Achilles tendons

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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Achilles tendons

Post by btsd_81 » February 21st, 2019, 5:00 pm

Started rowing using the concept2 ergometer around 3 months ago. I started slow (2-5km per day ~15km per week), gradually increased to ~25km per week. I never rowed with full intensity to get the body used to the movement. Really enjoyed this. Around 3-4 weeks ago I did my first 10km workout and a few days later a 5km workout with higher intensity. After that I got pain in both of my Achilles tendons. I stopped to row for around 1.5 weeks then started again, but after the first more intense workout the pain returned even worse than before. Essentially had to stop all sports activities now for some time to get inflammation down. Now things start to get better again.

Did anyone else have the same problem, or heard of this? Should I stop erging altogether or is there something to do differently?

My suspicion is that I have a problem with my technique, I definitely lifted my heels and occasionally noticed to be in "hips-in-front-of-shoulders" position (as described in this video Maybe I pushed too hard over the balls of my feet (while the heels are still lifted) rather than fully pushing only when the heels are already down?

I am rowing with flat sports shoes, but I don't think this is causing the problem.

Any advice or experiences appreciated!


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Re: Achilles tendons

Post by jamesg » February 22nd, 2019, 5:04 am

Unusual. However most problems come from style, so check against the C2 technique video. This shows the standard rowing technique, which has let me row (not too hard) with no injury over the last 60 years. I find 1.5 W/kg @ 20 keeps me fit; even 2W/kg did me no harm years ago.

Working hard without style is uncharted waters, so can't say what rocks you might find.

Save what your doc might suggest, try the backstop drill (aka fixed seat rowing, arms and swing only, back straight). It helps to see the recovery sequence and can be hard work, so keep the rating lowish, say 30.

"hips-in-front-of-shoulders" too is unusual. What's the point?
78y, 188cm, 87kg, last seen MHR 163. 2k (24 May 19) 8.46.6@22

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Re: Achilles tendons

Post by btsd_81 » November 10th, 2019, 7:04 am

Just to follow-up on how things continued. In the Concept2 common rowing technique errors video the mistake I could spot was "over-compression at the catch" (which puts some stress on the achilles tendons), which I already alluded to in my initial post. Another thing I probably did wrong: During my last sessions before problems appeared I did some parts (low stroke rate, but powerful strokes) where I ended the stroke "unbreaked"/"uncontrolled" essentially stopping with the foot-straps (when the legs are fully extended), which puts a sudden hit on the achilles tendons for each stroke.

Healing was very slow, I followed the advice in this post (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=10381#p131962), which I think helped a bit. In August I finally started physical therapy, which actually helped me a lot. It took essentially until now that I am without problems, after more intensive rowing or cycling sessions. The best exercise for me was the one stepping on a stair moving the heel up and then very slowly down, initially with both feet at the same time, later with only one feet (but see a good physical therapist, they know better which exercise is best when during the healing process).

I now row trying to keep the heel low during the catch and I don't use the foot straps, so far this works fine for me.

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Re: Achilles tendons

Post by Dangerscouse » November 10th, 2019, 9:13 am

Good to hear you've recovered. I have only ever had a short episode of slightly aggravated Achilles heels so I'm grateful I haven't had what you had.

Rowing strapless doesn't have to mean rowing slow or with a weak stroke. I can get it down to 1:45 pace, but it does take a bit of concentration. Strapless rowing is more about good technique so keep doing it as I'm sure it will be beneficial to you
45 HWT; 6' 4"; Liverpool 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:27; 6k= 21:23; 10k= 36:21 30mins= 8,356m 60mins= 16,317m HM= 1:18:40; FM= 2:49:39; 50k= 3:28:18; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

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Re: Achilles tendons

Post by Carl Watts » November 10th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Pretty much had my first ever serious injury that required crutches to walk for 4 weeks back in the beginning of August this year. It turned out to be a tear in the achilles of my left foot but what was really annoying is that I couldn't attribute it to any event that specifically caused it. It was not like I suddenly pulled up in pain, instead it woke me in the middle of the night throbbing and then I couldn't walk on it. Been rowing for 11 years now and its the first incident thats taken me out.
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Re: Achilles tendons

Post by sekitori » November 11th, 2019, 1:41 pm

If you ever need an antibiotic, stay away from Cipro. It works very well, but it can have an effect on tendons, even causing achilles tendon ruptures. The reason for this is unknown and the problem doesn't occur very often. But if you ever need an antibiotic, I suggest avoiding this one just to be safe.

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