Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

What's a good way to get over a strained Achilles' tendon? I've tried stretching it but that doesn't seem to be enough.

Answer:

Many studies have confirmed that eccentric training is the way to go when trying to rehab an Achilles' tendon injury. Eccentric training is a way to mechanically load the calf muscle resulting in active lengthening of the muscle and tendon.

To do this, stand on a stair step as if going up the stairs. Place your weight on the leg you want to exercise. Your weight should be on the ball of the foot. Lower the heel below the level of the forefoot. Do this in a slow, controlled way. Go to the point of maximum stretch on the calf muscles.

Move the heel down in six seconds. Then use the other leg to return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 15 times. Do three sets of these 15 repetitions. Rest at least 20 seconds between each set of 15.

It usually takes six weeks for full recovery of the tendon. Some people continue to carry out this program to prevent reinjury. There's no proof yet that eccentric heel drop exercises prevent injuries but it is possible. Future studies may shed some light on the merit of this training for injury prevention. Nele Nathalie Mahieu, PhD, et al. Effect of Eccentric Training on the Plantar Flexor Muscle-Tendon Tissue Properties. In Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. January 2008. Vol. 40. No. 1. Pp. 117-123.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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