Nice spring weather means plenty of time to spend in the great outdoors! One way to do this that also benefits your lower limbs is hiking. The nearby Lake Tahoe area has some great hiking trails for people of varying abilities, from avid outdoorsman to basic beginners. If you’re interested in hitting trails, though, make sure you take steps to prevent Achilles injuries. A variety of stretches and conditioning exercises can mean the difference between happy trails and aching feet.
Stretching to prevent Achilles injuries includes both static and dynamic exercises. The static stretches help the tendon stay flexible so it’s less likely to strain the back of your heel bone. Dynamic stretches help build strength as well as warm up your muscles before an activity.
Wall stretch – Stand facing a wall with your hands flat against it. Place one foot behind you. Bend your supporting knee and lean forward toward the wall, keeping your back leg straight and your heels on the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then relax, repeat, and switch legs.
Step stretch – Stand on a stair step with your heels hanging off the edge. Slowly lower your heels until you feel a pull in your calves. Hold for a few seconds, then raise your heels back to neutral and repeat.
Calf raises – Stand with your feet should-width apart. Slowly rise up on your toes as high as you can go. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your heels and repeat. For an extra challenge, do this on a stair step with your heels hanging off the edge.
Toe walking – Rise up on the balls of your feet. Walk in a straight line the length of a room, then return.
It’s always better to prevent Achilles injuries than to try to recover from them. Don’t wait until you develop tendinitis to take care of this important connector. If you’ve already noticed discomfort, request more information or an appointment from us here at Sierra Foot & Ankle in Gardnerville, NV. Call (775) 783-8037 or visit our online contact page to reach us.