Progressive loading of the Achilles tendon
🏋️Progressive loading of the Achilles tendon🤸♀️
🎯Following on from our previous post "Achilles tendinopathy: calf raises alone won't suffice" (here) a neat study has recently been published by Baxter et al, which examined the Achilles tendon load in common exercises & compared them to walking and running.
🔍Our previous post discussed the importance of doing more than just calf raises to prepare for running activities, and this recent study reinforces this approach. This new data also provides a nice progression pathway for selecting exercises to gradually load the Achilles tendon.
📊We have sorted all the exercises tested into 2 graphs. Graph 1 sorts the exercises by Loading Peak, and then Graph 2 sorts the exercises by Loading rate.
🙋How to implement this into rehab?
Firstly this data can provide a guide to progressively load the Achilles tendon: gradually move along the spectrum to increase the loading peak or loading rate.
🚶🏼♀️You can also use this to determine where to start a patient if they are painful on a particular activity. For instance if walking is causing pain in the Achilles tendon, then it would be worthwhile starting with exercises that have a lesser demand (i.e. standing calf raises, lunges and step ups).
🏃♂️Likewise if preparing the Achilles tendon to run, then you would want to ensure you are able to perform exercises that are a higher load than running (i.e. single leg hopping, drop jump single leg or forward hops single leg).
For further assistance with the rehabilitation of your Achilles tendinopathy, please don't hesitate to contact us!
Baxter, J. R., et al. (2020). "Exercise Progression to Incrementally Load the Achilles Tendon." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Publish Ahead of Print.