My Achilles ... a cautionary tale

That photo over there?
Yep, that was me earlier this fall.

I still have the boot.
Because it's so stylish and functional of course.

Let me tell you a short story about walking, antibiotics, Achilles tendons, and pain. Lots of pain.

Last fall I decided (again) that I need to get off my butt and starting "exercising." It should be noted that I hate to exercise. I find it boring and it really cuts into my "sitting on the couch playing Words with Friends" time.


I bought running shoes. $125 running shoes. I was going to train for a 5K race. And yeah, I thought I was going to RUN THE RACE. Then, as I'm prone to do in the fall, I got bronchitis. Knock me on my needs-to-exercise butt bronchitis. My doctor prescribed the antibiotic Cipro (also know an Ciproflaxin). This is where things went really wrong.

See, what I didn't know then (but oh do I know now) is that the leading side effect of taking Cipro is that you can either (a) develop tendinitis or (b) suffer a tendon rupture. And yes, I'm sure that information was listed somewhere in the possible side effects but I don't read that stuff (really, who does?)

(It should be noted that my foot doctor said a full Achilles rupture is usually what happens when one is taking Cipro and that I was "lucky." I'm not sure I like his definition of luck.)

So, last fall as I'm out walking one day I suffered a partial rupture of my Achilles tendon. I didn't realize it when it happened. I do remember feeling pain one day while walking but it wasn't enough to knock me down. I just kept walking and figured it was just muscle strain. By mid-November last year I was in serious pain. I stopped my "exercising." And then it got cold and I had no desire to freeze while walking.

Then I walked the 5K in February and was in pain. I was in pain pretty much every single day for months and months and months. I kept putting off a visit to the foot doctor, hoping it would just go away.

Look people...a good rule of thumb is this: if you're in pain, go to the damn doctor. I will admit that what I did was stupid. And now I'm paying for it.

I did finally go to the doctor - hence that very sexy walking boot up there - but it was a total waste of my time. One set of X-rays, one walking boot, three weeks of physical therapy and one MRI later I'm still in just as much pain as I was in August. I still have a lump on my Achilles (which according to my foot doctor is scar tissue and will never go away). And I still can't walk for any extended period of time without pain and swelling. I also can't stand for any extended amount of time without serious swelling.

And so here I am.

In pain. Unable to train for that 1/2 marathon I so wanted to do for my 40th birthday. And headed to a orthopaedic surgeon in two weeks. My regular foot doctor basically sent me off with "I can't do anything else for you, but here's a prescription for Celebrex." So, I'm not sure what the surgeon's solution will be. Maybe surgery is my only option - which would put me in a plaster cast for about 6 weeks and gosh that would be so much fun.

And so I leave with you a few nuggets of wisdom: If you think you might have hurt yourself, don't wait to go to the doctor. Just go. And, if your primary care physician wants to put you on Cipro the next time you need an antibiotic, just say no. Your tendons will thank you for it.

What I know is this: I need to find some sort of solution. I'm tired of living with this pain all the time. And there's a 1/2 marathon out there just waiting for me. But I think it's going to have to be for my 41st birthday.


  1. ((((hugs)))) I'm so sorry that this hasn't gotten any better. I know you were struggling in February when we did the 5K. I'm glad to hear that you're going to see the surgeon.

  2. Thanks for the hugs! Yeah, I'm hoping there will be another option other than surgery...but who knows. I just need to get better!

  3. I'm so sorry to hear you are still in all this pain. I hope an easy fix comes your way soon, it sounds so painful and frustrating. I had no idea that was a side effect of Cipro. I had a terrible experience with antibiotics after my son was born that nearly turned fatal so antibiotics scare the crap out of me. Good luck and hope you are feeling better soon.

    Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired

  4. Tesa...thank you for the good luck and well wishes. I am hoping for an easy fix too!

  5. Ouch! I have taken Cipro a few times for different infections. I haven't had any trouble yet, but that was probably because I didn't feel like doing much while suffering from whatever infection I had at the time. But if I am offered it again, I may think twice before I take it. Thanks for the warning! And I hope things turn out well in the end!

  6. Steve - I had also taken Cipro before, as it was one of the only antibiotics I can stomach. And all those other times I never had an sort of "training for a 5K" type of activity going on. Thanks for your good thoughts!