Your legs contain tendons, tough cords that attach your muscles to your bones. The Achilles tendon, your body's largest tendon, attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone. It undergoes significant stress during physical activity, and has a limited blood supply, two factors that increase its vulnerability to injury. Your quadriceps tendon connects your kneecap to your quadriceps muscles, located on the top of your legs. Injuries to both tendons cause discomfort, pain and may disrupt your activities of daily living and physical exercise. Stretching helps relieve discomfort, and may help prevent future injury and pain.
Toe-Up Achilles Tendon Stretch
Stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs and face it. Step 2 feet away from the stairs.
Place the ball of your right foot on top of the first stair.
Point your toes forward, bend your right knee and lean forward. Stop leaning when you feel a stretch in the lower portion of your leg and hold for 30 seconds. Switch your legs' positioning and do the same with your left leg. Place your arms on the wall if you need balancing help during the stretch.
Achilles Tendon One-Leg Heel Raise
Stand behind the back of a chair. Straighten your back, bend your knees slightly and position your feet hip-distance apart.
Rest your hands on the back of the chair, bend your left knee and lift your left foot off of the ground, parallel to the floor.
Lift onto the toes of your right foot and maintain a straight right knee. Hold in the lifted position for 1 second, lower your heel to the ground and repeat until you complete 10 heel raises. Switch legs and do the same with your left foot.
Standing Quadriceps Stretch
Stand with your right side next to a wall. Place your right hand on the wall.
Lift your left foot off of the ground and wrap your left hand around your left ankle. Slowly pull your left foot toward your buttock. Square your hips forward to help isolate your quadriceps.
Stop when you feel a stretch on the top of your left leg and above your knee. Hold for 30 seconds, lower your foot to the ground and turn around. Place your left hand on the wall and stretch your right leg.
Lying Quadriceps Tendon Stretch
Lie on your right side and stack your legs, hips and shoulders on top of one another. Bend your right elbow and rest your head on your right hand.
Bend your left knee, wrap your left hand around your left ankle and pull your foot toward your buttocks. Square your hips to isolate your muscles during this stretch.
Stop pulling when you feel a stretch on the top of your left leg and hold for 30 seconds. Release your leg, turn over and do the same with your right leg.
- The Stretching Institute: Shin Splints and Shin Splints Treatment
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Patellar Tendon Tear
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise