Achilles Tendon - All input please

I was riding my Coker today, had a UPD to the front. The handle from my KH saddle whacked my left leg about 2 inches above the heel bone.

My tendon is sore there, It is not broken. This is not the first time the seat handle has done this.

PLEASE, I need some advice from others on how to protect this. I would hate to have a severed Achilles tendon.

Most leg armor is open or only has fabric on the back. I doubt the fabric will protect the tendon much in this case.

How could you make the front of the handle softer or how can you effectively protect the tendons?

Please, I really want protection here!!!


Tape carpet to your ankles

Tape carpet to your handle




Re: Achilles Tendon - All input please

On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 23:24:26 -0600, “n9jcv” wrote:

>How could you make the front of the handle softer or how can you
>effectively protect the tendons?

I have no ideas how to protect the Achilles tendon, but just confirm
that you are very right to be concerned about it. Someone on this
forum (was it wobbling bear?) severely damaged his Achilles tendon
from the seat wacking it after a upd and is out of commission for four
months or so. I don’t think it was on a Coker though.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“Deflating pi does not reduce calories, it just concentrates them. - billham”

Achilles and maidens…

Good footbal shin protectors have pretty good AT felt guard attached.
It is enough to rip it off and saw it back to front and U have all
‘behind’ protected the calf included.
As to present injury. It will be wise not to challange it at all untill all symptoms will wanish. The reason being…posttroumatic AT paratendinitis (inflammation of the ‘envelope’ of the AT tendon) is ,many a time ,very difficult to treat on the LONG RUN.Wishing
good recovery.:slight_smile:
PS. That is how I protect my AT having lacerated skin over that area.

t’s never happened to me, but I remember reading the post that Klaas Bil just mentioned and being pretty horrified; sounded like a nasty injury.

I wonder if the trauma is caused by the impact or whether it’s more the sharpish edge of a KH handle?

For example, I’ve got a well padded Reeder handle of my muni (bent/angled metal bar that runs at a slight angle along the front of the seat and an inch or so in front).

Maybe one of those would be better in an impact than a KH style plastic seat with its narrow lower edge?

I’ve just done a search and tracked down wobbling bears thread about the tendon injury: -

one of the nastiest uni injuries I’ve read about, partly because you just wouldn’t expect that a blow there could be so damaging.

High top hiking boots.

or you could just get out of the way of it

IDEA for Achilles Protection

After spending all day looking for ankle/heel/leg pads, I thought, why don’t I address the seat. Here is what I did;

I may still use hiking boots or some neoprene ankle supports, but this I figured should definitely help. I took a small piece of pipe insulation, then I wrapped it with a Velcro neoprene wrist strap. The wrist strap alone should provide good protection, but I figured I could go one better. Now the only thing, I need to go buy some wide webbing and put velcro on the ends. I will wrap it with the webbing, which should hold up better than the neoprene, when the coker hits the ground.

What do you guys think? What else do you have to show?


One solution is to figure out a way to armor or pad your Achilles tendon. You could try some soccer shin pads turned around to the back of the leg. There are many different styles and shapes of soccer shin pads. One of them ought to work well for Achilles tendon protection. What you don’t want is something that restricts your ankle from flexing properly as you pedal. You need to be able to freely flex your ankle in order to pedal correctly.

The other solution is to stop falling off the Coker at speed. UPDs at speed should be very rare unless you are the type of rider who pushes the speed envelope. I ride conservatively and I am having difficulty trying to recall the last time I had a UPD at speed where I would have been at risk of the saddle hitting my Achilles tendon.

When I first got my Coker I was about a level 3 rider. I was able to ride, but UPDs at 10+ mph were common. I was a UPD waiting to happen. Then I started working on my freestyle skills. I now consider myself a level 5 (although I’ve never been tested) with some level 6 and 7 skills thrown in. I’m a much better rider now. My balance is better. The better riding transfered over to the Coker. I’m now a much better Coker rider than I was. UPDs at speed are now very rare. Low speed UPDs are still common, from trying to do things like a sharp U-turn on a bike path, but those aren’t anything to be concerned about. If I was to push my limits and try for speed I would be falling more. I keep my speed reasonable and at a pace that I can maintain a comfortable margin of control. For me, that means keeping my speed below 14.5 mph. Above that speed and things start to get sketchy for me.

So work on your unicycling skills and your Coker riding will improve. It may not seem obvious that learning how to wheel walk or ride one footed on a standard unicycle will help your Coker riding, but it will. The freestyle skills force you to improve your balance and control. You’ll find that you are riding well within the boundaries of the balance envelope which means much fewer UPDs at speed. Look at the people who are doing great things on the Coker and you’ll find that most of them are level 5 and above unicyclists.

I have only had the Coker for a week. I have only been unicycling for 3 months. I am not even sure I am level 1. I can ride, turn, freemount (not the Coker yet). I can only freemount with one foot. I can ride 6 miles or more.

I generally keep the speed at about 7 - 10mph on the Coker, as I do not want to fall moving too fast.

I have had the same problem of a UPD and the seat hitting the back of my leg on my Torker 24 as well.

Like I say, this has happened 3 or 4 times (Torker/Coker) and I think it is just too likely to happen again, so I must use protection. I tried a bunch of shin pads, but like you say they restricted my heel/achilles movement, something I do not want.

Any other photos of what other people have done???

Padding up as you feel necessary is a good idea on the Coker. I still ride with knee pads most of the time. I haven’t needed them in a while, but if/when I need them again I’ll be glad they’re there. Scraping up the knees hurts, the skin on the knee doesn’t heal quickly, and badly scraped up knees would keep me from riding till they healed. Reasons enough for me to put the knee pads on.

The good news is that as you get better at riding you will have fewer and fewer unexpected UPDs. Don’t neglect the freestyle riding practice because improvements there will filter over to improved Coker riding.

wear pads/pad the seat/handle as you see fit but getting better at getting out of the way would solve the problem more perminantly. also check out the GB4 coker handles on, they are two handed and have a spot for a cyclocomputer.

here’s a link. GB4 coker handle

If it’s happening to you regularly on both unicycles, it’s probably a technique issue. Your best bet is to try and work out why it’s happening to you and try and ride differently. It’s such a rare thing to happen that there must be something specific you’re doing that makes it more likely to happen to you.


This is really basic but, do you attempt to grab the seat when you UPD?

Maybe it’s way less practical on a Coker, but, certainly on my muni and 29-er, it’s very rare that I don’t come out of a UPD without holding onto the seat.

The few UPDs that are too fast for that generally end with me running out of them, again meaning that I don’t get hit by a seat.

as pointed earlier I had a really nasty injury that way
(recent radios show that my muscle is really sore and looks
like a battleground :angry: )

now I use 2 kick-boxing pads to the rear of my 661
I just look like an eskimo with kamiks but I don’t care…
they’re so padded that I am quite sure I can withstand an anvil falling from the clouds!

I put these back-protection even without the 661 … just any time while uniing … even if it’s just a trip to the grocer’s shop.


Well, I padded the seat handle in front. I am also wearing neoprene ankle supports, they are not too thick but offer some cushion.

I generally do not grab the seat during a UPD, I would rather save my face, than save a few scratches on my Uni seat. I am sure as I get better, this will be less of an issue.

On a positive note, tonight, I got some practice in. I did not really ride much, but I was able to successfully mount the coker about 10 times. Oh, that was a great feeling.

I looked at all kinds of pads for the back of my leg, but nothing was comfortable.

The only times I can remember my seat hitting my achilles is during Muni, especially when I first started. That was after my broken heel when I had bad tendonitis. The few times I got hit was a sudden, wheel stopping, UPD where I fell so fast I couldn’t grab the seat in time.

Why it seems to always hit the bad left tendon, and never the right, is a mystery to me. And the Reeder handle on my 26 seemed to have better aim than the Kinport handle on my 24. Good thing it’s a rare occurence for me.

Grabbing the seat will become second nature after a while but sometimes ya just got to fall.

another thought: if you don’t grab the seat, do you try to push it out from under you? from muni-ing i’ve learned that landing on the uni is way worse than even a semi-controlled fall. Unless its a really really sudden upd, i either hang on to the handle, or i use the handle to push it out from under me so i don’t land on it or i have room to run out the fall.

Funny, I’m the opposite. I can’t remember the last time I UPD’d and caught the seat. When I fall I ususally have far more important things on my mind then the state of my seat, such as whether or not I will be able to roll out of the fall, or whether I will land with my ribs or my soft inner armpit muscle on the armrest of the bench (I wonder if I’m thinking of a specific fall that happened twice in 1 ride yesterday…). I’ve found that the moment I no longer feel like I’m gonna stay on the uni, I don’t give a crap about where it is, as long as it’s not in my way. Even if I am falling and know I could catch the seat, I usually don’t care enough to inconvience myself by catching it.

I’ve never been hit in the achilles tendon with my seat. ::knocks on wood:: The worst I had was falling backwards and getting it caught between my crank and wheel. That hurt like crazy.