HOW TO HELP TREAT ACHILLES PAIN – SOCKMINE X PHYSIO IN THE PARK
As much as it pains us to say it, the world doesn’t revolve around socks. We care about athletes performance and want you to get the best out of yourself. This means not only do we want to prevent blisters, but we want to help you prevent all sorts of injuries.
To achieve this, SockMine have collaborated with Madelaine Smith, Aka “Physio In The Park”, to help remedy some of the most common injuries in sport.
Madelaine has specialised in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy for over a decade now, working in the NHS and for a number of different sectors and companies. Coming from a sprinting back ground, Madelaine now trains and competes in triathlons across the country. In addition, Madeline is also the leading physiotherapist to the Bryan Steel Cycling Academy. It is fair to say, Madelaine knows what she is talking about!
To learn how to help rehabilitate your Achilles injury, read on or watch the video below featuring Madelaine.
ACHILLES TENDON PAIN
The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body and joins the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is capable of tolerating large forces providing that it is challenged through exercise regularly. It should be noted however that it can still become painful and rarely improves with rest.
Historically, Achilles pain was perceived to be the result of an over loading problem. This means it has either been worked excessively or put too greater demand on the tendon. However, current thinking suggests that Achilles pain is a result of an area not coping Clearly then the aim is to get the area resilient, confidently accepting load in a variety of situations once again, therefore addressing the cause not just the symptoms.
Pain in the Achilles tendon can be treated in a number of ways. By doing anything and everything, but mainly by being confident that the area is not going to come to harm and to progressively challenge it regularly. Ensure that the exercise is at a level that is acceptable but also strainful, still allowing high quality, normal movement.
A FEW EXERCISES TO TRY
Here are a few exercises that can help to strengthen the Achilles tendon. Make sure you fully warm up before attempting any of these exercises and know your limits! As long as you are challenging yourself at an acceptable level, don’t be concerned if you can only perform a few to begin with.
The Hack squat can be done in or out of the gym. During the exercise, a majority of the force goes through the Achilles helping to strengthen the tendon and is also great for building strength and condition to the both the quadriceps and the hamstrings.
There are various pieces of equipment available at a regular gym that can be adapted to use to perform the hack squat. For this example, we will use a kettle bell, however please note that this can be done apparatus such as the smith machine, cables, barbell.
- Stand up straight while holding a kettle bell behind you. Your heels should be an inch apart forming a 90 degree angle to each other.
- Whilst keeping your head and eyes up and back straight, raise up on to your toes and slowly squat as far as you feel able to go.
- As you go back up, press mainly with the heel of the foot and squeeze the thighs, remembering to breathe out as you do so.
- Perform 8-12 repetitions and rest and repeat. Increase/ decrease as needed.
SINGLE LEG RAISES
Again, just like the hack squat, single leg raises can be done inside or outside of the gym. Studies have shown this exercise to be one of the most effective exercises when strengthening the Achilles tendon.
Begin by standing on one foot on and raise up on to the toes.
- Slowly lower the heel down keeping the leg straight until the foot is parallel to the ground.
- Repeat this for 2 mins.
This is a more functional adaptation to the Single Leg Raises perform in the same way, but instead of doing them on the spot progress across the gym or room you are in by taking fairy steps and lowering down slowly as you go.
This is a fantastic exercise for loading of the Achilles as it dynamic and reactive for the tendon. Try double leg jump skipping to start then vary by progressing to single leg hop skips. Try for up to 2 mins at a time. It’s a great cardio work out too.
MULTI DIRECTIONAL HOPPING
You can either place 4 pieces of tape on the ground or just imagine them there and aim to hop on to each of them, without stopping. Try and vary the directions, eg, forward then right then left then backwards then right then forwards then right again then left then backwards, the more variation the better, you could even get a training partner or family member to shout out the directions they want you to move, this really helps with the reaction and loading of the tendon.
PHYSIO IN THE PARK
If you’re in the Nottinghamshire area and want a detailed assessment and diagnosis of your injury, you can email Madelaine at [email protected] or call on 01623 709710.