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Short Achilles Tendon, Recurring Calf Pain for 14 years


Background: At the age of 8, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, I also walked on my toes, due to short Achilles Tendons in both ankles. I was given 'stretching' exercises to complete twice a day, which my parents forced me to do religiously. Ever since I can remember (age Cool I have had SEVERE pain intermittently with both calves the only way I could get relief from this as a child was to toe walk and get my very overweight brother to essentially stand and jump on the back of my calves... No matter how much I complained of the pain I was in I was always told the same thing by both my parents and paediatric specialist 'Do your exercises and the pain will go away'... I could walk flat foot if observed or prompted, if my parents caught me walking on my toes, they would tell me to ‘walk flat foot’. I never wore a foot brace as I was not severe enough. As the years went by the stretches continued until I was 13 and essentially gave up. Jumping forward a couple of years and it wasn't until I was 15 and I shattered the medial cortex of the medial condyle in my left knee (obtained by a 50m running tryout), that I was told I have a mild spastic deformity of the legs ?CP (my ankles fold inwards when elevated and resting). After the Tx of the multiple #s, I was in extensive pain, I saw an orthopedic Doctor who diagnosed me with Osgood Schlatters Disease. Osgood Schlatters + Short Achilles Tendon = Pain. To Tx the Osgood Schlatters I was sent to a Physiotherapist who gave me ‘Plié’s’ to complete, this just compounded the other injuries and problems, but as it turned out... I was deemed to be an attention seeking Child and sent off to see a psychiatrist because a girl of 15 should not be in this much pain (I was taking 15 Panadiene Forte a day and forced to be wheelchair bound). I knew my pain was real and never returned to the Psychiatrist. I eventually got better of course the Osgood Schlatters healed in a little over a year and I was out of the wheelchair too.

I am now 22 years old and the Achilles pain has never left... I have flare ups approximately twice a month with each bout lasting between 3-5 days. Once these flare ups present, I have very restricted dorsiflexion and pain that is so excruciating I cry, it is for this reason that I revert back to toe walking and I cannot bear weight in the flat foot state. The pain is specifically located over the Soleus and Gastrocnemius Muscles and runs down the length of my legs and sometimes it will also affect the area near the popliteal muscle/tendon and I also have severe pain when the sides of my Achilles Tendons are very lightly squeezed. Since I am 22 I do live a healthy lifestyle I walk for 20-30 minutes 4-5 times a week and have done so for years, so technically my body should be used to this activity. As far as footwear is concerned I don’t often wear heels instead I opt for flat shoes, when flare ups occur I have to wear high heeled shoes this in turn takes the pressure off and does not cause me much discomfort. I am not overweight as I am 166cm tall and weigh 60 kilograms, I am also a Nurse so the pain that I experience absolutely impacts my career. The pain does stop when I am resting, but as soon as I go to put my feet on the floor the pain begins again, sometimes I have to get my partner to drag me up off the couch because I know it’s going to hurt and I can’t get the strength behind me to lift myself up. My partner is a fully qualified Massage Therapist trained in Remedial Sports Massage, when he massages my legs he notes that the muscles are not tight, nor do they have knots, but for that brief moment (15 minutes maximum) I am pain free and can walk flat foot again. To manage the pain associated with this I have tried NSAID’s and Panadiene Forte but to no avail. I put up with it, so to speak.

Once these flare ups have subsided I have no pain and normal ROM and I am able to walk flat foot. I am happy to see my GP once a flare up does occur, but I am scared to go and see specialists if I am referred because the flare ups are not constant, therefore if I made an appointment to see a specialist when the flare ups are not present, I am terrified again that they are going to send me off to a Psychiatrist because they ‘cant find anything wrong’ and its ‘all in my head’.

My question is, what could this be? I have searched the internet and I know that this is not a strain, sprain or RSI as it has been ongoing for the last 14 years. I am starting to get concerned now because I am 22 and I have read that if problems like this are not rectified it can lead to a degenerate state ie complete rupture of tendons and microscopic muscle tears etc.

Thank you for all your help that you may be able to provide

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replied March 31st, 2012
I have had server tendon pain since I was about 5 and I am 15 now. The doctors said my tendon was too short and the pain was in my head. I don't believe the there is no way my pain is not real. I understand how you feel. I sleep in a foot brace, it stops my tendon from being tight when I wake up in the morning, but it really burns in the night. I do physio religiously and regularly use chruches. The doctors won't even see me anymore because they say there is nothing they can do.
I am sad there is someone who experiences some pain like me but it is nice to know finaly i am not alone.
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replied July 22nd, 2012
I had both feet with bunions as a teenager and had surgery to correct both of them. Years later now in my 20s I have calf pain. I've ben to many pediotrist and sports medicine doctors all who say nothing is wrong. I did have one pediotrist who wanted to do surgery and extend the ligamanent which sounded good, yet crazy at the time. I found the condition of Equinis on the Internet. This seems to match my symptonms and the surgery is relatively simple.

I understand how life is hard every day to be in pain, it's rediculous people don't understand us and their answer to having no answers is to sweep us under the rug.

I hope we can find happyness,
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replied July 24th, 2012
I know the feeling. Both my legs have Hirt along with my feet ever since I can rember most of my pain in my feet. Im flat footed and have other issues. I am 21 now. 2 weeks ago I had surgery on my right foot to repair a torn tendon and remove an extra bone for
My foot that I have had since birth. When I woke up both of my legs were locked up in charlie horses the pain was terrible. My sister tried to message my leg. But it only locked up more. After surgery we talked to the sergon, my foot doctor, and he explained to me that my tendons were to short to allow him to put my foot in a 90 degree angle in my cast. Normally, he would put the foot at a 90 degree angle... He actually said he was afraid I was waking up bc he met so much resistance. But the anesthesiologist assured him it was impossible and that I was in a paralyzed state. He then checked my other leg to see if it was as tight. And it was. I think that him trying to push them up agited them so much and that is why I woke up with knots and Charlie horses in both legs. He said it is an easy surgery to lengthen the tendons and ligaments in my calf and ankle to fix the problem and he would have loved to perform it right then but could not bc I was asleep and he could not get my consent. When I have surgery on my left foot in December to remove the extra bone I will have the procedure also done for my calf. I'll let you all know how it goes. The only bad thing is you wind up in a cast for 6 weeks.... But it's worth it if will improve my well being for life!!!
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replied November 17th, 2013
I have had continuous problem since birth, my doctor told my mum that i had short tendons and that it should sort itself out but it could cause a few problems. When i started walking my mum noticed that the problems were there, I could walk perfectly fine at the age of 3/4 but would collapse halfway across the living room, i go xrays and scans and various tests but they said it was growing pains.

As I got older, i felt growing pains, they were nothing. One day, at the age of about 8, i was walking upstairs to bed, and i collapsed, in agony, i couldnt move my legs because they had cramped so badly. Again i was told this was growing pains.

I then went and spoke to my doctor, because he knew the problem with my tendon. I went to a specialist and got insoles at the age of 14 and was told again that the pain was growing pain. By now i knew the difference between growing pains and the agonizing cramp that was caused by whatever is wrong with my legs. The insoles helped, but not for long, they stopped working and i ended up back where i was.

Now at 18, I don't know what to do, its causing me problems in my hips and back, and the cramp still continues, but it seems to have gotten worse ... Again. So recently i went back to my specialist, I'm 18 and havent got any taller in the past 2 years. They had to do something, right? No, I got told i was wearing the wrong shoes and that was causing the problem, a pair of supporting ankle high sports trainers. So if anyone else can wear the same shoes and not have problems, why do I get problems?

Something doesn't seem right here, and its getting to the point that I cant even take pain medication because it does absolutely nothing for the pain.
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