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Can I Ride a Stationary Bike With Achilles Tendinitis?

by
author image Linda Ray
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
Can I Ride a Stationary Bike With Achilles Tendinitis?
A statioary bike relieves pressure on tender tendons. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

The Achilles tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects the muscles in the calves to the heel bone. When the tendon becomes inflamed from injury or overuse, tendinitis occurs and causes pain and discomfort. Achilles tendinitis often is sports-related and can lead to tears or ruptures that could require surgery and extensive rehabilitation. Exercises that include a stationary bike can be performed with proper technique when you are plagued with the condition.

Effects

You must try to achieve a balance between rest and exercise to treat Achilles tendinitis. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are essential following an initial injury to the tendon. If you leave your leg elevated and out of commission too long however, the tendon can tighten up, making it more difficult to move. After resting, you must take precautions when resuming cycling on the stationary bike.

Benefits

Stretching before beginning to workout helps prepare the tendon for exercise. According to MayoClinic.com, one of the most effective exercises involves eccentric movements to stretch your calf muscles. Stand on your toes, hold the position for a few seconds and slowly lower your hells to the ground. Leaning against a wall with your heels flat on the floor also gives your calves a good stretch prior to cycling.

Positions

Adjust the height of the bicycle seat to alleviate excessive pull on the tendons. When your leg is extended fully, the Achilles tendon experiences strain that could lead to additional injury and inflammation. A short extension is preferable to reduce the amount of continued stretching your tendons undergo while cycling.

Considerations

The kinds of shoes you wear when using your stationary bike also can alleviate excessive pulling on the tendons. According to the Sports Injury Clinic, you should wear shoes that have extra padding in the heel or use a heel pad in your regular shoes to take pressure off your tendons. As you cycle, place your feet on the pedals so that your tendon is not being pulled with each stroke. The raised heel can help you better find a comfortable position.

Warning

Certain exercises such as running and step aerobics may cause additional trauma to the Achilles tendon and often are not recommended, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. High-impact sports such as tennis and volleyball also may exacerbate the tendinitis. Elliptical trainers and stationary bicycles are more effective forms of exercise because they do not pull the tendon excessively.

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