I guess I have a similar experience, though less extreme both in my experience as a runner and my pain. I've run for over a decade and moved from neutral-cushioned shoes to adding off the shelf orthotics. Was fitted for custom orthotics, but before I really began using them, I began experimenting with minimalist running. Once I started running (in vff's), the knee pain and lower back pain I had dealt with for years vanished. Absolutely fell in love with running again. I liked it so much, I started stretching my long runs too far too soon, and aggravated my achilles. I've taken a couple months off to rest it, while I do PT and ice, and have just started running again.
Jason, I have assumed the achilles is from "too much too soon," but does that ring true in your experience? My doc is also a runner who is a trainer at EMU (Ypsi) and has read a bit about bfr, but he hasn't tried it yet. Last I saw him, he was considering it for himself, too, which would be great for me! He diagnosed the achilles as resulting from overuse and advised RICE, along with exercises and stretches. Just wondering if that makes sense to you, too, or if you have experienced/heard of anything similar.
(Sorry for the longish post).
Absolutely. The strain on the Achilles can be considerable. Traditional raised-heel running shoes (and almost all non-running shoes) chronically shorten the Achilles. This is one of the most common issues new barefoot/minimalist shoe runners face. Patience and listening to your body will go a long way to minimizing or preventing the problem, and RICE and stretching will help fix it.
Best of luck!