I work an office job 10 hours a day, excercise at the gym everyday with heavy weights. Not a runner or long distance athlete but i do get up and walk around for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so. At home im constantly active with a 2 year old so im always on my feet. What im trying to say is, physical activity should not cause the kind of injury you can read about below. I think it was the shoes.
I ordered about 10 DIFFERENT shoes online before this hikeincluding adidas, inov-8, la sportiva, and many others. I sent all of them back except the wildcats. The LaSportiva wildcats fit the best, they had a wide toebox and a moderately snug heel fit. They dried fast, were lightweight, had sufficent coushioning and a good grip on the trail.
Note the back of the shoe near the heel, it has a hard clear plastic fork shaped piece that rises up the exterior of the shoe cradeling the heel. This may have been the source of my agony. The soft mesh area above this piece is flimsy and allows that piece to dig into the achilles, it provides no resistance.
75 miles on the AT, mountainous terrain Virginia, North carolina, typical AT stuff, 5 days.
27LB @ day 1, used poles.
By day two i was having a nagging discomfort in my achilles. The morning Day three was horrible and it got worse and worse and worse. It seemed like the back of the shoe near the heel(in this shoe it has a rather high rise to it) was digging into my achilles-thats what i think anyway. I considered cutting an inch of this high rise off. When hiking, the pain was less but when i stopped the pain became concentrated and unbearable. It hurt worse in the morning and when resuming hiking after a break. I knew that hiking made it worse, but i had to keep going. By the middle of day three i needed medication. I can take pain, but this was excruciating. I managed to grit my teeth and finish the last two days. My achilles was sore for a month after that and i had to use crutches for over a week. The pain felt like a grinding inside and upon closer inspection at home, actually made a creeking noise. This was a SHARP STABBING PAIN.
Can anyone help me identify the cause, was it overuse of the achilles or the shoe digging into the achilles? I've done several long distance hikes before in inov-8's roclite 315's and 390's and never had anything like this.