The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body. Nevertheless, it is a structure that can often cause pain and then requires medical attention. Stretching exercises can help to alleviate the symptoms, depending on the cause of the pain.
Shortening, which occurs in the Achilles tendon and the neighbouring muscles, is a common problem for many people, but it is particularly common in long-distance runners and other competitive athletes. But other illnesses or rehabilitation after an operation can also speak in favour of stretching the Achilles tendon more often. In order to prevent these pathological changes as well as to accelerate and support the healing after an operation, stretching exercises that are easy to perform are recommended.
However, in the case of serious illnesses and post-operative treatment, the exercises should always be carried out in consultation with the attending physician and physiotherapist so that damage can be avoided. There are different methods of stretching the Achilles tendon. A well-known method is the simple lunge, in which a foot is placed a long step forward while the rear foot remains completely on the ground.
This stretches the Achilles tendon of the rear foot. A slight rocking during the execution can additionally improve the stretching exercise. Another method can be performed with the help of stairs.
This allows the person concerned to stand halfway up a staircase with both feet and move the heels alternately up and down. In between, the person should remain in one position for about 20-30 seconds. In order not to lose stability, it is advisable to hold on well to the railing or the wall.
The timing of the stretching exercises depends on the complaints and the reasons for doing the exercises. Since stretching exercises are not the solution to all forms of Achilles tendon complaints, it is advisable to consult a doctor who can determine these reasons and possibly give tips for further action. For complaints that can be traced back to a shortening of the Achilles tendon, stretching exercises of 30 seconds in length should be performed several times a day.
Stretching exercises of the Achilles tendon can also be helpful after an operation. However, this is only recommended after approx. 10-12 weeks after an operation, so that the tendon is not damaged by the exercises. In any case, consultation with the treating physician must be observed. Stretching exercises can also help to alleviate chronic irritation of the Achilles tendon, as is often the case with athletes.
Different symptoms can occur, which can make stretching of the Achilles tendon necessary. Particularly long-distance runners are affected by irritation and shortening of the Achilles tendon, which can be reduced and prevented by regularly performing the stretching exercises. It should be noted, however, that stretching exercises cannot be the only measure.
Especially a change of the training is necessary in these cases to achieve a significant improvement. Pain, which always occurs during running when the Achilles tendon is stretched, indicates the presence of irritation of the Achilles tendon or a shortening of the muscles and tendon on the affected leg. The pain can be perceived rather dull and diffuse.
Thus the Achilles tendon cannot always be clearly interpreted as the cause. Also a noticeable hardening of the muscles of the calf speaks for such a problem. Another frequent symptom is a strong pain, which occurs when mechanical pressure is applied to the tendon.
Even the touching of the tendon with the hand can be felt as painful. If the disease is more advanced, scarring can lead to limited motor mobility of the ankle joint. The most common cause leading to pain in the Achilles tendon, which makes it necessary to stretch the tendon, is irritation of the Achilles tendon and shortening of the tendon and calf muscles.
Especially competitive athletes and long-distance runners are more suspected of this problem with corresponding symptoms. In general, the clinical picture can be in an acute and a chronic condition. In both cases the stretching of the tendon can prove to be useful.
An operation can also be an indication to do stretching exercises of the Achilles tendon. Performing these exercises serves to maintain the mobility of the tendon after the operation. It is important, however, not to start stretching too early in these cases in order not to limit the healing of the tendon or to provoke a tendon tear.
Stretching of the Achilles tendon is not only useful in acute complaints. Stretching the tendon can be useful as a prophylaxis before the occurrence of irritation and shortening of the structure. Stretching exercises can effectively prevent irritation, especially for people who practice intensive sports that place a massive load on the Achilles tendon. Stretching the tendon is also well suited after surgery to maintain the mobility of the structures. Stretching of the Achilles tendon after an operation is not recommended, however, before a 10-12 week period of protection of the tendon has elapsed, which should serve the healing process.