The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the human body, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. It’s essential for activities that involve running, jumping, or even standing on your tiptoes. A strong Achilles tendon can help prevent injuries such as achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis. Here, we’ll provide you with tips on how to toughen up your Achilles tendon so that you can perform these activities with ease.
What Causes Weakness in The Achilles Tendon?
There are several factors that cause weakness in the Achilles tendon:
- Age: As we age, our tendons become less flexible and more prone to injury.
- Overuse: Repeated stress caused by physical activity without adequate rest and recovery time.
- Poor biomechanics: Incorrect posture while walking, running, jumping or exercising can place extra strain on our ankles and feet leading to injury.
Signs of an Injured Achilles Tendon
When it comes to injuries of the Achilles tendon, prevention is always better than cure. However, if you experience any of these symptoms below let a medical professional determine how severe your injury may be;
- Pain along the back of your ankle
- Limited range of motion when flexing your foot
- Clicking or popping sound near heel during movement
Now it’s time to explore some ways of toughening up those tensed tendons!
Exercises That Strengthen The Ankle Muscles
There are several exercises one can do from home that could strengthen their ankle muscles which also helps strengthen their achilles;
1) Calf Raises
One effective way to work out both calves simultaneously would be through Calf raises. You could use body weight or grab something weighted like water jugs from around your house if you feel the standard version is too easy.
- Begin by standing with your feet shoulders-width apart and near a wall to balance.
- Position only the ball of your foot on an elevated surface like using the edge of a step or book, leaving your heel unsupported in mid-air.
- Rise onto your toes, hold for about 5 seconds then slowly lower yourself back down until your heel is below ball of foot.
Repeat this exercise 10 times then switch legs so that both calves get equal development.
2) Towel Scrunches
Doing towel scrunches can strengthen not just your ankle muscles but also improve range motion and bring stability to the ankle joint which helps prevent injury.
- Start seated on a chair with bare foot resting on top of an open small towel.
- With toes spread apart scrunch up towel by squeezing it toward you; even better: use only one toe at time try to create folds with
3. Ensure proper technique by keeping heel planted while performing movement .
4. Release pressure once completely scrunched than repeat for 10 reps ranging between three sets per day for added efficiency.
Stretching exercises are crucial when it comes to strengthening tendons especially Achilles tendon because they ensure that our tissues remain supple and flexible enough despite any stress placed upon them here are some favorite stretches:
1) Straight Knee Wall/Stairway Stretch
This stretch aims to place emphasis directly on flexibilty of calf muscles in particular Soleus Muscle, which resides deeper underneath larger gastrocnemius muscle. It requires an empty doorway where you stand close up against wall pressing one leg behind two hip leaning forward . Doing this will assist in preventing shin splints while assisting flexibility overall within inner compartmentalization of the calf muscles.
2) Downward Dog Pose
Downward dog pose is ideal for those looking to improve flexibility within hamstrings and hips but it also involves Achilles tendon.
- Begin on your hands and knees, creating a tabletop position with your spine.
- Press into your palms, lift up onto the balls of your feet, sending your hips high up toward the ceiling
- Try to get soles of both feet fully planted as you bend knees just slightly
- Inhale deeply then exhale lowering heels down.
3) Seated Calf Stretch
To perform this stretch properly its recommended try using furniture such as chairs instead of walls or stairs.
- Seat yourself on an even chair then slide one leg out front with going on tiptoes other one kept unchanged directly beneath chair.
- Place towel around ball foot pulling towards torso until comfortable resistance felt.
- Sit there relaxing while holding tension for about 30 seconds per side.
How To Further Protect Your Achillis Tendon From Injury?
To further guarantee fewer injuries related achilis tendons practice some additional measures:
Wearing have appropriate footwear when engaging exercise routine especially during higher impact activities such as basketball games etc. , The shoes should always be supportive enough withstand any sudden change direction encountered during game-like situations or sports.
Do not excessively increase activity intensity; Always listen diligently to signals sent by body if it gets fatigued, exhausted, outright hurting shut it down immediately take time recover.
Q&A Section For Further Information
Q: Can I still work out my legs if I am recovering from Achilles tendon injury?
A: Yes! While certain exercises might not be suitable under these circumstances consult medical professional or physical therapist whom will guide activities beneficial under specific circumstances/treatment plans.
Q: What are common mistakes that could cause Achilles Tendinitis?
A: Wearing ill fitting footwear; sudden increase in activity intensity without gradually easing into it; or remaining stationary for extended periods of time with your feet unsupported.
Q: How long does it take for an Achilles tendon to heal?
A: Depending on severity of injury and course of treatment selected individual healing times will vary greatly so always seek the opinion of medical professionals.
By following these recommended tips:
– doing regular exercises that target calf muscles and ankle tendons.
– stretching before and after working out.
– taking extra precautions like properly fitted shoes.
You can effectively strengthen, thus preventing possible injuries from occurring throughout your day-to-day activities! In most cases, issues involving overuse are usually preventable provided exercise program is approached intelligently through planned implementation – but still there’s no guarantee even elite athletes suffer musculoskeletal issues more than publicly disclosed ones like Kevin Durant recurrences.
Stay persistent yet patient with results since positive changes may occur overtime rather than sudden leaps forward once adaptations have occurred actual progress begins by discovering what truly works best given individual circumstances which might not be same as anyone else walking planet earth!
Always remember this adage–“Your body is capable creativity just focus harnessing full potential. “