Sunday, January 6, 2008

Take your medicine, son.

Prevention can help you avoid this injury.

To help prevent an Achilles tendon injury, gently stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles before taking part in physical activities. Perform stretching exercises slowly,stretching to the point at which you feel a noticeable pull, but not pain. Don't bounce during a stretch.

To further reduce your chance of developing Achilles tendon problems, follow these tips:

-Avoid activities that place excessive stress on your heel cords, such as hill-running and jumping activities (especially if done consistently).
-If you notice pain during exercise, rest.
-If one exercise or activity causes you persistent pain, try another.
-Alternate high-impact sports, such as running, with low-impact sports, such as walking, biking or swimming.
-Maintain a healthy weight.
-Wear well-fitting athletic shoes with proper cushioning in the heels.

Strengthening your calf muscles also can help prevent injury to your Achilles tendon.
To strengthen your calf muscles, practice toe raises:

-Stand flat, then rise up on your toes.
-Hold the elevated position momentarily before slowly dropping back down to a stand. -Emphasizing the slow return to the ground will help improve the force absorbing capability of your calf muscle and Achilles tendon.
-Start with raising just your body weight. Later, you can add hand weights as you do this exercise or raise your body weight on just one foot.

To avoid a recurrence of an Achilles tendon injury, follow these guidelines:

-Use warm-up and cool-down exercises and calf-strengthening exercises.
-Apply ice to your Achilles tendon after exercise.
-Alternate high impact sports with low impact sports, so as not to overwork your Achilles tendons.

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