Your Achilles tendon (also known as the heel cord or calcaneal tendon) is the biggest and most powerful tendon in your entire body. This important band of tissue joins the muscles in the calves to the tibia and the tibiofemoral joint in the knee. Damage to the heel cord usually results in excruciating pain whenever the leg is mobilized during a walk or run. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help you protect this crucial tendon from being damaged.
To be able to effectively prevent major tendon injuries, you need to understand what types of activities can lead to an injury and what the typical symptoms of an injured heel cord are. Listed below are some pointers to educate you on this painful condition and hopefully help you to avoid it.
Tendon Rigidity May Trigger Injuries
Lack of flexibility in the heel cord typically makes it hard to engage in activities that require heavy use of the leg muscles, mainly because of the limited mobility in the ankle joints. This restricts an athlete’s range of flexion when he or she is attempting to jog or sprint due to the muscle tightness in the ankle, which often results in overcompensation by the tendons to make up for the restricted mobility and is a common cause of tendon injuries. If you encounter muscle rigidity or any type of constriction in the legs, it is best to eliminate some of it by performing gradual and deliberate stretching motions prior to engaging in physical exercise to prevent heel cord injuries.
Overuse May Result in Tendinitis
Whenever professional athletes engage in high-intensity workouts for long periods of time, they run the risk of damaging their tendons and sustaining painful injuries. Doing intensive, continual exercises like running may lead to tiny tears in the tendon and eventually result in tendinitis. Sportsmen who modify and raise the impact of their workout routines to degrees they’re not physically conditioned for may also end up suffering heel cord traumas.
In order to prevent damage to the calcaneal tendon, an appropriate fitness routine needs to be adopted. Any modifications to this routine should be applied only after conferring with an experienced physical rehabilitation specialist. You can raise the impact of your exercise routine if it meets the approval of your PT, who knows just what level of workout intensity your body is prepared to handle.
Other Ways to Prevent Heel Cord Injuries
Avoiding a heel cord injury is simpler (and much less painful) than dealing with it once it’s been sustained. There are a number of low-impact exercises you can do that have been shown to be successful at protecting against Achilles tendon traumas. A few basic stretches of the calf muscles for about 15 to 20 seconds three times per day helps to keep the tendons straight and minimize tendon and/or muscle rigidity.
An additional method of preventing tendon injuries is to perform calf lifts, both while sitting down and while standing erect. This exercise increases the stability and strength of the heel cord, as well as the muscles in the calves. It is important to do both of these techniques – as they each have distinct effects on the tendons and leg muscles – to effectively prevent tendon damage.
Using the proper combo of self-exercises and coaching by a skilled physical rehabilitation specialist, it’s quite possible to make sure you never have to suffer a minute of Achilles tendon pain. For competitive athletes, it’s essential to start with quicker and less strenuous routines, which can then be slowly raised to higher-impact and longer-lasting routines.