Achilles Tendinopathy! Let’s start off on the RIGHT foot! What Are Isometric Exercises?
Achilles Tendinopathy is an extremely common condition. But so many people get it wrong. Too often we see people who are suffering from Achilles Tendinopathy but doing the wrong exercises. To get on top of your pain FAST and EFFECTIVELY you should start with an isometric load program.
What Are Isometric Exercises?
Isometric exercises are exercises that involve performing a hold or a static contraction (no movement) for a period of time. Typically, Isometric exercises are the first type of exercise in a rehabilitation program. We use these as they are unlikely to aggravate your Achilles Tendon. And, they can be repeated multiple times a day. The Tendinopathy based research tells us, to gain the maximum benefit of these type of exercise, we should be holding each contraction for 40-6seconds. And repeating then 4-5 times in a row.
What Do They D0?
Well, the jury is out on this one.
The research suggests that isometric exercises have an analgesic effect. This means that they will reduce pain. Researchers have looked at isometrics for pain relief for a variety of tendon problems all over the body, including the Achilles. The outcome from all of these studies showed that isometric exercises do have a positive effect in regards to pain reduction, but so can exercises with movement (isotonic) for reducing pain in Tendinopathy.
When To Use Isometric Exercises For Achilles Tendinopathy?
There is now a change in focus on Achilles Tendinopathy rehabilitation. Research has found that pain is not detrimental for recovery and it may even be beneficial to feel a small amount of pain whilst doing rehabilitation exercises for Tendinopathies.
The key is to start your exercises at a starting point that is right for you. And to progress your exercises by making them more and more challenging over time as your tendon symptoms improve and function returns.
When we assess your Achilles tendon. We will look at what you can do and how that feels when you do it. We all have different starting points due to our fitness levels, other health issues, and goals and aspirations.
Therefore, doing isometrics is the right starting point for you if:
- You find Isometric exercises challenging.
- When performed they were at an acceptable level of pain for you.
- You could not progress to more challenging exercises.
Keep in mind. If Isometrics are too easy then you do not need to start here!
The key is to remember that this is a longstanding condition that takes at least 8-12 weeks to get under control. You need to build a foundation for which to build strength. Isometrics are just a starting block. For Achilles’ Tendinopathy, rehabilitation success should not be measured in immediate pain reduction. Trust the research. It will come with time and perseverance.
3 Essential Isometric Exercise:
Achilles Tendinopathy: Single-Leg Calf Raise:
A safe and simple exercise to start to develop strength in the calf complex. And load the Achilles. Using a wall for support ensures you can remain stable.
Achilles Tendinopathy: Single Leg. Bent Knee Hold:
The Bent Knee hold is a great way to target the Soleus Muscle. This muscle forms part of your calf complex and is an ESSENTIAL muscle to build strength in if you are going to recover from your Achilles Tendinopathy.
Achilles Tendinopathy: Alternating Calf Raise:
Here we can start to challenge the muscles and tendon as your body is able to cope with a greater load.