As far as ancient Greek heroes go, Achilles the warrior, is the most well known. Not for his strength, or for his adventures, but for his vulnerability. According to Greek mythology, Achilles was the son of a immortal woman and a mortal man. As a baby, his mother wished him to be immortal and dipped him into the river Styx.All but his heels were covered by the water, therefore giving him a vulnerability. Achilles grew up to be the Hero of the Greeks during the Trojan war, until he was shot by an arrow into his heel.
Due to this vulnerability in his heel, the Achilles tendon has been so called.
In the past few years, there have been many athletes to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries. The Giants’ Andre Brown suffered from a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2009 during a training session. World famous soccer star, David Beckham, tore his Achilles tendon while playing in a game.In the dancer world,Alex Wong, ruptured his ankle doing a routine practice.
In all of these instances, the injury was so effortless. All it takes is a turn, a landing, a step and you are left immobile. The Achilles tendon really is a vulnerable spot on our body. And yet, like the Greek hero, we do little to protect it. Here are some simple things you can do to protect your Achilles tendon.
- Restistance Band Plantarflexion: Use either a resistance band, and loop it around your foot. Hold the band in your hands and point your foot away from your body. Start with 3 sets of 10 a day and move up to 4 sets of 20. After doing this exercise a few times, you can easily build up the resistance by holding more of the band in your hands.
- Seated Calf Raise: This exercise is to strengthen your Soleus muscles and is perfect if you have a job where you sit all day.All you have to do is sit in your chair and raise your feet up on your toes. Do 3 sets of 10 at first and keep increasing the reps each day.
- Calf Raise: Stand on the edge of a step on the balls of your feet. Lower your heels down slowly ,both at the same time.Place the emphasis on the downward motion, and come back up on the balls. Repeat as many times is comfortable.
- Bent-knee Calf Raise: To strengthen the Soleus muscle alone, do a calf raise, but with your knee bent slightly.Do 3 sets of 10 for each leg.
- Walking Calf Raise: You can do this in a gym or just walking around( if you don’t mind looking goofy). When you walk around, push yourself up onto your toes with each step. Do as many as you like!
Its important to do all of these exercises so that your Achilles tendon gets strengthened in both a relaxed and a stretched position!
Have a Happy Feet Day!