When I was around 10 I was diagnosed with a “tissue disorder” called Achilles Tendinopathy. I had absolutely no idea what it was (neither did the doctor for a long time… It took around 4 years for them to come to an actual conclusion), and to this day whenever I mention it neither does anyone else. It’s not something that’s talked about that often, but that’s because not that many people (that I’ve met at least) have it, so I figured why not tell you all about my dodgy ankles?
My Little Back Story
As a kid I wasn’t exactly “sporty” but I was very into dance and gymnastics and did quite a lot of both of them weekly. From the age of about 6 every so often I’d get shooting pains in my knees and legs, and every time I tried to explain them to the doctors (as best as a 6 year old could) I’d be told they were simply “growing pains” and they’d go away eventually.
For the next few years I suffered through, reassuring myself that my “growing pains” would go away eventually, but the older I got the more intense the pains became. It got to the point where I was around 10 years old, finding it hard to walk and my mum summoned her parent powers and demanded the doctors gave us more of an explanation. After being referred to a physio-therapist, and a few sessions of physio-therapy it was discovered that I had Achilles Tendinopathy.
What Exactly Is Achilles Tendinopathy?
Achilles Tendinopathy is a disorder that causes pain, stiffness and swelling of the Achilles Tendon (that little tendon that joins your heel bone to your calf muscles and helps bend your foot down at the ankle). Essentially, for me it means that my tendons decide to cause pain and malfunction whenever they feel like they’re overworked. It’s caused by repeated tiny injuries to the tendons, which can occur due to a multitude of reasons, but are most commonly due to overuse of the ankles. I’ve been told that mine was most likely due to the fact that I’m flat-footed (I don’t have a foot arch… at all) and so it caused my ankles to work harder whenever I did “sports” as a child. It’s also most common in men and people over 30… so I really just decided to be extra apparently.
Have I Faced Problems?
I mean, when I was diagnosed, I was told that ballet and ice skating were two of the worst things you could do… and I continued to ballet dance for another 5 years because I don’t like being told what to do. It was really bad for years, and I don’t think it’s ever going to go away for good, but nowadays the incidents are less frequent. I live completely normally, honestly most of the time I forget I even have it, and when it flares up nowadays I can usually get by with some painkillers and an ankle brace.
It’s not always peachy… I remember one day at Uni where it all caught up to me and I was stuck in bed because my legs were in so much pain (on really bad days it takes over my whole legs), but I’m at the stage where I embrace it and move past it. Everyone has hurdles, whether they’re physical, mental, or future orientated, but we are all stronger because of our obstacles and we figure out how to make them work for us. I don’t see my Achilles Tendinopathy as a “crutch” or a set back, I see it as a part of me and a cool different thing to drop in every once in a while. We all have things that could be “set backs”, but it’s all about how we use them.
Do you have any interesting things about yourself? Tell me in the comments, or if by any chance you have Achilles Tendinopathy come tell me, we can be best friends!
Lots of love,