THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PATIENTS MAKE TO FIX THEIR ACHILES PAIN
Have you had an achy Achilles and tried stretching the tendon in the hope of reducing pain without success? This short article explains why stretching the tendon will not fix your Achilles Tendon pain.
Recent research studies have taught us that stretching your Achilles tendon (and calf complex) does not give any long-term improvements for Achilles pain. In fact, usually when you stretch an irritated Achilles it just feels worse.
If your Achilles tendon is sore, unless you have ruptured or partial torn your Achilles, then you likely have an Achilles tendinopathy. This is where the Achilles tendon initially becomes inflamed and over time the tendon experiences chronic changes that results in the inability to absorb daily forces thus producing more pain. Tendinopathies don’t behave like a muscle strain, in fact, pain can become very sore when you are resting at the end of the day and last 3-6 months. Resulting in the inability to even do the small things in life like walking across the road without pain.
A common comment we hear from our clients is “my Achilles has got sore so I’ve just been trying to ‘stretch it out’”. Recent research studies show that the best way to get rid of your Achilles pain is to do a progressive strengthening-based programme lead by an experienced physiotherapist. This is because strengthening the Achilles helps improve the tendons ability to absorb your bodyweight in contrast to stretching the tendon which does not. The programme mostly focuses on building up the loading ability of your Calf and Achilles.
It is important that the physio sets the right exercises at the best time of your recovery. Doing exercises that put too much stress onto the tendon can actually make the tendon feel worse. It is important that you begin at the right level to avoid exacerbating your condition and to make sure you progress well through your programme. Therefore, having the best available support to monitor your recovery is crucial in treating Achilles tendon pain.
Your physio can help you address these issues and help work out how to get started with a strengthening programme and finally get that achy tendon sorted!