Sports chiropractic therapies, including specific stretches and exercises for achilles tendonitis, can dramatically help with ankle and leg pain associated with the condition.
Achilles tendonitis is a soft tissue injury that occurs when the tendon that runs from the calf muscles to the top of the heel becomes inflamed and restricts the range of motion. It is often the result of intense physical training, repetitive motion, or improper footwear. The tighter the tendon and more restricted the movement, the more painful the condition tends to be.
Pain is particularly noticeable when the muscles are cold, making the beginning of a workout especially uncomfortable. Performing the following exercises and stretches prior to training can help prepare tendons and muscles for exertion and reduce or prevent pain from achilles tendonitis.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart facing a wall. With your hands at eye level against a wall, step back with the affected foot and press the heel down toward the ground. Lean into the wall until you feel a good, but gentle, stretch up the back of the heel and calf. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Repeat.
Stand with the toes of your affected foot on a stair step (or curb) with the heel hanging off. Your other foot should be on the ground to help with balance. Gently drop your heel below the step to angle the toes up until you feel a slight stretch in the affected area. Hold the stretched position before releasing.
Seated/Standing Heel Raise Stretch
The stretch can be done standing or seated on the edge of a chair, bench or bed with feet hip-width apart on the ground. Slowly lift the heels high while gently keeping toes pressed to the ground. Hold several seconds before releasing. If standing, you may wish to hold on to a wall or stair rail for better balance.
Sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you (a slight bend is ok!) wrap a resistance band or tube around the ball of your foot under your toes. Gently pull the band toward you to flex the toes/foot. Hold before releasing.
All of these stretches target the heel area where the pain from achilles tendonitis is most felt. They are designed to improve mobility by loosening up the tendon while at the same time strengthening the heel and calf muscles. If you feel the stretch or pain somewhere else, it is possible you are performing the stretches incorrectly or you have another issue. Proper form and gentle stretching is vital to recovery.
Sports chiropractors specialize in body mechanics and movement patterns, making us uniquely qualified to guide you through recovery stretches for achilles tendonitis and many other soft tissue injuries associated with athletic training. We can assess postural deficiencies, weight distribution, and body misalignments that may be putting undue stress on the foot and ankle, and work with you to improve necessary body mechanics.
If you are experiencing heel pain due to achilles tendonitis or other sports injury, contact Dynamic Sports Medicine to begin your recovery today.