The muscles of the calf and Achilles tendon are crucial for walking and running. These two muscle groups work together to enable us to take small steps. The Achilles tendon is a thick band of connective tissue that connects the muscles of the calf to the heel bone. When we walk, run, and climb, the muscles in our legs work together to move our feet toward the target. Our heel hits the ground, and the calf muscles flex or bend, the ankle.
The Achilles tendon plays a role in both these movements. If we over train or misuse our muscles, they can become overstretched or stressed. This can lead to minor injuries like a pulled calf muscle or tendon. Achilles tendonitis is a common overuse injury that occurs when the tendon becomes strained or torn. It’s usually caused by excessive stress or trauma to the tendon. The injury usually affects one of the two tendons that connect the heel bone to the calf muscles.
Recovery exercises for Achilles tendon injury should focus on strengthening the muscles and tendons around the affected tendon. The sooner you start strengthening these areas, the sooner you can recover and resume normal activities. In this article, we’ll discuss the simple and easy exercises you can perform to recover from an Achilles tendon injury.
What Is the Achilles Tendon?
The Achilles tendon is a thick band of connective tissue in the back of the leg that connects the calf muscles to the heel. It serves as a connection for the two major calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus, which propel us forward when we walk and run. The Achilles tendon also provides support for our weight, so that we can walk around without stepping on our heels.
The Achilles tendon is the thickest and longest tendon in the human body. It helps to connect muscles in the calf with the heel bone, or calcaneus. The Achilles tendon is also responsible for helping us to walk and run. When we walk, our calf muscles work together with the Achilles tendon to flex our ankle and hit the ground with our heel. This action is called dorsiflexion.
The other movement that relies on the Achilles tendon is plantar flexion. This occurs when we push off from a standing position to take a step forward. The Achilles tendon can be injured by excessive use or misuse of these muscles and tendons. These can range from minor injuries like an overstretched or pulled calf muscle or posterior tibialis muscle, which are both common causes of irritation in the back of your lower leg and foot, to more serious injuries like severe damage to your Achilles tendon itself (tendonitis).
Does Exercise Help Achilles Tendonitis?
Exercise is an important part of recovering from an Achilles tendon injury. These exercises should focus on strengthening the muscles around the injured area, specifically the calf muscles and quadriceps in your thigh.
Exercise is usually a crucial component of Achilles tendonitis rehabilitation. However, there are different types of exercises that you can do to recover from Achilles tendonitis, so it’s important to understand how they all work. Stretch and range of motion (ROM) exercises are often the first type of exercise that patients are asked to do. These exercises help increase the mobility of your tendons and muscles by stretching them out and getting them back into their normal range of movement. They also strengthen the muscles around the affected area to help protect it in the future.
To help prevent future injuries, you should also stretch your hamstrings and perform exercises for your feet and ankles. The goal is to strengthen the muscle groups that support your foot so that they don't weaken from lack of use.
You can start by performing simple ankle movements to get the blood flowing back into your foot. The first thing you should do is walk on a flat surface with either a walker or cane until you feel better.
Next, perform these exercises:
1. Cross one leg over the other while seated on a chair. Bend both knees then straighten them out again in a rapid motion for 10 seconds; repeat 3 times.
2. Place your hands on top of each other in front of you and push them away from each other as hard as possible then bring them back together; repeat 3 times.
3. Pretend there's a pencil under one foot - slowly raise up onto toes while bending knee then lower heel back down slowly while avoiding arching feet; repeat 5 times.
How Do You Strengthen Your Achilles?
The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the calf muscles. To strengthen the Achilles, you need to work on strengthening the calf and ankle muscles. You can do this by doing simple exercises at homes such as calf raises, ankle circles, and side-to-side ankle walks.
Calf raises are a straightforward exercise that involves standing on your toes. Be sure to keep your weight back and don’t overdo it with your heel! You should feel these in the back of your leg and not in your calf. Another way to do a calf raise is by standing on an object or ledge (something about six inches high) which will make the exercise more challenging for you.
Ankle circles involve moving your foot in a circular motion, clockwise and counterclockwise, without bending your knee or changing where you stand on your feet. Circling your ankles will help prevent stiffness in this area while also strengthening it.
Side-to-side ankle walks consist of walking sideways while keeping one foot raised off of the ground. It sounds simple but can be tough on your body if done too fast or too often! This exercise strengthens all four corners of the quadriceps muscle which is important for keeping the stability of our knees when walking or running.
Another great exercise for recovery from Achilles tendonitis is swimming which provides low impact support for sore muscles while still allowing you to strengthen them through movement. It's important to be cautious about what activities you return to following injury as
Best Recovery Exercises for Achilles Tendon
The best recovery exercises for Achilles tendon injury are those that strengthen the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. If you’ve been diagnosed with an Achilles tendon injury, speak to your doctor or physical therapist about what rehabilitation exercises might work best for your injury. General rehab exercises include avoiding activities that put too much stress on the injured area while strengthening other parts of the body. If you’re recovering from a minor injury like a pulled muscle, these exercises will help you recover quickly:
One way to strengthen the calf muscles is by stair climbing. You can start your rehabilitation process by walking up and down stairs slowly. Then, you can work on increasing the speed of your steps. If you’re trying to recover from an Achilles tendon injury, be sure to use both feet when climbing. To get started with these exercises, find a set of stairs that has at least 12 steps. Short sets of stairs or flights at ground level will not be as helpful in your recovery process. Climb up and down the stairs 10 times with each foot (or 20 times if you want to do it twice). This simple exercise strengthens the muscles in your calf and Achilles tendon and helps improve your balance as well.
Walking is an excellent exercise to strengthen the muscles around the Achilles tendon. It will also help you maintain a healthy weight. Start by walking with no shoes on, and then wear socks to protect your feet. From there, you can continue to increase your distance over time until you’re able to walk for 30 minutes straight without experiencing pain. You can also use exercise bands for walking or therapy balls for balance exercises. With either of these tools, you should perform 10 sets of 10 repetitions each day. You can do this in addition to walking or instead of walking if your doctor approves it. You should also stretch your calf muscles and have a partner push on your heel for calf stretches.
The goal is to stretch the Achilles tendon and relieve some of the pressure that might be building up around it from running or training too much. Remember, if you experience pain during any of these exercises, stop immediately and consult with a doctor before continuing!
Walking may seem like an easy exercise to perform but is an important one for Achilles tendonitis. Walking helps to loosen up your ankle so it can move more freely. You should also focus on walking heel-to-toe as opposed to rolling your foot from the ball of your foot to your heel when you walk. This will help you maintain a strong connection between the muscles in your calves and the Achilles tendon.
Simple Swing Exercises
You can start by performing simple swing exercises. In a seated position, use your arms to swing one leg back and forth in front of you. You should feel the muscles in your calf contract with each swing.
The following are some of the simple swing exercises for Achilles tendon injuries:
- Swing the foot back and forth in a pendulum motion.
- Stand on one leg, then bend the knee and swing the other leg forward as far as possible.
- Balance on one leg while holding onto a chair with one hand.
- Stand on a step or curb with your toes resting on the edge and your heel hanging off.
- Wiggle your toes up and down to massage the calf muscles.
As you get stronger, you can stand up and swing both legs together. This exercise will help you regain your range of motion by moving the Achilles tendon through its entire range of motion.
One of the easiest ways to start with your rehabilitation exercises is with yoga. Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your muscles, as well as improve balance. Yoga can help you recover from an Achilles tendon injury by improving flexibility and preventing injury in the future. Yoga poses that are especially helpful for Achilles injuries include boat pose, seated forward bend, and warrior pose.
One of the most popular exercises for Achilles tendonitis is jumping jacks. It’s an exercise you can do to strengthen the muscles and tendons around your Achilles tendon.
To do this exercise, stand with both feet together and extend your arms out to your sides at shoulder height. Jump up so that you’re in a full jump position, with both feet off the ground. Squat down about halfway before jumping back into the starting position. Repeat this exercise for 20-30 reps, 3-4 times per day. This exercise will help you strengthen the calf muscles and Achilles tendon while also increasing blood flow to those areas.
Can You Run After Achilles Tendon Surgery?
If you have Achilles tendon surgery, you may want to start running again soon. However, your surgeon may advise that you wait before resuming high-impact activities like running or jumping. You’ll need to take it slow during the recovery process. The best recovery exercises for Achilles tendon should be varied so that they don’t put too much strain on the injured tendon. You should also stick to lower-impact activities while avoiding high-impact activities, like running and jumping, until your doctor gives the go-ahead. Even if your doctor clears you for all physical activity, keep in mind that it takes months for an Achilles tendon to fully heal after surgery.
Running after Achilles tendon surgery is possible and can help you recover faster. Some doctors will advise against running after surgery, especially if the injury was severe. If you’re told to avoid it, focus on exercises that don’t put pressure on your foot and calf muscles. These include cycling, swimming, and even walking. Limiting weight-bearing activities will help protect your tendons from further stress and aid in healing.
Does Walking Strengthen Achilles Tendon?
Walking is an excellent exercise for strengthening your calf and Achilles tendon. When you walk, your calf muscles contract to push your heel up toward your toes. This provides a stimulus for the muscle and tendon around the Achilles tendon to get stronger. The amount of force you can generate when walking depends on how much weight you carry on one foot and how tall you are. As a result, it’s best to start with 15 minutes of slow-paced walking each day, gradually increasing the intensity as your strength improves.
Achilles Strengthening Exercises for Runners
If you’ve been experiencing pain, you should avoid running until you’re feeling better. To start the recovery process, it’s important to do a series of strengthening exercises for your Achilles tendon. These exercises will help prevent future injuries and ensure that your Achilles tendon is fully healed. When running, our Achilles tendons stretch and contract with every step. In other words, they are constantly being put under stress. Strengthening the calf muscles helps prevent injury because it provides more padding for the Achilles tendon. Strengthening these muscles also increases their ability to store energy and thus speeds up recovery from an overuse injury.
There are some specific strengthening exercises that runners can do to protect themselves from Achilles tendon injuries.
- Single leg calf lift - Stand on one foot and lift the other leg so that your toes are touching the ground. Lift your heel off the ground, bend your knee, and lower your heel again while keeping your toes on the ground. Do this 10 times on each side.
- Wall slides - Place your hands on a wall and step back a few feet from it so you feel the tension in the calf muscles. Keeping your legs straight, slowly slide down the wall as far as you can go without bending at the hips or knees until you feel a stretch in the calves or Achilles tendon (without pain). Return to standing by sliding up the wall. Do this exercise for 5-10 repetitions.
- Band walks - Tighten an elastic band around both of your ankles and take two steps forward with one leg. Return to starting position by stepping backward with one leg and then taking two steps back with both legs together. Step forward again with one leg, then return to starting position by stepping backward with that same leg. Repeat 20 times on each side.
How Can You Heal Your Achilles Tendon Naturally?
If you’re experiencing Achilles tendon pain, the first thing to do is assess the severity of your injury. If it seems like a minor strain, it might be possible to heal naturally. However, if it feels as though there is something more serious going on, like an Achilles tendon tear or ruptures of the tendon, it’s best to seek medical attention.
Your doctor will be able to help you identify what type of injury you have and recommend an appropriate rehabilitation program for healing.
The key to recovering from this injury is to strengthen and protect the affected area. This can be done through targeted exercises that focus on strengthening your calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Exercises should also focus on flexibility, which will help your injury heal faster and better.
There are a number of ways you can heal your Achilles tendon naturally. One way is by using the heel drop exercise. To do this, stand up straight and bring one foot off the floor. Slowly lower your heel down toward the ground as far as you comfortably can. Then, raise your heel back up to its starting position. Repeat this movement 10-15 times for each leg.
You can also try doing calf raises with a chair or bench. Stand about two feet in front of a chair or bench and place both hands on it for balance. Slowly rise up onto your toes so that only the ball of your foot touches the ground and then lower yourself back down to the ground in a slow, controlled manner. Repeat this 10-15 times for each leg before resting and moving onto another recovery exercise!
In addition, it is also important to consider the best massage gun for tendonitis.