Friday, October 15, 2010
Achilles Tendon Strengthening: Video on Resistance Bands and 2 Positional Weight Bearing Exercises
This new video is on achilles tendon/calf strengthening. With the achilles tendon being the strongest tendon in the body, this is a vital area to re-strengthen after injuries or prolonged inactivity. The reader is encouraged to read the previous post on strengthening exercise in the article on Treatment of Tendinitis (the link is below). Thera Band type strengthening used in this video is also called Progressive Resistive Exercises. You gradually work through a varying resistance based on the variable resistance placed in the multi-colored bands, but also the resistance is variable since it is coming from you. You supply the power to move the band which will resist you back. As the patient works from 2 sets of 10 reps in the lightest band to 2 sets of 25, usually add 5 more reps per week, they then move to the next color starting again at 2 sets of 10. Every advance should be pain free and feel easy to the patient. Strengthening at a low level can be done daily, and I prefer my patients to do them in the evening. In this way, if you fatigue the calf muscles and achilles tendon, they have all night to rest before you stress them the next day. Gradually, as you advance to the weight bearing gastrocemius and soleus strengthening exercises, you should switch to the normal strengthening regimen of three times per week.
I can not emphasize enough how neglected the Soleus muscle is in achilles rehabilitation. These weight bearing achilles exercises are so important. All achilles injuries must be rehabilitated to be able to do 2 sets of 25 single leg gastroc, and 2 sets of 15 single leg soleus. Without restrengthening this vital muscle, reinjury will occur, and injury to surrounding muscle/tendons with various tendinitis will occur. Physical Therapists these days love the Weight Bearing exercises demonstrated since it is Functional. But the resistance bands can play a big role in regaining lost tone in the gastroc and soleus. It has been said that the gastroc and soleus lose 3-5% of their strength per day in an injury, and gain it back less then 1% per day. Do the math to see how long it may take you to regain achilles strength if you are injured and need to be in a cast for 3 months.
Good luck with your Rehab!!