The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. It is located on the back of the lower leg, surrounded by the calf muscle. The calf muscle is made up of three structures that serve to bundle around the Achilles tendon. The calf muscle begins just above the knee joint and extends down the back of the heel.
The Achilles tendon is the primary flexor of the foot. In other words, without it, you would not be able to flatten or point your foot. The Achilles also affects flexion in the knee. In ancient mythology, Achilles was brought down during the battle for Troy when an arrow pierced the back of his heel. Without the Achilles tendon, we would all be defeated.
If you want to protect your Achilles tendon from injury, there are several steps you need to take. First, be sure to stretch your calf muscles before and after exercise. Next, wear the proper shoes to support your ankles and replace these athletic shoes every six months. Finally, maintain a healthy body weight to reduce strain on the Achilles.
The Achilles tendon is particularly susceptible to ruptures and insertional pain. Other issues affecting the Achilles can include tendonitis, degeneration, and cholesterol deposits within the tendon. If you have pain or discomfort in the back of your heel, ankle, or calf, you may have a damaged Achilles tendon. Call the FAAWC today for an appointment and be on your way to better Achilles health tomorrow.