Achilles tendinopathy is a common overuse injury that is typically caused by excessive chronic stress and the overuse of the Achilles tendon, affecting a wide range of individuals. It is important not to confuse it with an Achilles tendon tear. A stiff or less flexible Achilles tendon can increase your risk of developing Achilles tendinopathy.
What is Achilles tendinopathy?
The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the calf muscles to your heel bone. When you place an excessive training load on the calf muscles or suddenly increase the intensity of your physical activity, your tendon might not be able to adapt to the sudden demand.
As a result, micro-tears may develop, causing your tendon to degenerate slowly and leading to the development of Achilles tendinopathy. The exact cause of Achilles tendinopathy remains unclear. While it was traditionally associated with sports activities in the past, it has been found that the injury most commonly occurs among less-active individuals.
The most significant cause is the sudden and excessive stress on the tendon. The fact is that light degeneration of our Achilles tendon is unavoidable and generally does not pose any significant issue. However, pain only surfaces when we overburden it.
How to recover from Achilles tendinopathy?
Strengthening your Achilles tendon is one way to prevent Achilles tendinopathy as well as accelerate tendon repair. In this article, we will take a look at two effective exercises that you can do at home to complement chiropractic care.
Exercise 1: Heel raises
This exercise helps accelerate tissue healing by incorporating agonist muscle strengthening and isometric contractions, two key tasks necessary for individuals with tendinopathy.
- Agonist strengthening: Heel raises activate both your flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis muscles, offloading stress on your Achilles tendon significantly and enabling faster recovery..
- Sustained isometric contraction: About 70% of your tendon is composed of water, leading to interesting behaviors during isometric muscle contractions. When your muscle contracts, the force generated squeezes water out of your tendon, triggering a response in specialized cells called tenocytes. This process helps promote and accelerate the healing of your tendon.
When raising your heel up, ensure that your big toe stays connected to the floor.
Exercise 2: Eccentric soleus stretching
While standing on top of a raised platform, shift your body weight onto the toes of your affected foot, keeping the other leg raised. Begin with slightly bent knees, then gradually lower your heels until they are below your toes. Finally, push your heels back up.
Repeat the same exercise, but this time keep your knees straight to maximize the activation of your soleus. Perform each of these two exercises at least 15 times for three sets. As you experience less pain in your tendon, consider carrying a backpack with added weights to increase your overall body weight.
The chiropractic solution to Achilles tendinopathy
The aforementioned exercises complement chiropractic care. Treatment approaches for this injury are typically non-pharmacological, and chiropractic care proves to be an effective solution.
Chiropractic care aids in the recovery of many injuries. Often, injuries to the Achilles tendon are caused by misalignment in other parts of the body. When your musculoskeletal system is misaligned, it can place unnecessary stress on your Achilles tendon and feet.
In order to reduce the build-up of stress in your joints, chiropractic care helps to realign your musculoskeletal to its optimal position and state. In fact, chiropractic care does more than just address your pains and aches. It can also help you with conditions unrelated to pain and aches too!
Chiropractic care encompasses a wide range of treatments, from lower back pain treatment to knee pain treatment. However, at the end of the day, the aim of chiropractic care is to provide non-evasive solutions to optimise your body.
At Healing Hands Chiropractic, we fully understand how debilitating chronic pain and aches can be. With a team of experienced chiropractors, we aim to help you lead a healthier and happier life through holistic and effective treatment. Contact us to make an appointment today and take the first step toward enjoying a pain-free life.