where hed squeeze my calf to see if my foot would move. I couldve been getting partial. micro tears that could eventually lead up to a fill tear right? That was my main concern.

Right now, ive wrapped it and am told to NOT put any pressure on it. My whole ankle is swollen 360 degrees. It is not only my achilles anymore, but everything surrounding and i cant really move my toes.

I will def try to up my protein and Vit C intake.

thanks for the advice.


Very hot bath for 10-30 mins then freezing shower for as long as you can bear.

Also I presume you didn't stretch enough or at all after the workout. Personally I would get in the gym as soon as I could, do a light leg workout( just get he blood flowing-nothing to failure), warm down thoroughly then stretch the shit out of you calves and legs as a whole.


RICE and NSAIDs (at the correct dose) will reduce the swelling more quickly. Everybody seems to know about RICE, but few people actually do it effectively, maybe because it seems too simple and low-tech. Just do it. I've had many injuries over the years--tendons, muscle tears, discs, you name it--and I have found RICE and NSAIDs DO help heal the injuries much faster.

A full tear is still nothing to panic about. It would heal in 6-8 weeks, maybe less if you have youth and good management on your side. However, a full tear usually presents with sudden onset, like being snapped with a strong rubber band, and little pain. My brother-in-law snapped his Achilles getting up from a table. It healed up, and he's fine.