The foam roller and the Achilles tendon go together like peanut butter and jelly. Your lower legs experience relief when you stretch them with a foam roller. You can do this in the comfort of your own home whenever you need to relax your tight legs. The Achilles works hard for you during your activities. The roller provides Achilles relaxation and improves the ankles' range of motion.
Foam rollers are fitness tools used for stretching and strengthening exercises. The rollers are between 4 and 6 inches in diameter and 1 to 4 feet in length. You can find rollers that are full or half, where one side is cut flat. For the Achilles stretch, a full foam roller is best, as it gives you a greater range of motion. The roller provides relief for tight muscles and tendons by applying pressure that forces the muscles to relax.
The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body. Located on the lower halves of the backs of your calves, the tendons need to be strong to help you with walking, running, jumping, skipping, hiking and stair climbing. The Achilles tendon is also responsible for connecting your calf muscles to your heel. It may be overworked with excessive exercise or if you wear high heels, which leaves it in need of stretching. Stretch the Achilles by stretching the attached muscles of the calves.
To use the roller, you need some space to move as you roll back and forth. Don't wear exercise gear that covers your entire leg -- the seams or bunching of material interfere with smooth rolling. Set the foam roller on the floor and position it horizontally in front of you. Sit on the floor with your one leg straight, with your calf resting on the roller. Position the roller slightly below your calf muscles, but higher than your ankles. Rotate your right leg from left to right as you feel the relief in your calf. Then use your hands to support you as you roll up and down, stretching between your ankle and the back of your knee. Repeat the stretches two or three times on each leg and for 15 to 30 seconds at a time.
For best results, create a space free of clutter or items that might roll under you or the roller. When you sit on the floor, center your weight between your sit bones to protect your back and maintain good posture. You may feel slight discomfort as you perform the stretch, but if you experience any pain, release the stretch and contact your doctor. Perform the stretches once or twice daily to improve the flexibility in your Achilles tendons.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images