At AJ Physical Therapy and Performance, we help recreational athletes like pickleball players move better and return to the game they love! A common injury we see with pickle ball is what we call achilles tendinopathy or pain in the lower calf/achilles region. If you have been dealing with pain here, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. So, the question is: how can you fix it?!
The best way to fix it is to schedule an evaluation with a doctor of physical therapy to help properly diagnose and create a comprehensive customized treatment plan to solve the problem and keep it from coming back! In the mean time, here are the 3 best things you can start doing right away to help fix the problem.
1) Gastroc and Soleus stretching: having proper lengthening in these two muscles is pertinent for pickle ball players. limited flexibility in this area will increase stress on the achilles tendon and cause pain. Here is a good way to stretch them.
2) Mobilize arch of the foot: Stiffness in the arch of the foot can contribute to increase stress on the achilles tendon. Here is a great way to mobilize it using a lacrosse ball.
3) Eccentric loading: This type of strengthening is probably the most important piece to improve symptoms on a long term basis. The emphasis is on slow repetitions as the achilles is lengthening. start with 8-10 reps daily. check out the video.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out. We would love to help you solve your problem and get you back to playing pain free! in the mean time, Check out this article on how to choose the best physical therapist for pickleball athletes.
Andy Johnson PT, DPT, OCS