Strengthen Your Achilles Tendon
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Study reveals eccentric strengthening is best
By Scott Douglas
Achilles tendon injuries improve more when treated with eccentric strengthening than concentric strengthening, according to a study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.
In the study, 32 men with achilles tendinopathy (what most people call achilles tendinitis) were divided into two groups. Both groups did an ambitious strengthening program for the achilles tendon – 50 minutes, three times a week, for eight weeks. The difference was in the type of exercise they did. Half of the men did concentric strengthening, in which the work is done while a muscle or tendon is shortening, such as when you do a biceps curl. The other half did eccentric strengthening, in which the load is applied as the muscle or tendon is lengthening.
Using several means of measurement, the researchers assessed the subjects' pain, balance, agility and ankle dorsiflexion endurance, or how long they could continue to move their foot so that their toes moved closer to their shin. After the eight weeks of strengthening, the eccentric-strengthening group had significantly greater functioning and less pain in their achilles than the concentric-strengthening group.
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