Running is a very good exercise for keeping you fit and agile, but if you are having any problem in your Achilles then you will think twice when you go for your run. Often this Achilles tendon injuries problem can become too stubborn and painful that it will make very difficult for you to run.
What is the cause of Achilles tendonitis?
Basic cause of Achilles tendonitis is due to excessive stress that is transmitted through your tendon. Few things like weak calf muscles, excessive pronation and poor range in ankle motion are some way or the other may contribute to the development of such Achilles problems.
Together with all the above factors, volume of training may also cause damage to your tendon.
How to treat Achilles tendon pain?
Researchers and doctors have been muddling with few factors such as calf strength and tightness, ankle’s range of motion by assuming that Achilles tendon will get healed by itself once all these factors were properly corrected.
However, our body’s thick tendons do not get healed as rapidly as we would like. Main cause seems to be because of collagen fibers.
As your tendon will be damaged, then collagen fibers also get ruptured. Your body can lay down fresh fibers in order to replace your damaged fibers. However, all these are done in rather much disorganized manner.
When you try to see on microscope then new collagen fibers will look much like mess of spaghetti, as against smooth and aligned appearance, which you will find in case of healthy tendon fibers.
Often few achilles tendinitis exercises for runners are also suggested like performing calf stretching for loosening up calf muscles and also increase ankle’s range of motion, but often this may do more harm rather than doing any good of done in inappropriate manner.
It ends up with tugging aggressively on your damaged tendon fibers and it will be almost like pulling on any of the end of knotted rope. Following are 3 stretches recommended for Achilles tendon:
- Runner’s stretch
In case, your Achilles tendon gets inflamed then it can get tighten and cause discomfort. By doing runner’s stretch, or with calf stretch, you can get certain relief as it can loosen your tendon. In order to perform such exercise, you may require wall or any other support like chair.
- Try to place your both hands-on wall and chair. In case you are using a wall, then put the hands at your eye level.
- Now step your leg that you are interested to stretch just behind you. Try to keep the back heel on floor and also point your toes just straight ahead.
- Try to bend the other knee toward wall, by keeping the back leg straight.
- Now lean towards wall until you can feel gentle stretch in the calf. Do not lean so much that you get the feeling of pain.
- Try to hold in that position for 30 seconds. Also try to do 3 receptions.
In case, it hurts while straightening your leg, then try runner’s stretch with your bent knees. You can start closer to wall and bend the back knee until feel a stretch. Try to hold for at least 30 seconds and then repeat 3 times.
- Toe-to-wall stretch
This kind of toe-to-wall stretch will be ideal if runner’s stretch as mentioned above makes your shoulders little uncomfortable. It will place less amount of pressure on your upper body. Almost like runner’s stretch, this kind of exercise can help your mobility by reducing little stress on your Achilles tendon.
Following 3 steps with your leg that is causing discomfort will help.
- First stand by facing wall and then put your toes up against the wall. Higher you try to place your toes, deeper will be the stretch.
- You may lean forward, by keeping the heel on floor.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds and then repeat for 3 times.
- Heel drop
There is another Achilles tendon stretch that often happens is heel drop. If you want, you can easily do it on staircase or stepladder. In case, you prefer to use stepladder, make sure that it is locked in position.
You can do this stretch for the leg which has Achilles tendon issue.
- Try to hold on to any railings of your staircase or ladder.
- Now put ball of foot on edge of your bottom step.
- Allow your heel to drop down, and relax your other foot.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds and then repeat this 3 times.
- Foot balance exercise with bosu ball
In order to perform this exercise, you have to use a bosu ball. Bosu ball looks almost like exercise ball that is cut in half, having a platform on its flat side. First in order to start, try to place your rounded side of Bosu ball on ground. This platform must be facing up.
After that, try to place your one foot on platform. Now very carefully, you may place your entire weight on foot which is on the platform. You may feel little unsteady, hence you must make sure that you have proper support nearby.
If you like, then use your wall for getting necessary support by placing your bosu ball next to your wall. Also, you can use railing or walking stick for your support as well.
As soon as you are comfortable, then try lifting the other foot off your ground, so that you can balance on your bosu ball. Make sure that your weight is well balanced and centered too.
With this, it will put force on the ankle and also Achilles tendon to maintain your balance. Now you must try to hold your balance for at least 3 seconds. Now gradually increase your amount of time, so that you can hold your balance and increase the difficulty.
In order to make your exercise little more difficult, you can try to hold 2-pound weight in both hands. This can increase resistance on the ankle and also increase strength in the Achilles heel.
If your problem of Achilles tendon does not get better then seek medical attention.