How to Stretch Tight Tendons
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Your tendons connect your muscles to your bones. Since their function is to hold your joints and muscles together, they have less mobility and range of motion than muscles. Stretching your tendons with your ligaments, muscles and connective tissues can improve joint mobility and prevent tendinitis and muscle pain associated with joint stiffness. You can hold a stretch for a short period, or you can move your joints within their range of motion to improve tendon mobility.
Multiplanar Calf Stretch
Place the half-foam roller on the ground about 2 feet away and parallel to a wall. Put your left foot on top of the roller with your heel on the ground, and put your right foot in the gap between the roller and the wall. Put your hands on the wall for support.
Shift your weight to your right foot, and you should feel a stretch in your left calf and Achilles tendon. Hold the stretch for three deep breaths.
Put your right foot toward the right edge of the foam roller, and your left foot should roll toward the arch. Hold this stretch for three deep breaths.
Put your right foot across your body toward the left edge of the roller, and your left foot should roll toward the outer part of the foot. Hold this stretch for three deep breaths.
Repeat this stretching pattern for three rounds per foot. Do not hunch your back or neck as you do this.
Supine Leg Stretch
Lie on the ground on your back, and raise your right knee toward your ribs. Grab the back of your right knee with both hands.
Extend your right leg straight up with your right foot flexed toward your face. Keep your left leg still on the ground. Hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths. Stretch a little more with each exhale.
Switch legs and repeat the stretch on each leg two to three times.
Standing Doorway Chest Stretch
Stand in a doorway with one foot in front of you. Put your forearms against either side of the doorjamb with your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
Shift your weight toward the front foot, which pulls your shoulder blades together, stretching your chest and tendons in your anterior shoulders.
Hold this stretch for five to six deep breaths, switch leg position, and repeat the stretch.
Never overstretch tendons and ligaments because it can cause them to lose their structure and stability, which keeps your joints together and in alignment. It also can cause tearing, which can be very painful and take a long time to heal.
- "Stretch to Win"; Ann and Chris Frederick; 2006
- "Athletic Development"; Vern Gambetta; 2006
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.