Rehabilitation Exercises for an Achilles Tendon Rupture

 

The Achilles tendon is attached to the heel and the back of the calf. Intense physical activity may cause trauma to the tendon, which can rupture or tear. An Achilles rupture is a serious injury with a long recovery time, but doing stretches and exercises can help get you back on your feet faster.

 

  1. After Injury

  2. The first thing you should do after incurring an Achilles rupture is visit the doctor. You need to know how severe the injury is before attempting any exercises. A complete tear of the tendon may require surgery and long-term immobilization. It can take six months or more to heal and get to the point where you will be able to perform moderate activity again. Follow your doctor's orders as to how soon after your injury you can start doing exercises to rehabilitate the ankle and tendon.

    Heel Raises

  3. Heel raises are a basic calf-strengthening exercise. To perform them, stand with your feet flat. Then raise yourself up on the balls of your feet using the strength of your calf muscles. Slowly lower your heel back to the floor and repeat the exercise. When coming off a severe injury, you may not be able to do heel raises with your full body weight right away. To make the exercise easier, stand next to a table or other sturdy surface and lean on it to take some weight off the injured foot. As your rehabilitation progresses and you start getting back into physical activity, you may wish to add weight by holding dumbbells, or performing heel raises on one foot.

    Tendon Stretches

  4. Stretching is an important part of keeping tendons limber, which enables them to resist injury. For this exercise, sit down with your injured leg propped out in front of you. Wrap a towel around your toes and the ball of your foot. Then, simply pull back on the towel to initiate a stretch in the tendon. Pull gently at first, then increase the intensity of the stretch as much as possible without experiencing pain. (You should stop any stretch or exercise that produces anything but mild discomfort.)

    Another way to stretch the Achilles tendon is to stand facing a wall, placing the palms on the wall. Step forward with one foot, while keeping the other leg back. The back leg will bend forward at the ankle, causing the Achilles tendon and calf muscle to stretch. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch to your other calf. It is a good idea to do exercises for both our injured leg and the uninjured leg to promote balance.




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