If you go by the legend then it does not matter how strong you are as long as you keep the heel exposed. According to the lore, Achilles was a warrior with enormous strength who was invincible as when he was a child his mother dipped him in a magical river that conferred him the strength. However, it happened that his mother had held the heel of the boy and dipped him depriving it (the heel) of the magical properties. This later proved fatal as Achilles was killed by an arrow shot at his heel. Thus, Achilles heel came to denote everything that shows its vulnerability. In humans, the Achilles heel is known as the Achilles tendon and it is a band of tissue that passes behind the ankle. Due to this, the tendon has a high risk of getting injured during running as a result of the enormous stress placed on the heel. That is why Achilles tendon injuries are very common among athletes. When the Achilles tendon gets injured then walking and other movements become very difficult. That is why to restore the heel to its proper strength requires exercises that also facilitate in the healing process. Even if you do not have an injury in the heel, these exercises will help you to strengthen the calf muscles, so that there is minimum risk of the tendon getting severely injured. To help you in this read the article given below for the various Achilles tendon exercises.
What Are The Achilles Tendon Exercises?
- Stand straight facing a wall keeping the feet shoulder width apart. The toes should be placed a few inches from the wall.
- Now bend the knees keeping the upper body straight and make the knees lightly touch the wall. You can also adjust the distance between the feet and the wall.
- Then return to the starting position and then bend the knees again. As the knees move towards the wall point them towards the left keeping the feet straight, pointing towards the wall.
- Again, return to the starting position and bend the knees while moving them to the right side. Return to the original position.
- This exercise is very effective in replicating the twisting forces that the Achilles and the calves experience during running. So, this exercise will fortify the heel in a straight as well as rotational plane.
- Repeat this exercise four to five times.
Balancing With Toes
- Face the wall and stand on the right foot. The distance between you and the wall should be about 30 inches. Keep the left leg straight and the foot off the ground in front of the body.
- Bend the right knee keeping the upper body vertical and place the weight over the right foot.
- While bending the right knee the left leg toes should be moved towards the wall until they touch. While doing so the left leg should be kept straight. Then return to the original position.
- Next keeping the left leg straight move the left foot forward towards the left trying to make contact with the wall. The left foot may not touch the wall as the movement is in a frontal and sagittal plane. Return to the starting position.
- Now move the left foot towards the right, trying to touch the wall. Then return to the starting position. Now do this exercise keeping the body weight on the left leg.
- Do this exercise for 4 to 6 repetitions.
Balancing With The Knee
- Stand at least an arm’s length from the wall and on your right foot. Flex the left leg at the knee and place the left shin parallel to the floor.
- To balance yourself place a finger of each hand on the wall. Keep the upper body erect.
- Now bring the left knee forward till it touches the wall while moving the upper body backwards so that the weight remains over the right foot. Return to the starting position.
- Now thrust the left knee forward moving it towards the left. Return to the original position and then move the knee towards the right. Return to the original position and then do this exercise for the left leg.
- Stand facing the wall at least an arm’s length away and then support the weight on the right foot with the right knee slightly flexed.
- Keep the hands on the wall for support and place the left leg in the swing phase like how you would run.
- Then rock forward towards the wall so that you experience a stretch in the right calf and Achilles tendon. Hold for 20 seconds.
- Now roll the right foot towards the inside and keep for 10 seconds. Then roll it towards the outside and hold for 10 seconds.
- Then lean towards the left and hold for 30 seconds. Now lean towards the right so that you cross the left leg over the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise for the left foot.