The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body, but also the most susceptible to injury. In this article we at Atlantic Foot & Ankle Specialists emphasize the importance of Achilles injury prevention, particularly for athletes and individuals who engage in high-impact activities.

Gradually Train

One of the most common causes of Achilles tendon injuries is sudden increases in training intensity or volume. This rapid overload can overwhelm the tendon, leading to micro-tears and inflammation.

By following the “10% Rule,” you can gradually increase your training intensity, distance, or duration by 10% each week. This allows your Achilles tendon to adapt to the workload and build resilience.

You can also strengthen your calves by regularly performing lower leg resistance training, such as calf raises. Because stronger calf muscles absorb impact and reduce stress on the tendon, these exercises can significantly enhance its resilience.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Proper warm-up and cool-down routines help stimulate the tendon so it’s ready for action.

  • Dynamic Warm-Up: Engage in activities that elevate your heart rate and prepare your muscles for movement. This may include lunges, leg swings, and high knees.
  • Targeted Stretching: Once your muscles are warm, incorporate static stretches that target your calves and Achilles tendon. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat several times.
  • Post-Exercise: After your workout, dedicate time for static stretches to promote flexibility and reduce muscle soreness in your calves.

Choose The Right Fit

The shoes you wear play a significant role in Achilles tendon health.

A supportive arch helps distribute pressure evenly across the foot, which prevents excessive strain on the Achilles tendon. Additionally, well-cushioned shoes absorb impact during sports like basketball and track.

Shoes that are too tight can irritate the Achilles tendon, while loose shoes can lead to instability and increase the risk of injury. Ensure your shoes fit comfortably and provide adequate support for your heel.

Now that you know a little about the Achilles tendon, consult with a podiatrist for a prevention strategy tailor-made to your lifestyle.

Melissa Robitaille, DPMTodd Newsom, DPM, and our dedicated staff are at your service for all your foot care needs. Contact our office in Chatham County at (912) 988-3323 to schedule an appointment today!

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