The term ‘Achilles tendon’(or ‘heel’) originates from Homer’s lliad, in which Achilles is the greatest warrior; a hero in greek mythology. According to legend, his mother, the immortal nereid Thetis, dipped baby Achilles by the ankle into the River Styx. Known for its powers of invulnerability, the river clad Achilles in an invisible, impenetrable shield. Unfortunately, the ankle by which he was held was not so cloaked and he was eventually felled from a poison dart. For this reason, we refer to a weak spot as the achilles heel.
In truth, the Achilles tendon is thick and strong, measuring about 6 inches long (15 cm) for the average adult and yet even still, an injury to the achilles tendon can be extremely painful and debilitating. In normal exercise such as walking or swimming, it receives a stress load of as much as 4 times body weight, and when running, that can double. Under such heavy stress, injuries occur more frequently- it’s important that athletes are using proper equipment and techniques.