Achilles Tightness

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  • #63082


    I’ve struggled with ankle mobility and achilles tightness ever since I started mountaineering (formerly had stress fractures in both feet).

    I can stairmaster forever but I’ve used this training plan as an opportunity rotate in uphill running once a week. My achilles get so tight running uphill (under AeT) that I’m afraid I’m gonna tear one right there in the gym at 5mph… so in addition to a solid posterior chain warm up, I’ll have to pause for stretch breaks and vary the incline.

    At PT for my shoulders, I’ve asked about ankle mobility and they were pretty doom and gloom about it – something that’s very hard to rehab in their view.

    Any recommendations, resources, practical tips for loosening up my lower limbs?


  • Keymaster
    Coach on #63092

    I am so sorry to hear about your tight Achilles, that sounds pretty terrible. I have had many different tendonitis over the years and still have to loosen up certain muscles to be pain-free. Doing a long warm-up both before you get into your workout as well and easing into training does help. I have always had lots of success figuring out what is causing the tightness, usually what is hurting or is SUPER tight is a reaction to other muscles being either weak or out of line. For example, I had extreme elbow issues due to my shoulder blades being too weak and not functioning properly. I had foot pain that took over a year to heal due to my entire leg from my hips down being too tight. I still take stretch breaks all the time to keep my feet happy.

    I am not a PT, but I would focus on full-body mobility! Nerve flossing too might be worth a google and a try for you. I have had lots of success (as have other athletes) in helping loosen up their legs. I am not knowledgeable in specific ankle mobility but I do think there are ways to fix these issues. It sounds like talking to another PT or going in with the focus on your Achilles might be in order!

    I hope that helps!

    katem on #63095

    Glad you asked this as I have been having a similar problem. I’m not sure if it’s my achilles but my calves often get intensely tight on uphills that I’ve been thinking I may need to reach out to do some issue-specific PT on this.

    Anonymous on #63099

    I’d reflect Maya’s sentiments and really encourage you to switch PT’s if you’re getting feedback that things can’t be fixed. And keep up the great work, mobility and muscle balancing is key to injury avoidance. Personally I use a PT that does dry needling and cupping, as well i have my own set of massage cups and stretch regularly after using moist heat. I know you have an old injury but that doesn’t mean things can’t improve with a little extra TLC. And if your calves/Achilles are extra tight on a given day skip the run and just hike to reduce the stress on them.

    See you all in a bit!

    Jenna Dodge on #63122

    I’m a really big fan of block therapy for mobilizing and loosening fascia that is particularly stuck.

    Anonymous on #63131

    There are so many modalities out there and wonderful therapists. I had a therapist tell me that I am now limited with an ankle injury I had over a year ago. This really struck a nerve as I believe there is always another way.(I no longer see this therapist anymore as I felt that was a bit over the line when they themselves hadn’t really researched any new treatments with what I had) What coach Maya said about nerve flossing is amazing and Coach Carolyn’s use of dry needling and cupping is so helpful. I am super biased with needles as I am an Acupuncturist.:) I treat a lot of multi-sporters/athletes and Acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine can be quite helpful. It certainly got me out the hole with the nerve damage I had experienced. There is “always another way” I know that rolling has different camps on whether it is helpful or not. I personally like rolling but Coach Maya and Coach Carolyn would love to hear your thoughts about the use of foam rolling. Super Healing to you Ashco.Thompson.

    Anonymous on #63139

    I’m not a huge foam roller, though I do use one for my back, glute med/TFL area when tight as well as piriformis if it starts getting pissy. They are deeper muscles that are not easy to reach with a cup or one’s own thumbs and of course I can’t work on my own back very easily ( ;
    The jury is out on foam rolling, I’ve read articles both supporting and negating it’s worth. So I use it as it feels right. For me cupping works really well to lift and move fascia so I stick with that where I can. And of course see a PT and massage therapist regularly.

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