Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) are most often associated with the hands, because we use our hands for so much, but in reality, RSI can happen nearly anywhere on the body.
This was driven home to me in a harsh way recently, when I developed a case of Achilles Tendonitis on my right leg, the result of bicycling too hard and too long for three days straight — 200 miles in a weekend, after no long fast rides in several months.
Symptom-wise, I didn’t feel anything until the very end of the last ride, and it didn’t really start hurting until later that night, when I was hobbling around, especially on stairs.
I used ibuprofen and ice to bring down the swelling, then rested a day, after which it was feeling well enough to ride again, after which I put about 60 more miles on it over the next four days. By the end of that time it was pretty bad. Every pedal-stroke was an “ouch”.
By that time, I finally wised up and took some significant time off the bike. And since I use the bike for everyday transportation, that was a significantly depressing development.
Luckily, I was still able to walk pretty well, so I switched to pedestrian mode for a few weeks. Unfortunately, while I live within easy biking distance of stores, it’s too far for a reasonable walk, so I’ve had to drive most everywhere I go, which is quite a bummer when you’re accustomed to being free of the automobile.
In the end, I took about three weeks off the bike. The pain and inflammation gradually diminished during that time. It was very tempting to start bicycling again at the first sign of progress, but I resisted, which was, I think, the right thing to do.
Have I conquered it? Time will tell…
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