Achilles Tendon Stretching is a bad idea, for a variety of reasons.
Maybe you're doctor or physical therapist told you to stretch your Achilles Tendon because it is 'too tight'.
Maybe you read advice online that you should stretch your Achilles Tendon if you have Achilles Tendonitis or Achilles Tendonosis.
Personally, I wouldn't.
The main reason not to stretch achilles tendons (or any other tendon) is because stretching doesn't lengthen tendons, only muscle and it's web of connective tissue.
Nope. You don't need to, and you don't want to stretch your Achilles Tendon.
In fact, you CAN'T stretch your Achilles tendon.
Your Achilles Tendon doesn't get 'tight'. It get's 'taut'. It's not just a semantic difference. Conceptually and in reality it makes a difference for you if you want to get out of pain.
First off, tendons aren't stretchy. You DON'T want your Achiles Tendon, any tendon, to stretch. When a tendon or ligament stretches, it's doesn't shrink back.
Tendons aren't made of 'stretchy' material.
And really, even if you have Achilles tendon pain or problem, the tendon isn't the problem (obviously if there's been a rip or tear, the tendon is an issue, but even then it's secondary).
Even if the tendon does appear to be tight, it gets tight for a reason. The reason it's tight in the first place is the real problem. We'll get to that.
Go ahead and ask your doctor and/or your PT WHY they're saying that the tendon is tight.
The -only- correct answer is: "Because the muscles and connective tissue connected to the Achilles Tendon are TOO TIGHT and are pulling on the tendon, making it taut.
Tendons themselves aren't 'tight' or 'loose'. A tendon is a chunk of dense connective tissue. One end attaches to bone. The other end attaches to muscle.
If the muscle contracts, it bunches together, and that pulls on the tendon.
Bungie cords stretch. Tendons don't. And if they do, they don't stretch back.
Point being, your Achilles tendon itself has a -very- small range of motion. Said another way, it has -very- limited contractibility. Meaning, almost none.
So it's like a rope tied to a tree. If you pull on the rope, it gets taut. If you pull harder, it gets more taut as more force is applied. But in this example, you are the muscle and the rope is the tendon.
To repeat myself, muscles get tight. Tendons get taut. They get pulled around by the muscles.
If the muscle is totally loose, the tendon is neutral. The more a muscle contracts, the more tension is added, pulling on the tendon.
If your muscle is too tight 24/7, that means the tendon has too much tension on it 24/7. Pull very gently on your finger for 6 months. I promise that it will start before too long.
Achilles Tendon Stretching is at worst a dangerous activity, and at best, it will potentially irritate your ongoing symptoms by irritating the mechanism of your pain dynamic.
It might even help a little bit, maybe even a lot, because muscle and connective tissue will get stretched too, but ultimately it's going to aggravate things more than help. Especially if you stretch TOO MUCH and send pain/danger signal to your brain.
There's a difference between stretching, and lengthening. Lengthening is good.
Having said that, did you stretch and that fixed your problem?
I didn't think so.
So if you've been told to stretch your 'tight tendons', you should ask, "How do I stretch my Achilles Tendon?"
I say, "You don't."
You ask, "Then what should I do?"
To which I reply, "You LENGTHEN your muscle and connective tissue structures in your lower leg."
To which you look befuddled and ask, "Uh huh. And how do I do that?"
I'll tell you on the The Truth About Eccentric Heel Drops page.
And then to an even more effective method, that I describe in length in my Reversing Achilles Tendonitis ebook.
Return to the top of this Achilles Tendon Stretching page.
Go to the Achilles Tendonitis page.
Go to the main Tendonitis page.
Go to the www.TendonitisExpert.com home page.
|Share Your Story