Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week 25 Summary- Achilles Diagnosis

( Click Photo to Enlarge)
I started the week on Monday by seeing three doctors. All 3 have been very helpful. First I had a 9:00 a.m. appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. She is supposed to be one of the best in the area with athletes. She did an ultrasound scan of my achilles tendon and found something unusual pushing up against the tendon. She couldn't tell from the ultrasound whether it was a pocket of blood or a cyst. Either way she wanted to try conservative treatment for 10 days which includes the use of a walking boot when I'm not working out and physical therapy three times a week. My physical therapist is Charlie Stelk, the hurdle coach at Augustana. Charlie's office is close so that made sense to me. He also was very accommodating when I saw him last weekend and promised to take good care of me if I needed anything. I saw him after the orthopedic appointment and the treatment was good. That evening I saw Dr. Kaminski who has been doing a great job of helping me gain more flexibility in my ankle joints. My range of motion is improving with each visit. I decided to play around with this picture editing program to show where I'm hurting and I'm sure you are all impressed with my skills on this picture!

With Dr. Kaminski's ART and Charlie's PT I have begun to feel much stronger. Each day I wake up with less pain and I even started biking with the walking boot on to minimize the strain on the achilles while I ride. For the week I was able to get in 93 miles of cycling including a hard workout on Wednesday and 53 miles split over 2 rides on Sunday. The second one was outdoors without the boot. It was a pretty easy ride except for the hills which I pushed very hard. I adjusted the cleat position on my cycling shoes and that seemed to help alleviate the pain. A week ago I couldn't have done this much riding without a super high degree of swelling and discomfort so I know the treatments are helping.

On Saturday Dr. Kaminski told me to stop by a class he was taking on diagnosing injuries. The seminar was being led by a well renown Dr. from Boston, MA named William Brady. When I walked in I thought Dr. Brady was going to look at me during a break but little did I know I would be used as a case study in which he would show how to diagnose an injury. He asked me all about the background of the injury and the treatments I have gotten. When he heard the ultrasound showed a possible cyst he checked the achilles for tendinitis and tendinosis and ruled both of these out. My achilles looks to be in good shape but what he concluded was that a cyst is causing friction on the tendon when I cycle and run. It is worst in the dorsiflexed (toe up) position. I'm hoping that when I go back to the orthopedic this week she can remove the cyst. From what I've read it is a fairly simple procedure and recovery from it is very minimal if everything goes well. For the week I also swam 10, 500 yards. My stroke is much more efficient thanks to a clinic I'm taking every Saturday at Augustana. I missed a race today but it didn't bother me so much because I'm seeing progress with every day and know it won't be long before I'll be back to regular training. I'm excited to run on fresh legs this summer.

With my reduced training time I've been able to spend more time at home with Jen and Payton. The shirt in this picture is one I received as part of a nice package from Hammer Nutrition. The world's best bike mechanic, Moon Villalobos from Healthy Habits has helped get my name out to some great reps from companies like Hammer Nutrition. I can't thank Moon or shop owner Bruce Grell enough for the things they have done to help me on this great journey. I have more exciting news to announce about the help I'm getting from Healthy Habits soon. I'll wait until it is all finalized to make the exciting announcement. The guys at Healthy Habits have been great to me and they will take care of you if you have any needs for the upcoming season! The sermon we had in church this weekend really hit home for me. It revolved around the topic of doubt. The idea is that when things are going wrong people tend to doubt their abilities. They tend to see only the bad side of life. God brings challenges our way to make us stronger. I kept thinking of my own suffering with this injury and I know it is for a reason. I know I'll be stronger when this thing is finally gone and I can return to regular training. My legs and mind will be fresh. I'll have a new perspective on the gifts that I have been blessed with. I can't wait to train and to race. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!


Jason said...

Glad to hear you achilles is ok! Hopefully you will be able to recover from this cyst and get back to work quickly!


Jeff Paul said...

Thanks Jason! Good luck this weekend. How has the bike been treating you? I wish I could be in Newton to watch you!

Anonymous said...

God works in mysterious ways. You have too many positive things in your life to be doubtful, but I know we all are. I am proud of you! I loved the picture with you & Payton. You will succeed.
God Bless You! Love, Mom

Beth said...

I think we need a picture of you biking with a boot on!
Also, I second the great work at Healthy Habits.