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The Achilles Tendon and Tendon Injury

What Is The Achilles Tendon?

Achilles tendonThe Achilles tendon is a tendinous extension of the gastrocnemius muscle, and the soleus muscle (or calf muscles).  The Achilles tendon is a long (12-15cm) tendon that condenses into a round tendinous structure that receives muscle fibers from the gastrocnemius muscle (halfway up the lower leg) and then other fibers from the soleus as it extends down the leg.  The Achilles tendon then inserts in the posterior (rear) aspect of the calcaneus (heel bone) and fans out in this area.  As such, it is both the longest and the strongest tendon in the body.   It has been named for Achilles from Greek Mythology

Since this is an integral tendon in walking and running, any pain or injury to this area will interfere with normal activities.  Understanding of these injuries or any pain in the Achilles may allow you to recover quicker or limit additional injuries.  

Achilles Injuries

Achilles Tendinitis/Tendinosis
Achilles Tendon Rupture
Calcific Achilles Tendinosis

Achilles From Greek Mythology

In Greek Mythology, Achilles was born to the goddess Thetis.  Soon after his birth, Thetis received a prophecy about Achilles' untimely death.  Hearing this, she dipped him into the River Styx, holding him by his heel, to protect him from harm.  Since his heel (where she held him) was not dipped in the river, he had a weakness to the tendon of the heel (Achilles Tendon) and he was therefore vulnerable.  During the great battle of the Trojan War, Achilles was struck in his unprotected heel by a poison arrow and died.  This was truly his "Achilles' Heel".

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
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Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute

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