The Best Exercises For Runners With Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis can be a frustrating chronic calf and foot injury for many athletes. While determining the cause of the Achilles tendonitis is important from a biomechanical standpoint (as well as to prevent recurrence of the calf injury), it is also important to focus on rehab of the injured tendon. By the time most athletes get to their sports medicine doctor for this type of injury, its almost always a chronic injury, rather than a new or acute injury. The length of time an athlete has had Achilles tendonitis is important because it should change the treatment and rehabilitation approach to the tendon.
When a tendon is acutely injured, such as with an acute strain or sprain, there can be a significant amount of swelling and inflammation at the site. While some inflammation is helpful to the body’s healing process, too much inflammation can prolong the time to getting an athlete back to their sport.
When the injury lasts longer than 2 to 4 weeks, in most cases, the inflammatory process has subsided, and now the tendon has developed scar tissue which can also lead to pain. This process of scarring is called tendinosis, and is fundamentally different from the acute inflammatory process of tendinitis, and as a result, will not respond to continued use of anti-inflammatory medications and ice.
One type of exercise that has been found to be helpful for chronic Achilles tendinosis is eccentric stretching of the calf muscles. The eccentric stretching of the calf and the Achilles causes micro tears in the Achilles and localized inflammation that the body then recognizes as a possible new injury.
Here are a few videos of eccentric exercises for Achillis tendinosis