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Is your Achillies heel holding you back?

At the Cafe of Life, we care a lot about mobility. It’s a fundamental part of the Move by Design model and our main focus at the Move by Design seminar. So this week, let’s look at everyone’s Achilles heel – The Achilles Heel…

Of course our heel cord is the springy band of tissue along the back of your foot above the heel. It connects the calf muscles to the heel and allows us to do things like point our toes and bend our knees.

While we often hear of sports stars (especially in sports that require quick starts, stops and jumps) blowing out their Achillies tendons, heel cord injuries can happen to almost any active mover – especially, as we age and lose key parts of our range of motion. In 2002 alone, there were over 232,000 related Achilles injuries in the US of A.

So how does one of the thickest, most robust tendons in the body let so many people down?

No Love. In reality, people simply don’t give their Achilles the love and attention it deserves. So, Here’s one way to make your heel cord happy and healthy.

Here’s a great stretch that can help. Approach a wall, put the front part of your foot on the wall and your heel on the ground. Move your hips towards and wall keeping your butt flexed. You’ll feel the back of your heel being stretched out. Now, try contracting and relaxing as well, and once you accumulate 2mins, move to the other leg.

Now, use a lacrosse ball (or double lacrosse ball (aka the peanut) if you have one) and feel for areas around your heel that aren’t supple or move easily. When you find something gunky, tact the ball on to the skin and give it a ‘pop’ motion. This will help ‘unglue’ the skin from the tendon and restore function. Our favorite Mobility Guru, Kelly Starett does a great video blog on how to preform this exercise.

 

Lastly, if your heel cord are ever swollen do the above exercises and ice the tendon four times and day until numb.

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