My Achilles Heel….Well, One of Them.

I hate being injured! Not just a little either. And it always happens when I’ve put so much work in. These last few months I’ve worked really hard, and honestly felt it was starting to pay off……..but here I am really struggling with my Achilles injury. A few weeks ago I was chatting to one of my best friends – another hockey player – about it. He told me he’d played in a match about a month ago, on a freezing cold, really poor astroturf. He recounted how, within ten or fifteen minutes of the match starting, he felt something ‘twang’ at the top of his leg. With one or two substitutes on the sideline, immediately he took himself off, and spent the rest of the game wrapped up and warm. The following week, he’d healed up fully, and was able to play the whole game….all seemingly because at the first sign of trouble, he stopped and came straight off. Very sensible…..unlike me!

I knew I’d done something, about a month ago, on a Thursday night at training. It wasn’t something that suddenly happened and you think…….ouch! It was a gradual, niggling kind of pain. By the end of the session, and in particular on my walk home, I could feel that something wasn’t right and was in fact, almost certainly, very wrong. I have, being nearly 100 years old (well at least that’s the way if feels most of the time) been brought up to just try and carry on with respect to hockey – run it off, or just continue regardless….yes I know, not very sensible. However, that’s just the way things were when I started playing. There were no rolling subs (you were in fact lucky if there was a sub at all……note the singular!), no squads going to games….and most of the time, because you were playing in the mud on a rain swept pitch somewhere, very few other players ever turning out to watch who could come on and take your place…..that’s just how it was. And, it was GREAT!!! But it was kind of a given, that unless you’d broken a couple of bones, lost half your body weight in blood, or had some of your internal organs showing…….you kind of just played on. So, very stupidly, I did just that last month. After training, I went home, applied ice, and just hobbled a bit until the league game on the following Saturday. Again stupidly I played………..yes, the entire game, despite the fact that I was limping in the warm up. And even more stupidly, I trained the following week, and played in the league game, fully aware that something was clearly very wrong. We won both games, but by the end of the second (I’d been substituted with 10 minutes to go……….probably because of the limp) it was blatantly obvious, even to me, that I was going to have to lay off the hockey, and everything else, for a few weeks at the very least. And yes…..I know, I did exactly the opposite and played in last week’s reunion match. (I am a very stupid boy……there, I’ve said it!)

But now, I find myself desperate to play, in considerable pain, and not really sure what to do. The obvious thing……physio. Not at the moment……too much money and the wrong time of year…..simply not an option. Friends last week mentioned being measured for a foot support and buying the right sort of shoes. Being measured for a foot support again sounds expensive, and I have to ask…………….how do you know the right sort of shoes? I have been applying ice whenever I can….mainly all evening. I’ve been trying compression as well….and both have made a difference. But I want to know if there’s anything else I can do that would help me heal quicker, how do I know when the injury is fully healed and what can I do to stop it happening again? When I played last week I used sports tape to tape it up……….but only using information found on the internet. Did it have an effect? Tough to know. I managed to run around (yes, again I know….me running around haha) for the full game, so it might have made a difference, but equally it might have done very little, or nothing at all. It was intensely painful from start to finish, and I have been limping all week, and it is getting better, but if any of you can help….I would appreciate it very much. Whether you have medical knowledge, suggestions that have helped you or someone you know, or just an understanding of footwear and the condition in general.

One other thing to point out. Since this has happened I’ve come across numerous other people, all hockey related, with a similar if not the same condition. Before this, I don’t think I’d ever seen or heard of anyone with anything like this (apart from once when I played in a match where someone’s Achilles snapped while we were playing…….terrible) but I must have spoken to about half a dozen people who are suffering in the same way I am. Could it all be related somehow? I don’t see how it could be, but I did think it relevant to mention. So there you go. If you could help me get back to playing again as soon as possible, I would be very grateful…………not sure my team mates would agree, but there you go. If you could leave your comments for me to post here that would be wonderful…..looking forward to your help.

Your thoughts are much appreciated..........Thanks!