Eccentric Calf Muscle Exercises

Eccentric Calf Muscle Exercises

Eccentric calf muscle exercises are prescribed for treating chronic Achilles tendinitis. They can also be used for treating ankle pain and other ankle related ailments...
When there is tension on the muscles, they may either shorten, lengthen or remain the same, due to the contraction. The muscle tension caused can either be voluntary or involuntary. One of the voluntary contractions is eccentric contraction, where the muscles are pulled downward due to pressure and gravity. Eccentric calf muscle exercises focus on lowering the heel with weight exerted on the calf muscles. These exercises will not only help to treat Achilles tendinitis, but they will also help to strengthen the calf muscles, prevent the occurrence of Achilles tendinitis and reduce the risk of injury.

Eccentric Calf Exercises

When one is doing calf muscle exercises, it is important to decide the resistance of the exercises taking the severity of the problem into consideration. The muscles should not be pushed into higher intensity, as it will cause more harm than good.

Exercise # 1
The first of the eccentric calf strengthening exercises are the single leg calf raises. To do this exercise, stand with the ball of the right foot on the edge of a landing, but with the heel raised up. Gradually start lowering the heel, till your heel has gone a little lower than the level of the landing. Hold the position for a few seconds, before you release. When the heel is lowered the calf muscles will be worked, as they will concentrate on gradually lowering the body.

Exercise # 2
This eccentric exercise for the calf muscles is similar to the exercise 1. To do this exercise, stand with both the heels hanging off the edge of the landing. Hold on to the wall and raise your heels up and then gradually drop the heels down. Lower the heels gradually till thy are lower than the edge of the landing. Stay in the position for a couple of counts and slowly come back up to the starting position.

Exercise # 3
This is another version of calf raises, but they are done in a seated position. One can either use the calf raise machine to do the exercise or use free weights. Here is how to do the exercise with free weights. Sit on a chair and place the free weights on your thighs. Place your feet on a platform, such that only the toes and the balls of the feet are placed on the platform. Gradually lift your legs till the heels are up in the air and then slowly lower them down. This is one repetition of the exercise.

When you start doing these calf muscle exercises be careful. Do not be in a rush to finish the exercises. When the exercise is done slowly, it gives better results as compared to doing the exercises faster. Once you are used to doing the exercise, you can increase the intensity of the exercise by using additional weights to do the exercises, but never rush with the exercise.

According to a study, performing these calf muscle exercises gives long term relief from Achilles tendinitis and other calf ailments. These exercises are also useful in correcting structural damage and increase activity levels. However, when these exercises are practiced, it is important that the velocity at which the heels move up and down should be very slow. For better results, the exercises should be practiced both by keeping the knees bent as well as locked. Both of them have different effects on the Achilles tendon, which further accelerates the healing process.

Before starting with calf muscle exercises, it is important to consult a health care professional. It is advisable to perform the exercises under guidance of a therapist, which will ensure you are performing the exercises properly. Also, in case there has to be a variation in the way the exercise has to be performed, the therapist can suggest the changes.