Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Achilles Injury Help

Aims of rehabilitation

* Decrease initial pain and inflammation.
* Improve flexibility.
* Improve the strength of the joint.
* Re-establish neural control and co-ordination.
* Return to full fitness.

Decreasing pain and swelling

* This is the first stage of treatment, which can last for anywhere from 3 days to several weeks, depending on the severity of your condition.
* Ice - apply for 15 minutes at least three times a day. Every two hours if possible for the first day.
* Identify the cause of the injury. Training too much too soon, training on hard surfaces, wearing the wrong shoes or shoes that are too old and not warming up are possible reasons for the injury occurring. Also, if you overpronate, the Achilles is twisted putting more strain on it.
* Rest - use crutches if needed. A good taping method is available which supports the tendon.
* Place a heel lift of about 1cm into both your shoes to help take the stress off the tendon. Do not leave it there for ever! If the calf muscles adaptively shorten, an increased strain will be placed on the achilles tendon in the future.
* Anti-inflammatory medication can be taken (under Doctors advice of course).
* Maintain fitness by non weight bearing exercise such as cycling if pain allows.

Improving flexibility

* Once you can perform daily activities pain-free, move on to this stage.
* Concentrate on improving the flexibility of the calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus). This will reduce the strain on the achilles tendon.
* Two stretches in particular are important, one with a straight leg for the Gastrocnemius muscle and one with the leg bent to target the Soleus muscle. Click here stretches.
* Stretching should be done regularly, three times a day initially and should be maintained long after the injury has healed to prevent the injury returning.
* Use sports massage techniques. This will help prevent adhesions forming within the tendon. These adhesions stop the tendon sliding smoothly in its sheath.
* Sports massage should also be used on the calf muscles themselves to aid in improving the flexibility and general condition of these muscles.


* The aim is to strengthen the calf muscles and the achilles tendon. It is important that you strengthen the tendon in the stretched position. See strengthening exercises.
* There has been a lot of research into strengthening exercises during the rehabilitation of achilles tendinitis. The current concept is based around eccentric conctractions. These are muscle contractions where the muscle lengthens to control a downward movement.
* Heel drops and raises are used in the rehabilitation of achilles tendonitis. Particular emphasis should be placed on the downward phase as this is the eccentric contraction.

Improving proprioception (neural co-ordination)

* It is possible that the neural control or co-ordination of the ankle has been affected, especially if the injury has been severe and required a sustained period of rest.
* Balancing on one leg is a good way of developing proprioception. This will help prevent spraining the ankle in future and is a good all round strengthening exercise for the ankle. Aim for 2 minutes without wobbling. To challenge the ankle even further, a wobble board can be used > Wobble board exercises.

Get back to Running -

I personally found that an ankle brace made by medi was my savior. I picked this up at a local Fleet Feet store after I tried it on. They told me it had a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and I had nothing to lose. I ran in the brace that night and I have to tell you it was amazing. Not only was my pain basically gone but I felt secure in the brace. The brace I have is called ACHIMED. You can go to medi's website and read about it here: www.mediusa.com

Under the Achimed I wear my CEP Compression Socks! These things are the best and the reason I started blogging. You can buy them at: www.sportscompression.com

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