Achilles tendon stretching exercises for children

What are the exercises for lengthening the Achilles tendon for children? The Achilles tendon is the longest and strongest tendon in the body, so its contraction or shortening can affect a child's ability to walk.

Achilles tendon stretching exercises for children

This article provides children's achilles tendon stretching exercises and instructions:

Achilles tendon stretching exercises for children

The Achilles tendon is a strong band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscle at the back of the leg to the heel bone, enabling the calf muscle to move the foot.

Any shortening, stretching, or contraction of the Achilles tendon has an impact on children's walking patterns and their ability to run, jump, and walk.

The doctor might suggest the following exercises for kids to lengthen their Achilles tendon:

  • Toe extension exercise 

How to complete this exercise is as follows:

  1. The child sits on a chair with the heel of his foot touching the ground.
  2. The child is asked to pull his toe upward, towards the ankle, and against the ground.
  3. This continues for 15-30 seconds.
  4. The exercise is repeated from two to four times per session, and the session is repeated up to 5 times a day.
  • Towel stretch 

It is done as follows:

  1. The child sits on the floor and extends his legs so that the knees are straight.
  2. The child, with your help, wraps a towel around the foot, just under the toes. 
  3. Hold each end of the towel in both hands with the hands placed above the knees. 
  4. He pulls the towel with both hands so that his feet are facing him.
  5. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. 
  6. The exercise is repeated from two to four times per session, and the session is repeated up to 5 times a day.
  • Calf stretch

It is done as follows:

  1. The child places his hands on the wall for balance or on a chair or tree.
  2. The child keeps the good leg forward and his injured leg back, keeping it straight and pressing the ground with the heel.
  3. The child keeps the toes pointed towards the wall.
  4. The child makes a slight lunge by bending the knee of the front foot. 
  5. The child is asked to lean against the wall until he feels a stretch in the calf muscle.
  6. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and repeat the exercise two to four times for each foot.

It is typically advised to begin with the first exercise for a few days before gradually progressing to more intense exercises. It is preferable to consult a doctor about how long your child needs before moving on to another exercise.

Why might a child need to do Achilles tendon stretching exercises?

Children who have short or contracted Achilles tendons must engage in Achilles tendon stretching exercises for the following reasons:

1. Achilles tendinitis 

Achilles tendinitis causes pain and irritation in the Achilles tendon above the heel and on the bottom of the foot. It typically happens after engaging in strenuous or prolonged physical activity, such as running.

Acne is brought on by abrupt increases in exercise intensity, wearing inappropriate footwear for sports or flat feet, and skipping warm-up exercises.

2. Congenital calcaneal tendon injury 

Walking on tiptoe to some extent or completely is referred to as having a congenital calcaneal tendon. An orthopedist will assess the condition and will either recommend physical therapy, surgery, or children's Achilles tendon lengthening exercises as a course of treatment.

Damage to the nervous system 3.

Similar to the case of the drop foot, which is brought on by neuropathy and is treated by a tendon transfer, in some instances the ankle is too stiff and cannot be raised to allow for the tendon transfer, necessitating surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon. The child is then required to complete exercises and physical therapy.

4. Polio and cerebral palsy

Surgery to lengthen the achilles tendon is used to treat polio-related deformities. After surgery, exercises are recommended to enhance the flexibility and strengthening of the tendon.

Tips for relieving Achilles tendon pain 

The following is advised if inflammation of the Achilles tendon is the cause of the pain in the Achilles tendon:

  • Rest as much as you need to, and avoid the physical activity that caused the injury.
  • Apply 15 minutes of cold water or ice every two hours.
  • Putting the foot up to lessen swelling
  • Use painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • To relieve pressure on the Achilles tendon, one should strengthen and stretch the nearby muscles and tendons.
  • As the irritation starts to go away, perform the aforementioned exercises to strengthen and stretch the Achilles tendon.
  • Wear the proper athletic footwear, and switch them out before they wear out.

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