Tight Achilles tendons are a particularly common foe, especially among those who reach middle age. As we get older, tendons weaken and become more susceptible to damage, and calves can get stressed and tight from walking around all day, or performing activities such as running and sports. Here in sunny Coachella Valley, where walking and leisure activities like golf and tennis are a part of the lifestyle, we see a lot of people in this kind of situation.
When your calves get tight, stretches that help relax the tendon and strengthen the neighboring muscles that support and protect it can help you relieve the pressure and prevent future injury. Here are some favorites:
- Toe stretches. Your toes are linked to your calves via the plantar fascia; a variety of toe stretches can therefore help with Achilles tendon pain. The simplest exercise is simply sitting in a chair, placing your heel on the floor, and gently pulling your big toe up and away from your ankle, holding for 15-30 seconds at a time.
- Calf/plantar fascia towel stretch. Sit on the floor with your legs extended, wrap a towel around the tops of your feet, grab the ends and pull gently towards yourself. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat 3-4 times.
- Traditional calf stretches. Face a wall, placing your hands on it for balance. Step backward with one leg and press your heel to the floor, feeling a stretch in the calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds, switch legs, and repeat.
There are plenty more great stretches to try, along with other therapies that may be effective, including orthotics and MLS laser treatment. If you’re struggling with a tight, painful Achilles, contact Harvey R. Danciger, DPM in Coachella Valley for an evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. You can request an appointment online, or by calling our Palm Desert office at 760-568-0108.