Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Line in the Sand...

That's what my physio told me yesterday. 

"We have to draw a line in the sand," he said. 

And, reluctantly, I knew he was right.

My achilles injury has been going on for too long now.  I have, in no particular order, tried the following treatments to help clear it up.  Massage, manipulation, achilles bowing, icing, compression, elevation, heat treatment, cold-freeze treatment, deep-penetration massage oil treatment, graston manipulation, chiropractic intervention, gait analysis and orthotic inserts, heel lifts and pads, running shoe cutaways, acupuncture,  stretching, eccentric loading, extended heel raises, weight bearing exercises, balance boards, strapping (you name the tape, I've used it), anti-inflammatories (both ibuprofen and diclofenac) and almost anything else you could care to mention.

So please; I hope you'll understand if I ask you not to suggest treatments.   Simply put, barring surgical intervention I have done everything I can to right this wrong.  And I have no intention of embarking on surgery around the achilles area.  None whatsoever.

Following an ultrasound scan last Friday I was told I had the following:  'The achilles is thickened, heterogeneous in its appearance and shows significant hyperaemia indicating a Grade 3 tendinopathy.'  It went on to mention an 'ultrasound guided pre-Achilles injection' as possibly being of use. 

Wonderful!  Fantastic!  Amazing!  I had a miracle cure.  Only... I didn't.  Despite so wanting to believe that the magic cortisone bullet would be fired from the syringe into my ailing achilles and a fully restored Ironman would in a few weeks be pounding his marathon around the streets of Zurich - I've been forced to do something I don't do too often or too well in my life. 

I've been forced to listen.

Prevailing medical opinion is that steroid injections into the achilles are dangerous.  They lead to a significant increase in the risk of achilles rupture.  In case you're in any doubt, this is a bad thing.  Who says?  Well, pretty much everyone.  My physio, JD, is an Ironman and physiotherapist to the GB Olympic Triathlon and Badminton squads.  He says so.  My mate Gabriel is a sub 10 Ironman and noted vascular surgeon.  He says so.  My club mate Chris Herman is a GP and Half Ironman.  He says so.  My chiropractor, John Williamson, is an ex international sprinter and top class rugby player.  He says so. 

I could go on.  But frankly, what's the point of asking these people if I'm going to disregard what they say.  To a man they all advise rest and a structured process of rehabilitation as being the best way forward.

So that's what I'm going to do. 

You seen the only thing I haven't done over the past few months is accepted that I have serious injury and given myself over to a structured rehab program which will last for 12 weeks.

Unfortunately that means no Ironman Switzerland this year for me. 

But just as I have to HTFU (for those of you unversed in such niceties, this stands for 'Harden The F**k Up) in Ironman races and battle through all manner of adverse problems, now I have to treat my ongoing athletic career as a race in itself.  I need to HTFU and make the tough decision to take a breather.  This is a long race and I'm not even halfway through it.  If I pull up now, rest awhile and take my penalty box medicine, I'll get back on the bike and be stronger, faster and ultimately more successful for the rest of the race.  (sorry for the tortuous Ironman analogies but it all makes perfect sense to me and will do to most of the triathletes reading this).

I am turning this into a positive. 

Watch me.

I'm going to re-charge my batteries, stay fit and focus on the future.  See... I've started already.

And finally.  Please.  No sympathy.  This is a minor issue.  People are dying.  Families lose loved ones.  Hopes and dreams are regularly dashed by unforseen events. 

I am a super-fit, healthy middle-aged bloke with a great life and an irritating injury.  That's all.  Let's get these things into perspective.

Thanks for still being here on the journey.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a leg to stretch.


H said...

Commandable Sir Jev, and definitely the right thing. I bet you're even the teensy tiniest relieved that you've made the decision. No deadlines to be injury free for means your injury can be your new goal. Can you rest, enough, rehab enough & love it enough to get that naughty achilles fixed?...yup, yup and double yup.

Crack on McDuff xxx

robQ said...

Lovely and logical Jevon, Sam McGlone did a similar thing last year (her achilles was in 'tattered threads' apparently) and is back healthy and strong.

However you do realise that this is THE opportunity to be a sub 55min IM swimmer ;-). I expect heroic swimming mileage in the twitter updates now!

Brybrarobry said...

Hey man, good call. I'm not going to recommend any other treatments, but if I was, I'd suggest you get your lower leg removed, just under the knew and get one of those high tech "spring metal" like foots. The benefit is no more achilles, period, and you get to race in the "disability" catagory. Just saying it's an option if you really want to HTFU. hahaha.

All kidding aside, I know a doctor in Mexico that can do the surgery cheap. If interested, let me know.

Also, if you want me to do IM Switerland under your name, I'd love to, but IMLP is that weekend.

See you in September, hopefully you'll be better by then and kicking my a$$ on the bike if I bring it.


Ironmanmac said...

Good call big fella

I have signed you up for the Great North Swim instead of IMCH :)

alex said...

There is always next year. And 2012. And 2013. And 2014. And 2020.