by Wayne Gilmour, DPT
Everyone has heard the story of the 45 year-old man who goes out, plays with the young guns and blows out his Achilles. A weekend pick-up game can quickly turn into a year or more of recovery after an Achilles tear - with or without surgery. The following exercises will strengthen the calf muscles and load the Achilles tendon to reduce risk of injury. The concept with the Achilles tendon is the same as the Patellar tendon - progressive loading from lower level to plyometric.
2-1 Eccentric Heel Raises
This is performed on a box or step to increase range of motion. Stand with weight evenly distributed between feet and lightly hold onto the wall for balance. Raise heels up as far as possible. Hold weight on 1 leg while lifting up the other leg. Control downward, taking 3 seconds to return to starting position (eccentric phase.)
Single Leg Eccentric Heel Raises
Stand on 1 foot on step lightly holding onto the wall for balance. Raise heel up as far as possible. Control downward, taking 3 seconds to return to starting position.
Single Leg Plyometric Heel Raises
Stand on 1 foot on step lightly holding onto the wall for balance. Lift heel as quickly as possible while maintaining control.
Try these exercises out. If you notice any pain or inconsistency, please reach out to us for an appointment with a physical therapist.