3 Achilles Stretches Runners Should Know

If you are a runner, proper and routine stretching of the lower extremities is essential, especially before a workout or a run. From ensuring healthy tendons to reducing the risk of a sprain, regular stretching of the Achilles tendon can have quite an impact. 

Achilles tendon pain is a common condition that can be caused by various factors, such as overuse, a sudden increase in physical activity, poor foot mechanics, or age-related degeneration. It is most commonly associated with Achilles tendinitis, which is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, or Achilles tendinopathy, which refers to degenerative changes in the tendon.

Tendon stretching exercises can help reduce the risk of ankle and foot injury and decreases muscle fatigue. The exercises also give you a greater range of motion and help to lubricate the connective tissue and joints.

However, which are the best Achilles tendon stretches you can try as a runner? Remember that if you don’t stretch properly, you can easily develop tendonitis. In some extreme cases, the tendon could tear.

To help alleviate Achilles tendon pain, several stretches can be done, including:

Calf Stretches

Calf stretches are a crucial component of any exercise program that focuses on strengthening and improving flexibility in the lower leg muscles. These stretches can help alleviate Achilles tendon pain and improve overall lower body mobility.

These stretches focus on the heel and calf muscles, two of the main muscles attached to your Achilles tendon. Keeping these muscles strong reduces stress on your Achilles tendon and prevents future problems. More significantly, it will help keep your Achilles tendon stronger.

Remember that the calf muscles are responsible for forward and upward propulsion during running. Keeping these muscles healthy and engaged will help maximize performance, especially if you are a runner.

Seated Heel Raises: Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your heels as high as possible while keeping your toes on the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your heels slowly back down. Repeat for several repetitions.

Standing Heel Raises: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall for support. Rise up on your toes as high as possible, then slowly lower your heels back down. Repeat for several repetitions.

Resistance Band Calf Exercise: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Wrap a resistance band around the ball of your foot and hold the ends of the band. Point your toes away from your body to stretch your calf muscles. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat for several repetitions.

It is important to note that when performing these stretches, it is important to listen to your body and avoid any pain or discomfort. Start with a low number of repetitions and gradually increase the number over time.

Man performing the runner's stretch to an Achilles stretch

Runners Stretch

The runner’s stretch is a great way to stretch your calf muscles, hamstrings, and glutes, and it can help improve your overall flexibility and range of motion. It is particularly useful for runners, athletes, or anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, as it can help prevent injury and reduce muscle tightness.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step forward with one foot and bend your knee, keeping the other leg straight. Lean forward, stretching the calf muscle of the straight leg. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

While performing the runner’s stretch, it’s important to keep your back straight and your core engaged. This will help you maintain proper form and prevent any strain or injury to your back or neck. Additionally, avoid bouncing or jerking movements, as this can cause muscle tears or other injuries.

If you find that the runner’s stretch is too intense, try taking a smaller step forward, or simply bending your front knee slightly. You can also modify the stretch by placing your hands on your hips or a chair for extra support. As with any stretching exercise, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too far.

Toe-to-Wall Stretch

The toe-to-wall stretch is an effective way to stretch the calf muscles, which can help alleviate Achilles tendon pain. When performed correctly, this stretch can also help improve flexibility and mobility in the ankle joint, as well as improve overall balance and stability.

Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall for support. Place one foot about a foot’s length away from the wall and keep the heel on the ground. Lean forward, bending the knee of the front leg, and keeping the back leg straight.

After holding the stretch for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat on the other side. You can perform several repetitions of this stretch on each leg, gradually increasing the duration of the hold or the distance between your foot and the wall as your flexibility improves.

As with any stretching or exercise routine, it is important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard. If you experience pain or discomfort during the toe-to-wall stretch, stop immediately and consult with our offices for further evaluation and treatment.

Contact Us for Achilles Tendon Pain

If you are experiencing Achilles tendon pain and are seeking professional help, Premier Podiatry & Orthopedics is a great resource to turn to. Our team of experienced podiatrists and orthopedic specialists can help evaluate and treat your condition, as well as provide personalized guidance and recommendations to help you get back to your daily activities.

In addition to treating Achilles tendon pain, Premier Podiatry & Orthopedics also offers a wide range of services for foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, and other orthopedic issues. We are committed to providing high-quality care and individualized treatment plans to help their patients achieve optimal health and wellness.

Don’t let Achilles tendon pain hold you back. Contact Premier Podiatry & Orthopedics today to schedule an appointment and start on the path to recovery.

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