Once you have reached the point of rehabilitation for your Achilles tendon injury, you’ve come over 80% of the way. You may even feel that your Achilles is fully recovered. Your treatment so far may have stopped the swelling and bleeding, and it may have reduced the amount of scar tissue in the Achilles and calf muscles. But there is still one more important thing to do.
The last 20% is the most crucial aspect to your complete recovery. If you’ve ever suffered from a sporting injury in the past, you’ll know how annoying it is to think you’re recovered, and then out-of-the-blue, you’re injured again and back to where you started. It is one of the most frustrating and heart-breaking cycles an athlete, or anyone else for that matter, can go through.
Achilles Tendon Injury Active Rehabilitation
Most people will refer to this phase of your recovery as the active rehabilitation phase, because during this phase you will be responsible for the rehabilitation process. You will be doing the exercises and activities required to speed up your full recovery.
The aim of this phase of your Achilles tendon injury rehabilitation will be to regain all the fitness components that were lost because of the injury. Regaining your flexibility, strength, power, muscular endurance, balance, and co-ordination will be the primary focus. Without this phase of your rehabilitation there is no hope of completely and permanently making a full recovery.
The first point to make clear is how important it is to keep active. Often, the advice from doctors and similar medical personnel will simply be; rest. This can be one of the worst things you can do. Without some form of activity the injured area will not receive the blood flow it requires for recovery. An active circulation will provide both the oxygen and nutrients needed for the injury to heal.
Warning! Never, never, never do any activity that hurts your Achilles. Of course you may feel some discomfort, but never push yourself to the point where you’re feeling pain. Be very careful with any activity you do. Pain is the warning sign; don’t ignore it.
Achilles Tendon Injury Recovery: Range Of Motion
Regaining a full range of motion of your Achilles and ankle joint is the first priority in this phase of the rehabilitation process. A full range of motion is extremely important, as it lays the foundation for more intense and challenging exercises later in the active rehabilitation process.
As you work through the initial stages of recovery and your Achilles begins to heal, start to introduce some very gentle movements. First bending and straightening your ankle, then as you get more comfortable with this simple movement, start to incorporate some rotation exercises. Turn your ankle from side to side, and rotate clockwise and anti-clockwise.
When you feel comfortable with these ranges of motion exercises and perform them relatively pain free, it’s time to move onto the next phase of the active rehabilitation for an Achilles tendon injury: Stretch and Strengthen.