Achilles Tendon Exercises

Achilles Tendon Exercises

Today I am continuing with the second part of the Injury and Exercise Report on Achilles tendon exercises. In part 1, I focused on Achilles Tendonitis and Exercise if you missed it.

Before I get into the article, let me go through a few exercises you can do for Achilles tendonitis.

Self Massage for Achilles Tendinitis

Double Leg Calf Raise for Achilles Tendinitis

I hope those Achilles Tendinitis exercises help you out.

Now let’s get into the article.

What is the Strength of the Achilles tendon?

What do the figures say? How strong is the Achilles tendon? The Strength of tendons is related to their thickness and collagen content. Tendons with more collagen type I fibers are more adept at withstanding larger loads.

Research indicates that an adult healthy Achilles tendon can endure about 9 kilonewtons when running (Maffuli et al., 2004). This figure corresponds to about 12.5 times the body weight. When running on your toes, as much as 4 kilonewtons are loaded to the tendon. Maffuli and his team indicated that the Achilles tendon could support a load of about 2.6 kilonewtons during walking and 1 kilonewton during cycling.

How big of a Problem is Achilles Tendinitis?

More and more people have been taking up sports in recent decades, and this has led to a sharp increase in the rate of Achilles tendinitis. Even though exercise is now a common pastime for Americans, 10% of Americans still participate in some form of running or jumping activity (Hargrove & McLean, 2009).

What Increases the Risk of Achilles Tendinitis?

Club runners, especially Achilles tendinitis, are one of the most common injuries. Knowing that running places eight times your body weight on the Achilles tendon, its prevalence isn’t surprising. Racquet sports, track and field, volleyball, and soccer are among the sports that have experienced an increase in Achilles tendonitis cases. The condition has also become a growing concern among ballet dancers. Patients who did not participate in vigorous physical activity accounted for almost one-third of those diagnosed with the condition.

What Causes Achilles Tendinitis?

The root cause of Achilles tendinitis is currently unknown. Inadequate footwear or walking abnormalities, which are associated with the condition, may be caused by tendon aging or by excessive training (Dubin, 2005).

As a central starting point, an injury involving the Achilles tendon occurs when the force applied to the tendon exceeds its ability to withstand the load. It may happen in a single episode or, more frequently, over some time, such as repetitive microtrauma.

Certain activities and improper body mechanics may also weaken, tire, or tighten the supporting muscles in the lower extremity, such as the gastrocnemius, quadriceps, and hamstrings. When they tire out, Trauma is most likely to occur. When the Strength of the calf muscles is maintained, the Achilles tendon sustains its ability to endure the load.

Excessive outward turning of the foot increases the tendency to walk on the foot’s inner border. This places significant stress on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.

Trauma is also caused by a sudden increase in an exercise program’s intensity, duration, and frequency. Also, training on improper surfaces increases the risk of its occurrence. The foot must have a stable ground contact to efficiently absorb the shock and transfer the load evenly to the supporting structures.

Your footwear may also increase the risk of Achilles tendinitis. Frequent wearing of high heels shortens the tendon and calf muscles,  leading to Achilles tendinitis and high heel pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

An Achilles tendon injury may be either acute or chronic. Inflammation resulting in tendonitis is the most common cause of tendon problems. You may feel localized or burning discomfort in the Achilles tendon region or at the back of the ankle, particularly from the calf to the heel, either during or after an activity. The pain and tenderness are normally reduced in the first stages of the injury with conservative treatment. Exercise and activities are typically unaffected.

Inappropriate management of acute Achilles tendonitis or failure to treat it may lead to chronic tendonitis. This condition is more difficult to manage and requires more aggressive treatment to alleviate symptoms. Pain is the main symptom. Pain may occur at any time during an activity, reduced activity, or rest. When treated inadequately, the Achilles tendon may begin to interfere with your speed and overall performance. It may get so bad that you can’t handle your regular workout routine, particularly if it includes walking up or down stairs. Activities of daily living become more and more difficult as the condition progresses.

The presence of nodules at the back of the leg, 2 to 4 centimeters above the heel, is an indication of degenerative change in the Achilles tendon in individuals with chronic tendinitis. When the ankle joint is moved or the tendon is pressed with the fingers, creaking noises may be heard.

Special Test for Achilles Tendon Rupture

Achilles tendonitis may progress to a point and lead to an Achilles tendon rupture. The physician or therapist may perform the Thompson test to determine whether or not an Achilles tendon is intact.

The therapist will position the patient on their stomach with the leg bent at 90°. The therapist will then apply pressure to the leg muscles in order to obtain the necessary information. To determine whether or not the Achilles tendon is intact, the foot will either move away from the shin bone or not. If the foot does not move, the tendon has either been damaged or ruptured.

If  you are looking for a program to help you with your Achilles Tendinitis, I do suggest this:

Other Posts on Achilles Tendon Exercises:

Injury and Exercise Reports that I have done in the past:

Articles that may interest you relating to Achilles Tendinitis:

Here is a video related to Achilles Tendinitis:

Heel Drop Exercise

Achilles Tendinitis Exercise