Calf Strengthening

Calf stretching can minimize achilles tendonitis painStrong calf muscles give your Achilles tendon a break during the running process. A strong calf muscle will help move the tendon back and forth during foot placement, which takes some of the pressure off. The less work the tendon has to do, the lower the risk of strain or other injury. There are specific exercises that you can do to strengthen your calf muscles. One of the most famous is the “heel drop.” You begin this exercise by standing on a step in the “calf raise” position. You then shift your bodyweight onto the injured leg. Slowly use your calf muscles to lower your body down and drop your heel beneath the forefoot. You then will use your uninjured leg to return to the upward position. When doing this exercise, keep this in mind: DO NOT USE YOUR INJURED LEG TO RETURN TO THE UPWARD POSITION. Doing so may result in further injury. Remember, you are only building calf muscles, not working out your ankle or tendon. Some amount of pain is normal during this exercise, however if the pain is too great, you should stop immediately and reassess the exercise. When you get more comfortable doing this exercise without much pain, you can progressively add more weight by wearing a backpack with weight in it. The heel drop method is actually designed to slightly damage the tendon, so that misaligned tendon fibers are rubbed away, allowing new, healthy fibers to take their place. This is why it is normal to feel a slight amount of pain while performing this exercise.