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We all know how important it is to exercise and strengthen our body, but there are some cases that because we overdo a certain exercise, this now leads to an injury that hinders us from achieving a certain physical goal like losing weight or strengthening that particular area of our body. One of that common conditions is called Achilles Tendonitis. Simply defined as an inflammation of the tendon, patients with this condition would usually have the following symptoms:

  • Pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon especially in the morning

  • Pain along the tendon or back of the heel that worsens with activity

  • Severe pain the day after exercising

  • Thickening of the tendon

  • Bone spur (particularly for insertional tendonitis)

  • Swelling is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity

Achilles tendonitis is a common condition that occurs when the large tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed. Now, Achilles tendonitis is not related to a specific injury rather, these common causes are the culprit to this condition, which includes:

  • A sudden increase in the amount or intensity of your exercise activity—for example, increasing the distance you run every day without giving your body a chance to adjust to the new distance

  • Tight calf muscles, which means you suddenly start an aggressive exercise program can put extra stress on the Achilles tendon.

  • Bone spur—Extra bone growth where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone can rub against the tendon and cause pain

Physicians and Physical Therapists say that if you have experienced a sudden "pop" in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon. This is an emergency since the pain can be intolerable so you must see your doctor immediately if you think you may have torn your tendon.

Fortunately, aside from medications, you can also rely on Physical Therapy to see a much better recovery. A very good reminder is that all exercise or rehab program should be done without pain. So, here are some stretching exercises that you can do to alleviate and somehow manage your Achilles Tendonitis.

  1. Calf Stretch

  • Stand at arm's length from a wall or a sturdy piece of exercise equipment.

  • Put your palms flat against the wall or hold on to a chair

  • Keep one leg back with your knee straight and your heel flat on the floor.

  • Slowly bend your elbows and front knee and move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your calf.

  • Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.

  • Switch leg positions and repeat with your other leg.

  1. Ankle Plantar Flexion

This is one of the most important exercises that your Physical Therapist will recommend. Combining plantar flexion with its opposite move is a natural way to improve foot and ankle flexibility.

  • Sit on a bed or on the floor with your legs straight.

  • Flex your right foot toward you, pushing the heel away and the toes forward to create dorsiflexion. Hold for 5 seconds.

  • Reverse the move, pointing your toes to create plantar flexion. Hold for 5 seconds.

  • Repeat at least 5 times. Do the same with the other leg.

  1. Toe Raises

This exercise targets your calf muscles, particularly the larger muscle that’s responsible for the shape and size of your calves.

  • Start by standing on the edge of a step

  • Stand straight with your abdominals pulled in, make sure the balls of your feet are firmly planted on the step and your heels are hanging over the edge

  • Rest your hands against a wall or a chair for balance

  • Next, raise your heels a few inches above the edge of the step so you’re on your tiptoes

  • Hold that position for a few seconds (30 seconds) and lower your heels below the platform, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles.

If you’ll do your own research, you’ll see that there are so many other exercises related to handling Achilles Tendonitis. But take note that you still need your PT since not all exercises might be the best one for you, it would still depend on your individual evaluation.

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