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Winter Stretch: The Achilles Tendon

achilles muscles

The Achilles Tendon (a.k.a. gastrocnemius tendon or calcaneal tendon) is a band of tissue that connects the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the heal bone (calcaneus). The gastrocnemius and soleus muscle come together to form the achilles tendon which then inserts into the calcaneus.


Option 1: Seated stretch.

The stretch leg should be straight out infront of you and the non-stretch leg can be bent with the bottom of the foot placed on the inside of the stretch leg. Place a belt or strap around the ball of the foot (not toes) of the stretch leg. Slowly pull the strap to bring your foot toward you.


Perform the same stretch with a bend in the knee. You may use a pillow or rolled towels to place under the knee.


Option 2: Standing stretch.

Face the wall and lean against it with outstretched arms. Stagger the legs, with the stretch leg behind and position the hips back to ensure the foot is fully and firmly planted. Keep the leg straight; feet pointing directly towards the wall; hips square. Lean the whole body toward the wall by bending the elbows and front knee.


Perform the same stretch with a bend in the knee of the back/stretch leg.

Note: It is important to warm up the muscles prior to stretching them. This can be done by taking a warm shower, ankle rolls in both directions or doing a repetitive exercise, such as, walking or jogging. Each stretch should be held for 30 seconds and performed 3 times.

All stretches should be PAIN FREE. If you feel pain during any of these stretches please STOP performing the stretch.

CAUTION: If Plantar Fasciitis is inflammed AVOID stretching. The Plantar Fascia is already stretched, so you do NOT want to expand it futher causing tearing and injury.