The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon (a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone) in the human body and is very strong, but is also the tendon we most often rupture. This rupture is problematic when you consider this is the strongest tendon of the body. Everyone who is active can suffer from Achilles Tendonitis, a common overuse injury and inflammation of the tendon. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include mild pain after exercise or running that gradually worsens, a noticeable sense of sluggishness in your leg, and episodes of diffuse or localized pain, sometimes severe, along the tendon during or a few hours after activity. Symptoms also include tenderness, or sometimes intense pain, when the sides of the tendon are squeezed. Other symptoms can be swelling, morning tenderness in the Achilles tendon, or morning stiffness that generally diminishes as the tendon warms up with use. Often simple conservative treatments are beneficial.
What Is The Achilles Tendon?
The 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.