Calf strains, Achilles tendonitis, and Achilles tendon ruptures are common types of injuries that can be prevented by performing the below three movements on a regular basis, which will work the soleus and gastrocnemius in your calves from three different angles while also strengthening your Achilles tendons. If you’re a runner who frequently runs on uneven trails and terrain, these exercises will prepare your body for steps you could take at odd angles during your runs.
1. Forward calf raise
Find a set of stairs, and stand on the first step with both feet. Allow the arches and heels of your feet to hang off the back of the step, while pointing the toes of both your feet straight forward on the step. Hold onto the rail or banister to retain balance, then slowly lower your heels until they are below your toes. Continue to lower your heels as far down as you can go without lifting your toes from the step. Then, in a slow, controlled movement, raise back up and onto your toes. Repeat between 10 and 15 times for a complete set.
2. Inward-facing raise
After doing a set of forwarding calf raises, continue standing on the step with your toes. Point your toes inward so they face each other, then lower your heels down until they are below your toes in the same manner you did with the forward calf raises. Raise your heels up, then lower them down, keeping your movements slow and controlled to work your muscles. Repeat between 10 and 15 times to complete a full set.
3. Outward-facing raise
Position your feet and toes on the step exactly as you did with the forward calf raises, then point your toes outward and away from each other. Your heels should almost be touching one another. Lower your heels below the step until they are below your toes, then raise back up and onto your toes in a slow, controlled movement. Repeat the raises between 10 and 15 times to complete the set.
Are you experiencing problems with tight calves or pain in your Achilles tendon? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440 so we can determine the cause of your injury and get you back on your feet.