Warm Up Exercises for Achilles Tendon

By S.F. Heron

golfer hitting from bunker
A thick band of tendon connects the calf muscles with the heel. This area, called the Achilles, controls the range of motion of the foot. We use the Achilles with every step, pushing off when walking or running. Achilles tendon injuries occur commonly with many sports, including golf. The Achilles tendon comes into play during a golf swing as well as general walking around the course. The optimum way to prevent Achilles pain involves regular stretching before performing your sport. Injury will keep you completely off the course until the Achilles tendon heals.

Heel Drops

Notice the incredibly strong calf muscles of a college or professional basketball player. Strong calf muscles protect the Achilles as well as the rest of the leg from the explosive movements needed to dunk or sprint to the other end of the court. In contrast, golf requires less explosive speed, but places similar stress on the Achilles. Try warming up your Achilles by standing on the bottom step of a staircase. Hang your heels off the edge of the stair for five counts and return to flat feet. Repeat five times. You should feel this warm-up directly through the calf muscles.

Heel Rises

Heel rises (also called heel raises) offer another way to warm up the calves and, subsequently, the Achilles tendons. Basketball players and ballet dancers also use this exercise to stretch the tendon and strengthen the calf muscles. Position your body on flat feet next to a railing, counter, or chair. Straighten your posture and slowly rise onto the balls of the feet. Hold for 10 counts and release slowly to the floor. You should repeat this exercise 10 times if possible. Although more challenging, you can also try doing heel raises using one leg at a time.

Gastrocsoleus Stretch

You've probably seen professional athletes leaning with both hands against a wall, stretching their legs. They're working to warm up the Achilles. Press your hands against the wall at shoulder level. Place one foot about 2 feet (standard width of your regular gait) behind the other with the heel pressed to the floor. Turn the back toe in slightly. Lean into the wall by bending the arms slightly. Move slowly and feel the stretch along the Achilles. Don't bounce with this movement and use gentle pressure. Count to five, release, and repeat five times for each leg.

About the Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.