Don’t let foot pain affect your quality of life. Achilles tendonitis is a prevalent overuse injury that affects the Achilles tendon. 

The latter is a tissue band connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone. It causes stiffness and pain in the back of the heel, especially in the morning or after activity.

Runners and athletes participating in jumping sports are particularly susceptible to this kind of tendonitis. However, anyone who increases their activity level too quickly or needs to warm up before exercise can develop this condition properly.

It Can Be Preventable With Exercise

The good news is that Achilles tendon injury is often preventable. Adding these five simple exercises to your daily activities can strengthen the muscles that support your Achilles tendon and improve its flexibility, reducing your risk of injury.

While these exercises can help prevent tendonitis, they are not a substitute for professional help. If you experience pain in your Achilles tendon, consult a foot doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

1. Calf Raises

Calf raises are a classic exercise for strengthening the calf muscles. These muscles are crucial in supporting the Achilles tendon. Here’s how to do Achilles tendon exercises:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold onto a wall or chair for balance.
  • Rise onto your toes, squeezing your calf muscles at the top of the movement.
  • Hold briefly, then slowly lower your heels to the starting position.
  • Aim for three sets of 15 repetitions.

Calf raises can be performed on flat ground, or an extra challenge can be added by being performed on a step with your heels hanging off the edge. It increases the range of motion in the stretch.

2. Eccentric Calf Raises

Eccentric calf raises focus on the lowering portion of the movement, which is often the most challenging part of the Achilles tendon injury. Here’s how to do them:

  • Stand on a step with the balls of your feet, specifically on the edge, and your heels hanging off.
  • Rise onto your toes using both legs.
  • Slowly lower yourself down your heel first, focusing on controlling the movement.
  • Aim for three sets of 10-12 repetitions.

3. Toe Raises

This simple exercise can be done almost anywhere to improve ankle mobility and flexibility in the calf muscles. Here’s how to do them:

  • Sit in a chair with your feet entirely flat on the floor.
  • Slowly raise your toes off the ground as high as you comfortably can.
  • Hold for a second, then lower your toes back down.
  • Aim for three sets of 15 repetitions to relieve a sore Achilles tendon.

For an added challenge, you can also do toe raises with a resistance band wrapped around the balls of your feet.

4. Calf Stretch with a Towel

Stretching your calves regularly is essential for preventing Achilles pain. This stretch can be done while seated. Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin by sitting on the floor. Extend your legs slightly forward and loop a towel around the ball of one foot.
  • Hold tightly both ends of the towel and gently pull it back towards you until you feel a stretch in your calf.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets per leg.

5. Wall Calf Stretch

This exercise can provide relief for a ruptured Achilles tendon. This stretch offers a deep stretch for the Achilles tendon and the muscles in your calves. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand arm’s length from a wall. Hands placed flat against it.
  • Step one leg back, your heel flat on the floor, and your front knee bent slightly.
  • Lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your back calf.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
  • Aim for 2-3 sets per leg.

Recovery and Rehabilitation for Existing Achilles Tendonitis

If you’re already experiencing tendonitis, these exercises can still be helpful in your recovery process. Still, it’s crucial to modify them based on your pain level and with the guidance of a healthcare professional. Here’s what to keep in mind:

In the initial stages, prioritize reducing inflammation and pain. Apply ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times daily. 

Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, can also help alleviate pain, but be sure to follow the dosage instructions carefully.

Start with low-impact exercises like walking in shallow water or cycling. Gradually reintroduce strengthening exercises like calf raises but with fewer repetitions and lighter weights. Eccentric calf raises are particularly beneficial during recovery.

Consulting an Achilles tendonitis treatment expert or physical therapist can be highly beneficial. They can develop a customized rehabilitation program to promote healing with specific stretches, strengthening exercises, and modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation.

Importance of Rest and Recovery

Remember, allowing your body adequate rest and recovery is vital for preventing and healing tendonitis. Here are some additional tips:

Consider incorporating active rest days into your routine where you engage in low-impact activities like walking or gentle stretching.

Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Sleep lets your body repair and rebuild tissues, promoting healing.

achilles tendonitis

Seek a Foot Doctor’s Help

Incorporating these exercise tips and listening to your body can significantly reduce your risk of tendonitis.

Are you suffering from Achilles tendonitis? Don’t risk further injury! Remember, prevention is always better than cure. 

Contact Foot & Ankle Centers today for a personalized treatment plan and get back on your feet pain-free. Call or visit our website to schedule an appointment!