Achilles Tendonitis – Stretching Out With Eccentric Contractions

If you are looking for the latest Achilles tendonitis treatment, exercise is it. Specifically, exercises referred to as “eccentric contractions” are most beneficial. When we exercise any muscle or tendon, we can either use a concentric contraction, which shortens the length of the muscle or tendon. Or, we can use eccentric contractions, which have the opposite effect.

In most forms of exercise, we do both eccentric and concentric contractions. But, some people tend to focus on the concentric contractions. The bicep curl is an example easy to understand. During a concentric contraction, a person would hold a dumbbell in his or her hand, with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle, and bringing the dumbbell slowly towards the shoulder, the bicep would be shortened. An eccentric contraction of the bicep would be to stand with the elbows bent at a 90 degree angle, with dumbbells in each hand and slowly lower the hands until they point towards the floor. That elongates the bicep.

This relates to Achilles tendonitis in that most types of exercise (walking, running, dancing, tiptoeing, etc.) result in a concentric contraction or shortening of the tendon. A person, regardless of how fit he or she may be, must make a specific effort to elongate the tendon or do a concentric contraction.

You can accomplish that by sitting and pointing the toes towards the ceiling. There are also “step stretching” products available that allow for the foot to be placed in the “optimal” stretching position.

The stretchers are effective at relieving the pain of Achilles tendinitis and similar lower body pains in just three repetitions of 30 seconds each. But, when you stretch is important, too. You often see runners doing a great deal of stretching before they take off. Hopefully, they have done a bit of walking first to warm up the tendons and muscles. Stretching cold can cause injury.

If you happen to have high cholesterol, you have an increased risk of this painful condition. Sometimes, it runs in the family. When it is caused by high cholesterol, doctors typically refer to it as xanthoma.

A xanthoma can occur in any part of the body, but frequently affects the Achilles tendon. If you do have a history of high cholesterol due to a family history, rather than poor dietary habits, diet and exercise alone may not lower the blood levels effectively.

Because of that, doctors often prescribe statin drugs. A person with a history of Achilles tendinitis should be very cautious about taking the drugs. He or she should always take a coenzyme Q10 supplement, because there are reported cases of spontaneous ruptures of the tendon in people taking statins.

Coenzyme Q10 is naturally produced within the body, but statins interfere with its production. Blood levels of the antioxidant fall by as much as 40% due to statin use. It is possible for COQ10 levels in the muscles and tendons to become depleted, which weakens them and eventually causes their death.

If high cholesterol is not an issue, Achilles tendinitis can be relieved with heel cushions, pads, rest, ice and stretching exercises. So, don’t let the pain get you down.