here I am updating you two years later.
I still have the same boots as 2 years ago: Asics Gel Lethal Ultimate IGS5. I would swear by them. The achilles issue did improve but was intermittent. After a scan and xray it became clear that the problem has never been the achilles. The achilles was perfect; it was the three little muscles behind it that were getting irritated: flexor hallucis, digitorum and 1 other I can't remember. I'm a severe rear foot supinator (run on the outside of the heel). All three were getting mashed every time I was sprinting. So I am lined up for an ankle operation to chip a bit off the bone(talar joint) that seems to be sticking right into all of those ligaments/tendons.
I had 1 cortisone injection into the ankle joint to see if this was the cause of the problem and it solved it instantaneously for a period of 3 months. After that the pain came back, but not as bad as before.
A really good physio encouraged me to do plyomentrics for sprinting and gave me various exercises to strengthen glute medius, which is responsible for pelvic stability and controlling my severe forefoot pronation. It has still taken quite a while to stengthen these at my age but I feel far more stable when I run.
What are the lessons I have learned?
Get a biomechanical assessment
stretch your calves regularly
Take at least 3 months to strengthen your calves eccentrically(calf dips on a stair)
Do not neglect your core/glutes
Do not assume a diagnosed achilles problem is achilles until a scan - even if you have pain in the achilles (chronic pain can mislead)
Work on your general fitness (beach body workouts DVDs eg insanity/asylum)
Thanks to everyone who has contributed here and hopefully my experience might point you in the right direction.
PS I am still reffing level 8
I've written other threads on the same affliction that I had, at about the same time as you started yours so it's a wonder I didn't see your thread? In summary mine spanned about 3 years, started with sore glutes, moving down to tight hammy, calf strains and plantar fasciitis etc etc. I also moved to asics boots and had some relief (wasn't the silver bullet but stopped straining the calves!). Physio thought it was all neural (back) but could not locate cause nor the reason so tried many programs of strength and conditioning to the body but to no avail (not orthodics as tests showed that was not a likely problem). But eventually I was diagnosed with severe inflammation at the hamstring insertion in my ass as the most likely problem (but couldn't find the cause) . Cortisone injection in the ass provided instant relief.....only 3 weeks later I developed severe Achilles tendonitis (both sides). More conditioning and radical diet change (to manage inflammation) ensued...and again months later it was to no avail. Cortisone shots around the Achilles provided relief but only lasted 2 months and it returned. 6 months of physio did not help so decided on a visit to the Wallabies/Brumbies sports physician, who told me I had similar condition to Rocky Elsom and there was nothing I could do and I had to just wait it out with rest rest rest (to avoid any surgery) and hope the body healed itself. I resigned myself to no more running ever, and therefore no more refereeing (I could barely walk without severe pain).
4 months later on the sideline of a local rugby match (I could only do No4/5 duties!) I was chatting with another sports physician (team medic) and I told him my issues. He squeezed me in for a consult within a week as he was confident that he knew what the problem was. Within 1 visit plus some body scans (to rule things out) and then second visit he diagnosed that my Sacro iliac tendons (in the back/hips) were locking up and causing the problems. Within 6 weeks of a stretch and strength program (and one cortisone injection) I was pain free and Achilles inflammation almost gone. I returned to a graduated running program and within 3 months I was sprinting again. That was 12 months ago and I'm as good as ever and at full fitness (I continue to do my Sacro exercises and stretches) . That Dr was my hero!
I also swear by the asics and will use nothing else now.
What I learnt though was
1) keep persevering and seek professional help
2) the body is an incredibly complex machine and just one small thing can cause a lot of issues so it's not easy to identify problems. One solution does not fit all.
3) get a 2nd opinion sooner rather than later if the first one is not working. fresh approaches can be all that it takes.
4) good quality boots do matter!
(Oh and not all ankle/leg problems are from pronation or supination, it could be your back/hips causing all the problems to the lower legs).