Achilles tendonitis is a condition that results in pain and inflammation in the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon that connects your calf muscle to your heel bone.
Achilles tendonitis often affects runners and other athletes who put repetitive stress on their feet and legs. However, it can also occur in people who are not active and who have tight calf muscles. Treatment for Achilles tendonitis typically includes a combination of rest, ice, and stretching exercises.
The following stretches can help relieve pain and improve flexibility in the Achilles tendon.
Heel Cord Stretch
To do this stretch, stand with your affected leg behind your healthy leg. Bend your healthy leg forward and lean against a wall or railing for support. Keeping your back straight and your heel on the ground, lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat 2-3 times with each leg.
Calf Raise Stretch
This stretch can be done anywhere, even while you are standing in line at the grocery store! Start by standing on your affected leg with your toes pointing forward and your heel off the ground. Slowly raise up onto your toes as far as you can, hold for 2 seconds, and then slowly lower back down again. Repeat 10-15 times with each leg. You should feel a mild stretch in your calf muscle with each repetition.
Heel Drop Stretch
For this stretch, you will need an elevated surface like a step or curb. Start by standing on the edge of the raised surface with the balls of both feet hanging off the edge. Slowly lower your heels down below the level of the raised surface until you feel a stretch in your calf muscles, hold for 30 seconds, then raise back up again. Repeat 3 times with each leg.
These simple stretches can help relieve pain from Achilles tendonitis and improve flexibility in the Achilles tendon. Remember to start slowly and increase the number of repetitions as tolerated. As always, if you experience any pain during these exercises, stop immediately and consult your doctor or physical therapist.
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