Healing the Achilles – natural remedies for Derby hippies

Screenshot from 2016-04-26 19-19-22My Achilles tendon on my right leg is basically poo. I have an appointment in a month, in the mean time here are the remedies I am using to try and help soothe it.

The first is an Essential Oil based remedy from Ms Worwood’s classic “The Fragrant Pharmacy.”

Essential oil clay poultice

I had this book sitting on my shelf for ages. For Achilles tendinitis she recommends.

Screenshot from 2016-04-26 19-14-12



This is working just great do far.  Here is what I did.

Ingredients and kit

I got the following form Amazon – but if you have a local store which supplies these items please use it!

Day 1-3 – cooling clay poultice

First you want just a little cold water, you can add more later. I had about a teaspoon.



Then you add two tablespoons of the clay power


Mix it up into a thick paste – thicker than an average facemask. All the clay should be absorbed.  Then add the oil: three drops of chamomile and three of lavender.


Apply to the Achilles and affected area.


To use it all up, I covered quite a large area. It’s very nice and cooling, so just use it where it feels good.


Wipe your hands and wrap the area in the crepe bandages, this stops the clay from getting everywhere.


It took me two bandages to cover it all.


Leave it alone for as long as you are comfortable. After about 2 hours the clay started cracking and pulling on my leg hair, so time to take it off.


Most of the clay came off with the bandage. You can wash them out and use them again – but don’t get the clay in the drain or it will clog up the u-bend. Also, bear in mind that essential oils may be bad for your pets, don’t let the dog eat it!

Massage after

After removing the poultice, or whenever you have time, use the massage oil. 1 tsb of base oil (I just used rapeseed oil) with three drops of chamomile and two of lavender,


Mix it in a small tub


And massage very gently with flat of hand upwards towards the knee.


I put on a tube-bandage after to stop the oil going everywhere.

Day 3+

The recipe then changes to have 3 drops of ginger and 2 drops of chamomile with hot water to mix the clay. The massage oil stays the same.

Keeping things tidy

I have tried a few variations on just bandages, as the clay can be pretty messy.

Baking sheet

Baking parchment works okay, it allows the clay to dry out but you can peel most of the clay off on one sheet after. It works best to put the clay on your skin and then the paper on the clay. This method does not work well of you paper under the heel, the paper rips if you put any strain on in.


Cling-film works pretty well, you can put the clay on your skin and wrap the whole lower leg in the film to keep the clay in. It does not tend to rip, and you can wrap several layers – however the clay does not dry out much, and I am not sure if that is ideal. It means you have to actually wash off the clay at the end, rather than just brush it off.

A combination of cling-film and a tube bandage seems to be the best way of keeping things tidy.


I also take off the clay with my foot in the bathtub, balling up the baking sheet or cling-film and throwing it in the bin. I then I can rinse down the bath and my leg with the shower head after. This seems to be the most mess free clay removal approach.

Arnicare bath oil

This bath oil is great if you struggle with pain after exercise – or if you are stressed.  It has Arnica, Lavender and some other good stuff.  Makes me sleep like a cat on a mat!

Knee Over Toe: the benefit of recording your practices

I have been off skates for two weeks now with an Achilles problem, but the footage my little brother took of my last practice has given me loads of stuff to work on in the mean time.

Here is an example of a small and achievable correction I have found I need to make, by looking to the footage during my downtime.

Worship Derby on bended knee

In skating, especially Derby skating, it’s important to keep your knees bent. For basic skating it stops you falling on your arse if you lose your balance. In Derby freshmeat you get taught about Derby-stance, which takes the knee bend to a whole new level of … thigh burning anguish.

For now, I am just working on basic knee bend, as I know full on derby stance is going to take me some time to reach.

Basics for beginners – knee bend is vital

In Skatefresh, Asha Kirkby says:

“If I had to pick just two of the causes of most beginners’ skating  problems they would be lack of sufficient and correct knee bend and too slow a cadence. There are other problems but these two are the bane of any instructor’s life. If you fix these two, everything else will  fix itself. ”

Here is what a good knee bend looks like according to Asha


I knees to the truth… am I bent enough?

I think, when I am doing my skating practice, that my knees are over my toes. It feels like they are! Let’s see if they really are… here is me in action:


Bearing in mind my bulky knee pads add a fair few inches onto my knee, I can see my knees are not quite over my toes yet.

Now I know what to practice and correct!

Learning even when off skates

This big stock of footage, taken on just one day, has given me loads to work on while I am off skates injured.

Try and get some footage sometime, even if it just sits around on your hard drive for ages, if you are ever injured it might just be the thing that keeps you motivated and sane.




The pain game: be honest, get better

In my last post I mentioned that my Achilles are painful and that it’s messing with my motivation.

To be honest, I wasn’t honest….

My right Achilles is causing agonising  pain at the moment. Doing the spring cleaning  this weekend caused “throwing up and feeling like I am floating above myself” type pain.

Walking to the shops is off the table for now, let alone skating.

Pussy footing

I feel pretty embarrassed the physical pain I have struggled with while learning to skate: these derby girls are so darn tough, I don’t want to seem like a cry baby.

Then I started to wonder how many girls like me quit derby before they even get started cause of these early-stage physical obstacles.

The truth is pretty simple: if you haven’t used your body for anything more than the bare minimum of physical activity since early childhood, you are likely to have problems getting started.

Everyone has an "Achilles heel" - mine is literally my heel.
Everyone has an “Achilles heel” – mine is literally my heel.


With the right help, these problems should be solvable. With no help, they are just going to get worse.

Seek help early

Don’t be a pussy like me and wait for things to get totally out of hand before you admit you have a problem.

I have a combined physio and podiatry appointment – but it’s not for another month and there is no way to bring it forward. I could have seen someone 2 months ago but I avoided dealing with it.

That’s right, I could have been skating right now and making progress, but I’m not because I didn’t seek help earlier. Don’t make the same mistake as me!

Look after yourself and do what you can in the mean time

Now I have admitted to myself I have a problem, I am going to do everything I can to reduce the pain and inflammation while I await professional help. I will blog more about what I am trying soon!

Over-pronation situation

In my first recording session, with the help of my awesome little brother on camera, I have discovered a I have a problem called “Pronation” or “Over-pronation“. This where the feat roll in more than they should during walking/running/skating.


Over-pronation is probably fairly common, but I want to get off on the right foot… or more specifically the right part of the foot… so I am going to try and resolve this problem asap!

What Over-pronation looks like

In her book “Teach Someone to Roller Skate – Even Yourself!” (which is very good value guide) the author Marty Donnellan has some good advise about foot problems.

One helpful diagram shows Pronation in skates from behind: you can see the feet leaning inwards, so the weight is not central over the wheels.


Another diagram shows the prorating ankles without skates.


My pronation problem

In this slowed down video of me skating away from the camera, you can see my feet prorate a lot.

How over-pronation affects my skating

Over-pronation may help to explain a few issues I have had while learning to skate so far.

The main issue I can pinpoint was with sticky skating. When I try and do my lemon-shaped sticky skate I loose momentum. Even if I start off with some momentum then start to sticky skate, I slowly come to a stop over 2/3 lemons.

I think this is partly because the rolling in of my feat means I am leaning into my inside edges of my skates all the time. This explains why I lose momentum when trying to sticky skate: leaning on the inside edge has an effect like a plough stop, cutting my speed every time I bring my feet together.

The effect can be seen most keenly in my sticky skating, however, I assume the inside-edge weighting would cause a range of issues. It’s certainly not going to help anyway!

How over-pronation affects my feet and my motivation

Since I started skating I have developed severe pain in my right Achilles and plantar fasciitis symptoms in both feet – I am waiting for a podiatry appointment to get this looked at. The problem isn’t so much the pain itself, thought that’s obviously not fun, but the slow chipping away at my motivation has come with it. I need to get it sorted then!

Possible solutions

Here is a list of actions I am taking to try and resolve my over-pronation problem. Any suggestions you have are welcome!

  1. Talking to my doctor – Including showing them a picture of the over pronation in action on skates
  2. Arch support insoles – I bought some from my local sports shop
  3. Foot strengthening exercises – there are some suggestions on-line, but I will check with my doctor first.
  4. Keep checking the issue – I will keep checking on this every time I practice to see if it has improved!