The Achilles tendon is named after the hero from Greek mythology who was invincible everywhere except for on their ankle. It stretches from the heel bone all of the way into the calf muscles.
This means that while Achilles’ heel can be a problem, a tight Achilles can also cause trouble in the calf. As the largest tendon in the body, ensuring your Achilles tendon is loose and able to stretch as much as it should, is vital to maintaining the health and movement of your lower legs. So what’s the best way to keep your achilles relaxed and loose?
Stretches for the Achilles tendon
The best way to stop yourself suffering from a tight achilles tendon is to carry out some light stretches at regular intervals. You don’t need to be suffering from a tight achilles tendon to carry these stretches out, you can just do them as part of your own regular exercise regime, possibly as part of a warm up before you embark on more strenuous activities.
The Achilles pull
The first stretch to help alleviate and prevent a tight achilles tendon is the achilles pull. Place the heel of your foot on the floor and then find a wall or something that is perpendicular to the floor to place the balls of your feet on. Once you’ve done this you just need to lean your body forwards until you feel a gentle pull.
The lunge is a great way to stretch out your achilles once you’ve already gently stretched it. In order to carry out a lunge stretch, you need to place one foot behind the other. About 5 inches should be enough. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to step forward with your front foot, all the time making sure that you keep your back leg straight. Ensure that both feet remain flat on the ground as you carry out this stretch. Swap feet and carry out the stretch again.
Single leg heel drop
Stand on a raised platform such as a step. Raise and bend one leg away from the ground. Position the balls of your feet on your standing leg near the edge of the step and keep this leg straight. Then in a slow controlled manner, raise this heel off the ground and slowly lower it down. Repeat a few times then do the same on your other leg.
Seated pull stretch
The final stretch to help keep a tight achilles tendon at bay is the sitting pull stretch. In order to carry out this stretch you need to sit down and have something to pull your foot back ready. A rolled up towel or an old shirt will be fine. Once you have sat down place your feet on the towel, or whatever you chose to use, grab both ends of the towel and gently pull towards yourself.
To find out about our insoles for Achilles tendonitis visit our injury advice page.