Stretches that Help with Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is a common injury that affects people of all ages, from athletes to casual runners. This condition can be quite painful, but with the right stretches and exercises, you can manage the discomfort and promote healing. Let’s explore what Achilles tendinitis is, what causes it, and which stretches can help you find relief.

Understanding Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the biggest tendon in the human body, serving as a bridge between your calf muscles and your heel bone. Achilles tendinitis occurs when this tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse or injury, resulting in pain and stiffness near the back of the ankle. It often affects runners, basketball players, and others involved in sports requiring frequent jumping or running.

What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?

Achilles tendinitis can develop from several factors, including:

Overuse: Repeated stress from running or other high-impact activities can lead to tendon inflammation.

Improper Footwear: Shoes without adequate support can increase strain on the tendon.

Abrupt Increases in Activity: Sudden spikes in workout intensity or frequency can cause microtears in the tendon.

Biomechanical Problems: Flat feet, high arches, or other foot irregularities can alter weight distribution, stressing the Achilles tendon.

Age-Related Changes: As people age, the tendon becomes less flexible, making it more prone to injury.

Close-up of a man practicing physical therapy at a clinic.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis has several telltale signs, including:

  • Pain along the Achilles tendon, especially when active or in the morning after waking.
  • Swelling or thickening of the tendon.
  • Tenderness to the touch along the tendon.
  • Pain that decreases with rest but returns with activity.
  • Limited movement in the ankle.

Stretches to Relieve Achilles Tendinitis

Stretching and strengthening exercises are key components of managing Achilles tendinitis. Here are some recommended stretches to ease pain and improve flexibility:

Toe-to-Wall Stretch

This stretch helps lengthen the calf muscles and Achilles tendon:

  1. Stand facing a wall with your toes against the wall and your heels on the ground.
  2. Lean in gently until you feel a stretch along the back of your leg.
  3. Maintain the position for 15-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Runner’s Stretch

The runner’s stretch targets the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon:

  1. Stand with your hands on a wall for balance.
  2. Step back with one leg, keeping it straight, and bend your front knee slightly.
  3. Press your heel into the ground until you feel a stretch in your calf.
  4. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.

Calf Stretch

Stretching the calf muscles can relieve pressure on the Achilles tendon:

  1. Find a step or a sturdy surface with an edge.
  2. Stand with your heels hanging off the edge.
  3. Slowly lower your heels until you feel a stretch in your calves.
  4. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.

Heel Raises

Heel raises are excellent for strengthening the calf muscles and Achilles tendon:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly lift your heels off the ground, standing on your toes.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your heels slowly.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times, building up over time as strength improves.

Resistance Band Stretches

Resistance bands are great for increasing flexibility and building strength in the Achilles tendon:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out.
  2. Loop a resistance band around your foot and hold both ends with your hands.
  3. Pull the band toward you, flexing your foot to stretch the Achilles tendon.
  4. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.

When to Seek Professional Help

While these stretches can help manage symptoms, it’s crucial to consult our experienced team if the pain persists or worsens. A knowledgeable team can diagnose your condition accurately and recommend a personalized treatment plan, including specific stretches, physical therapy, or other interventions to support your recovery.

Contact Us for Achilles Tendon Pain

If you’re experiencing Achilles tendon pain, don’t wait for it to worsen. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment with our team of experts. We specialize in treating Achilles tendinitis and can guide you through a personalized recovery plan to get you back on your feet. Reach out to us for professional care and support on your journey to recovery.