Achilles tendon

Encyclopedia Article


The Achilles is a long, thick band of tissue connecting the heel of the foot with the calf muscles. Located at the back of the ankle, right above the heel, this tendon is quite visible and easy to locate.

The name of the tendon originates in a famous Greek myth. When Achilles, a brave war hero, was in infant, his mother dipped his body in the River Styx, which was known to give people invincible power. But because she held him by the heel, this part of his body was a weak spot, and eventually he was killed when an arrow hit him right in the heel. This myth is also the source of the proverbial phrase “Achilles heel,” although the proverb tends to refer to a significant weakness in a person’s character, rather than to an actual physical limitation.

Photo Credit: 

"The Achilles' tendon. PD image from Gray's Anatomy, November 26, 2003" by Montrealais is licensed under Public Domain.