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6 Achilles Tendonitis Exercises for Pain Relief and Recovery

Achilles tendonitis, a common overuse injury among athletes and active individuals, can cause significant discomfort and hinder mobility. However, with the right exercises and treatment plan, managing Achilles tendonitis is possible. In this article, we’ll explore six effective Achilles tendonitis exercises recommended by podiatrists and experts to help alleviate pain, promote healing, and prevent future injuries.

1: Eccentric Calf Raises:

Eccentric calf raises are a staple in Achilles tendonitis rehabilitation programs. This exercise focuses on strengthening the calf muscles and improving tendon resilience. Here’s how to perform it:

    • Stand on a step or raised platform with your heels hanging off the edge.
    • Slowly lower your heels below the level of the step, feeling a stretch in your Achilles tendon.
    • Lift your heels back to the starting position using both legs, then repeat the movement with the affected leg only.
    • Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions, gradually increasing the load as tolerated.

    2: Towel Stretch:

    The towel stretch is an effective way to stretch the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon, promoting flexibility and reducing tightness. Follow these steps to perform the exercise:

      • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
      • Loop a towel around the ball of your foot, holding one end in each hand.
      • Gently pull the towel towards you, keeping your knee straight, until you feel a stretch in your calf and Achilles tendon.
      • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then release and repeat 2-3 times on each leg.

      3: Seated Calf Raises:

      Seated calf raises target the soleus muscle, which plays a crucial role in supporting the Achilles tendon. This exercise can be performed using a chair or a seated calf-raise machine:

        • Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor or on the machine platform.
        • Push through the balls of your feet to raise your heels as high as possible.
        • Lower your heels back down to the starting position, then repeat for 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.

        4: Standing Heel Drops:

        Standing heel drops are another effective eccentric exercise to strengthen the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. Here’s how to perform them:

          • Stand on a step or raised platform with your heels off the edge.
          • Rise up onto your tiptoes, then slowly lower one heel below the level of the step.
          • Use the unaffected leg to lift your heel back up, then repeat the movement with the affected leg.
          • Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each leg, gradually increasing the intensity over time.

          5: Single-Leg Balance Exercises:

          Improving balance and proprioception is essential for preventing recurrent Achilles tendon injuries. Single-leg balance exercises help enhance stability and strengthen the muscles around the ankle joint. Try incorporating these exercises into your routine:

            • Stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent, engaging your core for stability.
            • Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, focusing on maintaining proper posture and alignment.
            • Challenge yourself by closing your eyes or standing on an unstable surface like a foam pad or balance board.
            • Switch to the other leg and repeat the exercise for balance.

            6: Calf Raises with Resistance Band:

            Adding resistance band exercises to your Achilles tendonitis rehabilitation program can provide an extra challenge and enhance muscle activation. Here’s how to perform calf raises with a resistance band:

              • Secure one end of the resistance band around a sturdy object, such as a railing or pole.
              • Loop the other end of the band around the ball of your foot, holding onto the ends for stability.
              • Push through the ball of your foot to raise your heel against the resistance of the band.
              • Lower your heel back down to the starting position, then repeat for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each leg.


              Incorporating these six Achilles tendonitis exercises into your daily routine can help alleviate pain, improve flexibility, and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the ankle joint. However, it’s essential to consult with a podiatrist or healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you’re experiencing severe or persistent symptoms. By following a comprehensive treatment plan that includes targeted exercises, rest, and proper footwear, you can expedite your recovery and get back to your favorite activities with confidence.

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