Why is my Achilles tendon tight? In this article, we’ll go over the most common causes of tight Achilles tendons and provide tips to help you find relief fast.
The Achilles tendon plays a crucial role in the function of the body. It supports the foot and leg to act out daily movements like walking. When a tight Achilles comes into play, it can disrupt the ease of everyday movements. If not addressed, it will only worsen, raising the risk of serious concerns like tendonitis.
Throughout this article, we will go over the common causes of a tight Achilles tendon and the best tips to obtain relief. Let’s not waste any time.
Why is My Achilles Tight? Common Tight Achilles Tendon Causes Explained
So, why is my Achilles tight? There are numerous causes of a tight Achilles tendon. Pinpointing which one is plaguing you can be beneficial for a lifestyle change to relieve tightness in the Achilles. Let’s look at the different tight Achilles tendon causes below!
Excessive weight places more stress on the body. Obesity can tie into tightness in the Achilles and the risk of Achilles tendon concerns due to the strain on the tendon. It can also raise the risk of other foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis. This study shows that obese and overweight individuals are more likely to be affected by Achilles tendonitis than people with a normal BMI.
Tight Calf Muscles
When the calves are tight, there is a restriction of movement in the muscles. This is because the calf muscles are connected to the Achilles tendon, which begins in the middle of the calf and runs down to the foot's heel. The tendon joins the calf's gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the foot's heel bone and the back of the lower leg.
As you can see, the Achilles tendon and calf muscles are heavily intertwined. This means that when the calf muscles are tight, it strains and pulls on the Achilles tendon, which causes the tendon to tighten. Therefore, investigating how to release tight calves can be incredibly helpful in negating any uncomfortable tension or tightness placed upon the Achilles from tight calves.
Wearing poor footwear or heels can not only cause tight Achilles, but it can also raise the risk of Achilles tendonitis. Frequent heel-wearing can result in a shortened Achilles tendon, which can contribute to an injury of the Achilles tendon. Other poor footwear, whether worn down or poorly designed, can add pressure to the heel, causing the tendon to strain and result in injury.
Intense/Excessive Physical Activity
Intense or excessive physical activity can place excess strain on the body. Promoting quality pre- and post-workout recovery measures can decrease injury risk. Methods such as fascial therapy can be beneficial in combating any tightness or inflammation in the fascia, joint capsules, and muscles to resolve discomfort.
As we’ve discussed, the body is interconnected. For example, if the hamstrings are tight from a heavy lower-body gym session, it can cause the Achilles to become tight. If the calves are tight from hiking up a mountain, it can cause the Achilles to become tight. If other body parts become strained or tight from intense physical activity, it can cause the Achilles tendon to tauten and increase discomfort. That’s why it is important to use healthy measures like fascial stretch therapy.
So, what is fascial stretch therapy? It's a table-based form of assisted stretching that targets the fascia and joint capsules, which provide structure and support to the body. But, when tight, they can cause discomfort and even pain if not adequately addressed.
Poor Ankle Mobility
If you lack a healthy range of motion in the ankles, you are more inclined to suffer from tight Achilles. You are also more at risk of serious injuries, such as recurring ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis.
It is vital to increase ankle mobility to support functional movements and decrease the strain on the Achilles. If not, the increased load placed upon the Achilles tendon will not only cause tightness, but it will also lead to injury.
You may not initially consider that the hamstrings would affect the Achilles tendon, but as the body is interconnected, the two impact one another.
When tight, the hamstrings can negatively affect ankle function. This increases tension in the Achilles tendon, which can cause further harmful repercussions if not addressed, such as tendonitis. Knowing how to fix a tight hamstring is extremely beneficial in demoting any health concerns or injury risks associated with it, helping to relieve tension in the Achilles for relief.
Poor Hip Mobility
Taking the time to increase hip mobility is crucial for avoiding or relieving tightness in the Achilles tendon. When there is poor mobility of the hips, it causes a domino effect of issues. With poor hip mobility, there is a lack of gluteal recruitment, which overloads the calves, to affect the Achilles. All in all, addressing mobility issues in the body is pertinent to preventing injury.
What Can a Tight Achilles Tendon Lead to if Not Addressed?
Leaving a tight Achilles alone is not in your best interest. If left alone, a tight Achilles can lead to tendonitis, a rupture of the tendon, and tendinosis (degeneration of the tendon). Below we discuss further why you should address a tight Achilles tendon.
Lifestyle & Athletic Limitations
According to this study, athletes are more at risk of Achilles tendon overuse injuries. There are consequences to not addressing a tight Achilles tendon. As an athlete, it can limit your performance capabilities and potentially take you out of the game. If the tight Achilles tendon is not treated, it can result in a tear or rupture of the tendon. Depending on the severity, the Achilles tendon will require surgery.
More Serious Injury Down the Road
If not addressed, a tight Achilles can lead to Achilles tendinosis, the degeneration of the tendon. During this process, the tendon will likely develop microscopic tears as it loses its organized structure.
Serious Achilles tendon injuries can inhibit the quality of everyday movements such as walking. It can prevent the individual from regaining the strength and ability to perform these movements used for daily activities efficiently.
Can a Tight Achilles Tendon Be Fixed?
Yes, a tight Achilles tendon can be fixed! Putting lifestyle changes into place can be highly effective in relieving tight Achilles.
In the more severe cases where Achilles tendonitis is involved, consult your doctor before performing at-home treatments. Your doctor will provide a catered treatment plan with the necessary suggestions to prevent the tendonitis from worsening.
How Do You Fix a Tight Achilles Tendon? Stretches, Deep Tissue Work, and More
Do you want to know how to fix a tight Achilles tendon? Then, check out our best tips on achieving relief from a tight Achilles!
Use Tools To Help For Deeper Stretching
For deeper stretching to target any tightness and relieve inflammation, you need tools to help you achieve it. With CastleFlexx’s high-quality flexibility equipment, you can get the most out of stretching with this versatile tool!
Our stretching tool accesses assisted stretching without the need for a second person. So you can reap the benefits of assisted stretching, like enhancing mobility, progressing flexibility, targeting muscle tightness, and decreasing stress. But how long does it take to get flexible?
With consistency and dedication, it can take as little as two weeks to start seeing notable progress. And with CastleFlexx’s flexibility equipment, you can perform full-body movements to stretch out any tightness in the Achilles tendon, the hamstrings, the hips, and more to reduce pain and prevent injury!
Deep Tissue Work
Used to target the muscles and fascia, deep tissue work is an excellent method for relieving tightness and reducing pain. It helps increase blood flow and circulation to release muscle and fascia tension that generates pain.
There are numerous methods to perform deep tissue work, including deep tissue massages, lacrosse balls, foam rollers, and Theragun. Of course, some will be cheaper and more accessible than others, but just as effective as releasing tightness!
Buy Supportive Shoes
Get rid of poorly designed shoes and buy shoes that support the Achilles and the rest of the foot to promote great foot support!
Supportive shoes will help to reduce the load on the Achilles tendon. For example, if you participate in a sport, buy shoes to support movements specifically engaged throughout the activity to provide maximum support to the Achilles tendon and the rest of the foot. This will help prevent strain on the Achilles and other injuries.
Cold therapy, or cryotherapy, is an effective method to relieve tightness and pain. This is done by restricting blood flow to the targeted area, such as the Achilles tendon, to reduce inflammation and swelling for desired pain relief.
Heat therapy, or thermotherapy, increases circulation and blood flow to reduce stiffness and encourage healing. It can be beneficial in helping to relieve tightness in the Achilles, calves, hamstrings, and other areas.
First, use cold therapy to address any pain. Then, use heat therapy to relieve tightness in the Achilles for successful treatment.
Why is My Achilles Tight? Wrapping Up Our Guide on Tight Achilles Tendon Causes
As discussed in this article, there are many tight Achilles tendon causes. There are also many effective ways to target a tight Achilles to reduce tension, inflammation, and pain. These methods can prevent serious repercussions, such as tendonitis if the tight Achilles tendon is not addressed.
With CastleFlexx’s flexibility equipment, you can access full-body assisted stretching anytime and anywhere to relieve tightness in the Achilles tendon, the hamstrings, the calves--you name it!