Are you experiencing pain in the back of your calf and wondering how to use a massage gun on your Achilles?
Due to the high amount of stress put on the Achilles tendon during any of these activities, experiencing pain in the Achilles is fairly common.
When left unchecked, dealing with Achilles pain can lead to more serious issues like tendonitis or even a rupture.
That's why ensuring pain relief is crucial.
Massage guns rank high on the list of non-invasive methods to help relieve Achilles pain. These massage tools provide deep tissue massage to help reduce eccentric muscle tension and inflammation, allowing for a faster recovery from injury.
But just as with any massage tool, there are certain steps one must keep in mind to ensure a safe and effective massage session.
So, what guidelines must one follow when using a massage gun on the Achilles tendon? Are there dangers to not following these steps?
Hold on to your hats as we shed light on how to use a massage gun on your Achilles in this article. You'll also learn what you can do before and after your massage session with a massager to get the most out of it.
Let's dive right in!
How to Use a Massage Gun on the Achilles
Making the right use of a massage gun on your Achilles tendon requires following a few simple steps. Here's what you should do:
Choose a flat or ball-head attachment
Using a massage gun on your Achilles all starts with using the right massage head.
Studies have shown that flat or ball-shaped head attachments are best for massaging these body areas, as they allow for a more precise massage. You can tell a flat-head attachment by its wide, flat surface.
For a ball-shaped head attachment, these attachments have a smaller surface area, which allows for more focused pressure. Once you've chosen the right massage head, it's time to set an intensity level.
Set a low intensity level
While it may seem tempting to turn up the intensity level on a massage gun, this is not recommended when massaging your Achilles.
The Achilles tendon is a highly sensitive area and can be easily overworked if subjected to excessive pressure at high-speed settings. That's why it's best to set a low intensity level (around 0–2 on the massage gun's scale) and work your way up gradually.
This ensures you enjoy the benefits of massage gun therapy without putting your Achilles at risk.
Position the massage gun at the top of your calf muscle and slowly move it down
Positioning the massage gun at the top of your calf muscle is key to proper use.
Once you have it in place, slowly move it down towards your Achilles tendon. At this point, you should feel a gentle vibration throughout your leg – if not, adjust the intensity level slightly until you do.
As you continue to move your tight calf muscles from the starting position, take note of any areas that seem to respond particularly well. Just ensure to avoid direct contact with your Achilles tendon and focus on the stiff muscle fibers around it instead.
Deep calf muscles can also be massaged using the massage gun; just ensure to take it slow and adjust the intensity level as needed.
Spend about 2–5 minutes massaging the area
As you massage the area, it's important to be mindful of how much time you spend, as the Achilles is a sensitive area.
Spend between 2-5 minutes massaging the area, focusing on any areas that seem to respond particularly well. Once complete, move the massage gun up your calf muscle and repeat the process for a total of five minutes.
Remember to keep things at an easy pace and always listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right, adjust the intensity level or position of the massage gun until you feel comfortable.
That's just about how you can use a deep massage gun on your Achilles tendon.
By following these simple steps, you can rest easy knowing your massage experience is going to be safe and effective. Next, we'll dive into what you should do before and after using a large or mini massage gun on your Achilles tendon.
Things to Do Before and After Using a Massage Gun on the Achilles
While using a massage gun on your Achilles is fairly safe, there are a few things you should do beforehand as well as after to ensure optimal results.
Follow these steps for the best massage gun experience:
Getting the most out of your massage gun session starts before you even use it. Here's what to keep in mind:
Warm up the area
Warming up your Achilles tendon before a massage gun session is essential.
Doing so increases the blood flow in your calf muscle and Achilles tendon, helping to loosen up the area before you apply gentle pressure with your large or compact massage gun.
To warm up, do some light stretching exercises for the calves and Achilles (but not too much!) or take a hot shower prior to using your device. Other effective exercises include calf raises, squats, and leg swings.
Drinking water before any massage therapy session is essential for obtaining the best results.
This helps to keep your muscles hydrated and allows them to better respond to the massage process. It also helps to release any toxins that may have built up in your posterior muscles, promoting healing and recovery.
Make sure you drink plenty of water an hour or two before massaging your Achilles.
Apply a topical analgesic
For an even more effective massage gun session, consider applying a topical analgesic to the area prior to use.
Topical analgesics are available in many forms, from creams to gels and sprays.
They help to reduce severe pain and discomfort in the area that you are massaging. It is important to note that some products may cause skin irritation, so it is best to follow the instructions provided on the packaging.
This will help ensure you get the most out of your massage gun session.
Once you're done with your massage therapy session, there are a few things that can help you maximize its effects.
Cool down the area
Once you're done massaging your Achilles, it's time to cool down the area.
Doing so helps reduce inflammation, stimulate pain relief in the area, and promote better recovery.
To cool down, you can simply apply an ice pack or cold compress to your calves and Achilles for 10 minutes. You can also opt for a cold shower or an ice bath.
Just make sure not to overdo it, as this could lead to more discomfort and inflammation.
Don't do anything strenuous
With your Achilles freshly managed, it's important to avoid any daily activity that could cause further damage or inflammation.
This means avoiding strenuous activities like running, jumping, or any other type of high-intensity exercise for at least 24 hours. This will help ensure the best possible recovery.
If you really have to do any physical activity, try to keep it light and focus on stretching or some low-impact exercises like yoga.
With your Achilles tendon all relaxed and ready to go, it's best not to do anything too strenuous.
Drink more water
Just as it's important to drink plenty of water before a massage session, it's also essential to keep up the hydration after.
Drinking more water helps your sore muscles and tendon fibres stay hydrated, which can help them recover faster from the massage session. What's more, oxygenated blood flow helps reduce inflammation and pain.
Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to help achieve this. This will help ensure you get the most out of your deep massage session.
These are just a few of the things you need to keep in mind when using deep massage guns to target your Achilles tendon. Following these tips will help ensure that you get the most out of your percussive therapy session and enjoy the best possible results.
Let's dive into just why you should use massage guns on your Achilles tendon.
Why You Should Use a Massage Gun on Your Achilles
Just as we've mentioned earlier, the Achilles tendon is a sensitive area and can be easily overworked if subjected to too much pressure.
That's why using a massage gun on your Achilles tendon can be beneficial. Here's how:
Helps with Achilles tendinopathy
Ever experienced a sharp pain in your Achilles area? If so, you may be suffering from Achilles tendinopathy.
This medical condition occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed and irritated due to overuse. Making use of a massage gun can help reduce inflammation and offer relief.
This is made possible by the massage gun's percussive therapy, which helps break up scar tissue and promote blood flow, which aids in the healing process. You'll also find that the vibration therapy helps to loosen tight muscles in the area, relieving posterior muscle soreness and pain.
If you're an athlete or just someone who leads an active lifestyle, then using a large or compact massage gun on your Achilles tendon can be beneficial.
Our Achilles is made up of tendon fibres, which are responsible for connecting muscles to bones. As we age, these tendon fibres become less flexible, which can eventually lead to pain and passive stiffness.
By using a massage gun on your Achilles, you can help loosen tight muscles around the area, improving muscle flexibility and decreasing the risk of injury. This will make taking part in any physical activity much easier and more enjoyable.
Relieves muscle soreness
Using a massage gun on your Achilles can help relieve muscle soreness and tightness in the area.
As you may well know, the Achilles tendon is prone to stiffness due to overuse or not stretching enough. This can restrict your range of motion and cause discomfort.
What's more, sore muscles around your Achilles may become tight due to a lack of movement or poor posture. That's why using a massage gun on the area can help loosen up these stiff muscles, relieving muscle soreness.
Eliminates injury risk
Do you know what's worse than having sore and tight muscles?
Having an injury.
The Achilles tendon is a major source of power for activities that include running, jumping, and even walking. And when it becomes too tight or weak, you're more likely to get injured during physical activity.
An injured Achilles can be especially troubling for individuals and professional athletes alike, as it can take time to heal and may even require surgery.
That's why it's best to avoid this scenario altogether by massaging your Achilles tendon.
With a percussive massage gun, you can help increase blood flow to the area, improve muscle flexibility, and reduce tightness. All of which can help limit the chances of you experiencing an ankle injury or strain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still got questions on how to use a massage gun on the Achilles tendon?
Browse through our FAQs below to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we get on this topic. Reach out to us if you need any extra answers.
How often should I use a massage gun on my Achilles?
As with all forms of massage technique, the frequency at which you should use a massage gun on your Achilles depends on your individual needs and goals.
In general, it's recommended that you use the massage gun once or twice per week for best results. If you're dealing with a particularly sore Achilles tendon, then daily use may be beneficial, but always listen to your body and stop if any muscle pain is experienced.
This allows the stiff muscles around your Achilles tendon to relax and heal properly before you apply any pressure again.
What kind of massage does one get from using a massage gun on the Achilles?
Massage guns are specially designed to provide percussive therapy.
This gentle form of massage therapy is known for having a deep tissue effect, as it uses rapid bursts of pressure to penetrate into major muscle fibers and break up scar tissue.
Other proven benefits of percussive therapy include increased blood flow to where it's needed, as well as loosening tight muscles and providing relief from major muscle soreness, as we've already discussed. If this form of therapy does sound right up your alley, then make sure to try other forms as well, as it's all about finding what works best for you.
Cross-friction massage is a great option to try, as it helps to break down existing scar tissue and promote collagen production. Other forms of intensive massage therapy, such as pressure massage technique, point therapy, and sports massage, can also be used to target specific areas of the body.
Besides massage guns, what other massage tools can I use on my Achilles?
Besides massage guns, there are a few other massage tools that can be used on the Achilles tendon.
These include foam rollers, massage balls, and leg massagers.
Leg massagers are perhaps the best choice when targeting the Achilles tendon, as they are specially designed with leg sleeves that wrap around your leg muscles for a specific and targeted massage. High-end models like the Air C Pro give you the ability to adjust the intensity of your massage, allowing you to customize your experience.
Foam rollers are also a great option, as they can help increase blood flow, reduce tightness, and improve mobility. They work by using your body weight to apply maximum pressure to the affected area.
Finally, massage balls are excellent for providing a deep-tissue massage and improving circulation. Just make sure that you use a high-density ball for maximum effectiveness.
This can include a lacrosse ball or an even denser massage ball.
Are there any precautions I should take when using a massage gun on the Achilles?
When it comes to using a large or mini massage gun on the Achilles tendon, there are a few important precautions that you should take.
Firstly, it's best to start off with a slow speed and low intensity setting when beginning your massage, as we've outlined. This will help to avoid any potential strain or overstretching of any major muscle.
It's also important that you avoid your ankle joint and only massage the surrounding muscles of the Achilles. This is to avoid any potential damage to the joint and ligaments.
Finally, it's best to avoid over-massaging the area for long periods of time, as this can reduce your range of motion due to muscle fatigue and tightness. So, feel free to take breaks throughout the session to ensure that you stay comfortable and don't overwork your Achilles tendon.
When should I stop using a massage gun on my Achilles?
While adding a massage gun to your Achilles tendon treatment plan can be incredibly helpful, there are certain time periods when you should avoid using one.
Firstly, if you experience any pain or discomfort while using the massage gun, then stop immediately. This could be a sign that you're applying too much pressure or going too deep with your massage sessions.
Also avoid using a massage gun if you have an open wound or infection on the tendon, as this could cause further irritation and other painful spots. Other alternative treatment options can be used if necessary. This could include physical therapy, stretching, icing, and using anti-inflammatory medications.
If in doubt about what alternatives to use, always seek medical advice from a healthcare professional before continuing any future treatment.
Besides the Achilles, what other leg areas can I use a massage gun on?
The Achilles area is certainly an important one to target when getting massage therapy.
But there are a few other areas of the leg that you can use a massage gun on.
These include the hamstrings, calves, quads, and glutes.
All of these muscles can benefit from regular massage sessions, as they help to improve blood flow and reduce tension in the muscle fibers. Also, recall how they come with a wide range of speeds and settings? This will allow you to target each of these areas with specific intensity and speed, depending on your needs.
Other known areas of the body that can benefit from massage guns include the neck, arms, and back.
Now that you know how to use a massage gun on your Achilles, it's time to start incorporating it into your weekly routine.
This begins with choosing the right massage head, starting with a low-speed level, positioning your deep massage gun right at the top of the Achilles tendon, and then spending between five and ten minutes massaging the area.
By doing this regularly, you can increase flexibility in your Achilles tendon, reduce tightness, and even help prevent overuse injuries from occurring. Conditions that impede muscle strength, like Achilles tendonitis, can also be managed with the use of a compact massage gun.
Just make sure to take all the necessary precautions and follow the guidelines to maximize the safe and effective use of your recovery device.
These include warming up before using the massage gun, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, applying ice afterwards, and avoiding any high-intensity activities for at least 24 hours after treatment.
Following these guidelines can help ensure that you get the most out of your massage session. Contact us if you have any questions or need more advice on how to use a massage gun for the Achilles tendon.
We'll be more than happy to help.