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Rupturing the Achilles tendon in the heel is one of the worst injuries that can happen to the body. If the Achilles ruptures (snaps) it is quite common to require surgery to repair and long process of rehabilitation is needed - including various exercises

What Is A Ruptured Achilles?

The Achilles tendon enables you to stand on your tip toes or point your toes. It connects the calf muscle on the back of the leg to the heel of your foot. The Achilles is able to sustain up to seven times your body weight and when it ruptures, either fully or partially, it is a very severe injury. Sometimes it is allowed to repair conservatively (non-surgically) if there isn't a gap when toes are pointed but leaving it to repair this way has a higher risk of re-rupture. Generally, recovery takes months rather than weeks and there is a chance of re-rupture in the long term. A return to sporting activity is rarely seen before the six-month mark after surgery. 

Once you are out of your fixed cast, you can (and should!) do mobility and strengthening exercises to help speed up recovery.

Mobility Exercises To Help You Recover From Your Achilles Surgery

Point And Raise

Laying with your leg fully outstretched, slowly point your toes as far as you can, hold for a second and then try to pull the toes up towards your body, again hold for second and then repeat. Repeat each direction ten times but remember to only go as far as the first point of resistance. The point is not to cause pain.  

Rotations

Again with legs outstretched, rotate your big toe in a full circle one way and then back the other way. Remember to rotate the foot slowly and complete 10 full rotations in each direction. Allow a small period of rest between directions and if it is painful then stop.

Inversion/Eversion

In the same position as the above two try to turn your foot so that the base is turning in towards the other foot (inversion). Imagine you are trying to twist the foot around so your little toe is touching the big toe of the opposite, hold and then twist as far as possible in the opposite direction (eversion). This one is a harder mobility exercise as you will need to retrain the brain to send the signal to move the foot in this direction.  

Toe Curls

Sitting on the edge of a bed or chair, place your injured foot flat on the floor. When ready, try to curl the big toe as if trying to pick up a marble with your toes. Curl the toes as far as possible, hold for 2-3 seconds and then rest. Repeat this 10 times but do not continue if you are in pain as this uses a lot of the power of the Achilles. You can progress this by actually trying to lift a marble and hold it for a few seconds but only do this if there is no pain.

Alphabet

This is a great extension mobility exercise once you have mastered the above and there is no pain. Here you need to spell out the alphabet with the big toe as if you were drawing it on a board. Try going through your first name, then last name and gradually work up to being able to complete the full alphabet.

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