The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, connecting the heel bone to the calf muscles. It is named after Achilles, the legendary Greek hero who was invulnerable except for his heel, which was his only weak spot.
The Achilles tendon allows for plantarflexion, which is the movement of pointing the foot downwards, as well as for dorsiflexion, which is the movement of bringing the foot upwards towards the shin. These movements are important for walking, running, jumping, and other activities that require movement of the lower leg and foot.
Injuries to the Achilles tendon can range from mild to severe and can occur from overuse or sudden trauma, such as a fall or direct blow to the tendon. Common symptoms of Achilles tendon injuries include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected area. Treatment may involve rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery. Proper stretching and strengthening exercises can also help prevent future injuries to the Achilles tendon.