Archilles tendonitis/Lump at back of ankle joint- treating with TCM (personal experience)

Last Updated on July 21, 2020

Recently, I have been having a bad case of Archilles tendonitis – whereby the tendons located at the back of my right ankle become inflamed. In this article, I want to share with you the treatment form that I have chosen, the insights that was being shared with me by the healer…that archilles tendonitis is not the problem with the ankles or legs but stemmed from the waist.

Pretty unexpected huh? But surprisingly when the TCM practitioner worked on my back, my legs, including my knees felt better (previously I had knee pain).


Have you ever experienced strain or discomfort at the back of your ankle before your calf each time you get up to walk after getting up from bed or sitting for sometime?

Archilles tendonitis

Leave it for a couple of months and it may eventually progress to archilles tendonitis whereby it gets more and more uncomfortably and eventually too painful to walk.

That was what happened to me. I had the discomfort- as if my muscles are being overstretched when I get up to walk after a some time of inactivity (from sleeping or sitting). The discomfort is located at my back ankles (both legs actually with my right leg being more severe). I tolerated this discomfort for a few months.

During that time, I continue with yoga exercise (once a week if I am not too lazy to attend classes) but I have always been consistent with my exercise and stretching before and after my workouts. It does help a little, slowing down the level of pain.

Usually, I would engage in low impact exercise with the cross trainer and stepper as I am aware of my knee problem. One day I decided to up my workout intensity (as I was running out of time) and decided to jog and run on the treadmill. It was a mistake… for not long after that I felt uncomfortable.

The discomfort in my right leg got worse and one day, about a month back, I felt a lump at the back of my right ankle. It was a hard lump felt painful when I press on it. Still, I bear with for about a month until the pain is causing me to walk with a slight limp.

I do take time to meditate in the morning and during my quiet sitting, I sensed that the pain in my leg, back, shoulders and neck are related to blockages, structural issue and imbalances. I knew that conventional treatment would not be able to help and I would need to go for alternative treatment. I decided to see my chiropractor.

Usually if you see a doctor for pain in your tendon, a general GP may prescribe neobion (vitamin B complex), pain killers and muscle relaxant. I know because that was what my local GP prescribed to me and my colleagues in the past.

I called my chiropractor, Dr Lo (chiropractor from Taiwan but staying in Malaysia) to make an appointment to see him. Few years back, he successfully cured me from severe shoulder/neck pain and later plantar facscitis.  When I reached his place, he told me my ankle issue stem from my waist (structural wise). But he referred me to see Dr Zhuang Qi Hui who is also practicing in his premise.

Both Dr Lo (from Taiwan) and Dr Zhuang (from China) speak in Mandarin. Now my Mandarin is not so good and sometimes I have problem understanding the more advance and technical terms that they are using. But I will do my best to explain for understanding.

Interesting experience and learnings from TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner Dr Zhuang

TCM practitioner would treat the cause of the problem rather than the symptom.

Dr Zhuang is a very kind hearted TCM practitioner. At the beginning, she had me lie face down on the treatment bed (there is an opening for you to put your face to be able to breathe freely). She started doing to the treatment similar to origin point therapy which I had tried in Ipoh (and I mentioned in the post here that the pain nearly killed me when the person pressed on an acupoint on my butt). Using her elbow, she pressed and kneaded on acupoints on my neck and head, then at the back of my ears. It was painful but bearable.

Then she moved on to my shoulders and spine area. There was a lot of pain- she also commented that my body is very hard and stiff. At some point on my back it got a bit hard to bear that I told her it was too painful.

She said I had too much wind and dampness (water) stuck on my body and unable to get out. It is quite similar with those who is suffering from arthritic and rheumatism. She decided to first try to force out some of the wind and dampness using ginger.

She went to the back to cut some ginger and place one whole food processor size container with ginger. She then add just one small cup of water and blend the ginger in the blender. After that, she asked me to remove my top clothing and place a towel to cover me up. She applied the blended ginger from my nape all the way to my sacral bone area on top of the towel. She covered the paste up with a plastic sheet, followed by a mattress cushion to press down on the ginger.  The heat from the ginger felt comforting.

After that is done, she started to work on my painful tendon on near my right ankle. I believe she used moxibustion (I could not see as I was lying face down) but I could smell the herbs and felt the heat placed near my ankle. She then applied heat to the area. But it did not improve the condition and the lump was still there and felt painful to the touch.

Seeing no improvement after 20 minutes, she decided to get the pus out using blood acucupping. For those of you who are not familiar with blood acucupping (also known as bekam in traditional Malay treatment- you can read more here). Basically she used a fine needle pen to make a series of incisions at the areas near my ankle, followed by a vacuum acucup to attempt to drain the fluid. At first I was reluctant but she said if I had wanted to get well, I must be willing to put up with the discomfort. As I have tried bekam before, I sort of know what to expect and agreed.

However she tried to drain but she said somehow the lump was too deep inside and she was not able to drain it in one round. Of course, I do not expect a miracle since it is not an overnight issue as I had allowed this to fester for months. She alternated between blood acucupping and more heat.

She also mentioned that due to too much water element and wind in my body, there are blockages created – hence she said I am an example of having ‘warm body but cold feet’ because the chi (qi) are unable to travel down to my hands and feet. It is true as often my feet felt cold and my hands a little numb.

TCM is more strict when it comes to blood acucupping whereby she told me strictly that I should not wet my feet that day after treatment or else ‘wind’ and ‘dampness’ would get in and make the pain worse that before.

Now when you check on the internet on home remedies for archilles tendon, professionals seemed to suggest icing the area since it is considered inflammed. Dr Zhuang said that in TCM, they are working to push out the pathogens, excessive wind and dampness in the body so they would resort to use heat to treat inflammation. She said if ice is being used, then it would push down the inflammation and result in bacteria and pathogens to lie dormant. With time, these may result in more serious conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

For example, it is very common for us to treat fevers with a course of anti biotics or to use ice bath to bring down the fever. When doing so, it will push the pathogens further into our body and in a more dormant stage. With time, it will trigger bigger health issues. I am sure you have heard of antibody resistance whereby some patients actually die because they are resistant to antibiotics. Personally I have my chill treated cured immediately  with Chinese herbs.

Caution: Do not self medicate yourself or your child who is having fever- such treatment should be done by a qualified TCM doctor who know what he/she is doing.

Effects of the treatment

I originally went for treatment for my Archilles tendon. While I still have the pain- which I have been told would require a few series of treatment to effect a gradual but complete cure.

The ginger application on my back made me sweat after a while. After the sweating, I felt so much more comfortable- my back felt so much lighter and the overall discomfort and tightness that I always felt on my shoulders went off. And you know what…. to be honest, I was getting a little overwhelmed as there is a lot of work to be done  at home to clean for the coming Chinese New Year. Coupled with taking care of my mom and that my pet dog recently gotten paralysed (I will write more on the treatment for my pet by a vet who uses acupuncture in future post), I do feel my emotions spiraling.

When the treatment is done on the back to clear off the excess heat and dampness in the body, not only it creates physical wellbeing but balances our emotions as well. Too much dampness in the body would affect various organs like the Spleen which causes anxiety and worry. After the treatment, I felt the heaviness that enveloped my physique and my emotions were being lifted and negative emotions no longer felt as though they are going to spiral out of control.

Whereas physically, my shoulder discomfort (sometimes becoming painful which I relieve it temporary by having someone perform guadsa for me), back pain and lack of strength in my knees were greatly relieved from the ginger and meridian point therapy.

Which leads me to ponder- if one is suffering from anxiety or depression, one can consider TCM treatment. The very least, when excessive dampness and wind causing imbalances are reduced in your body, your mind and body then can begin to feel better and self healing can happen. Compared to if there is serious blockages and element imbalance in the body, it is very hard for someone to work towards one’s own healing when everything felt so painful, heavy and overwhelming.

For those of you are who are staying in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor), you may contact the chiropractor Dr Lo at the details below:

Dr Lo Yuan Hung (Chiropractor)
Hp: +60193121366 (speaks Mandarin only as he is a Taiwanese)
If you cannot speak Mandarin, please call +6019-6633006 (Ranee Ng).
Leave a message/Whatapps if no one attended to the call. Before going, you must call to make an appointment.

Kang Yuan Healthy Heritage
4, Jalan Hujan Emas 3,
Overseas Union Garden
58200 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm
Sunday: off

Hopefully he or Dr Zhuang would help to relieve you of your conditions. Note: The price depends on the type of treatment but all are priced above RM100. The treatment I described above (ginger and meridian point therapy) cost me RM200 but it was worth it because massage centers are charging more than RM100 for guadsa / dry acucupping but the effect only last a few weeks. I rather go for something that worked at the root cause of the issue and last for a much longer duration.

Remember: We do not acquire the condition overnight. Often these are left to fester for sometime before they become full blown ailment. Hence one treatment may not cure you completely. You have to give it time.

Note: This is not a paid review as I do not do any paid review in this blog or any of the blogs. I write because I felt the treatment has helped me and I want it to benefit others. Even though Dr Lo has advised me that preventive treatment, ie maintenance is the best as it is easier than to fix a broken part, well, I always tend to wait till I cannot take it before I go. I joked with him when I saw him that when I was working and had the money, I  never find the time to come to treat my discomfort. Now when I am not working and sort of broke, I had no choice because I needed my health to function so I still need to go for treatment.





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