Si quiere leer este sitio de web en EspaƱol, por favor cambiar el lenguaje en la esquina superior derecha.
Skip to main content

All About the Achilles Tendon

All About the Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon is named after the mythological figure Achilles, whose only weakness was his heel. The Achilles tendon may be named after a Greek myth, but the importance of this tendon to the function of your feet and legs is very real. Do you understand how your Achilles tendon works, and how this key part of your lower body can sustain injury or damage?

Experienced podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Leonard Greenwald provides diagnosis and care for heel pain and other potential symptoms of Achilles tendon issues from his office in San Jose, California. 

Here’s what Dr. Greenwald wants you to understand about your Achilles tendon and keeping your feet and legs functioning freely.

Connecting your calf to your heel

You can feel the bulge of your Achilles tendon at the back of your heel, rising up to meet the muscles of your calf. You have two Achilles tendons, one for each of your lower limbs. Achilles tendons enter your heel bone, where they are cushioned by fluid-filled sacs, or bursae.

Your Achilles tendon activates whenever your calf muscles flex, pulling upward on your heel so you can achieve motions like standing on your toes. Your Achilles tendons have to be both strong and flexible, carrying the weight of your upper body while still giving your heel joint a full range of motion. 

It’s no surprise that Achilles tendon injuries are common, especially as you get older, or if you’re overweight. Achilles tendons also don’t get much in the way of blood supply, another factor that increases the risk of injury in that location. 

Achilles tendon injuries

Even though your Achilles tendon is the strongest, biggest tendon in your whole body, Achilles tendons can become injured or damaged in several different ways. Here’s what you need to know:

Achilles tendon tears or ruptures

Under pressure, your Achilles tendon can give way. You can suffer from tiny microtears, or large tears or ruptures that produce a popping sound. A rupture may require surgical treatment for full recovery.

Achilles tendinosis (tendonitis) or peritendonosis

Overuse may result in symptoms of pain and stiffness felt at the back of your heel, or in your Achilles tendon above your heel, as your tendon gradually thickens and weakens. These conditions, also generally known as Achilles tendinopathy, can require a few weeks of rest for recovery, as well as therapies like icing treatment.

Achilles or heel (calcaneal) bursitis

If the back of your heel gets irritated, the bursa that cushions your Achilles tendon can become inflamed, resulting in pain in the back of your heel that feels worse when you wear shoes.

Supporting your Achilles tendon

No matter your Achilles tendon or heel pain-related concerns, Dr. Greenwald and his team can help. If your heel pain symptoms don’t resolve after a few days of rest, schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenwald for diagnosis and treatment to resolve the root cause of your issue.

Seek treatment right away if you see signs like swelling or redness around your heel, or if your pain becomes severe. Contact our office online or over the phone today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

You Don't Have to Live with Unsightly Warts

Warts on your feet come from an underlying infection and may need professional intervention to get rid of. But, you don’t have to live with the embarrassment of visible warts on your toes, heels, or feet. Read to learn about your treatment options.

Does Plantar Fasciitis Resolve on Its Own?

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes heel pain. If you have this podiatry condition, do you need professional treatment, or will the issue go away on its own? Here’s what you need to know about dealing with plantar fasciitis.

Why Diabetics Should Take Extra Care of Their Feet

It’s always a good idea to take care of your feet. But people with diabetes need additional diabetic foot care. Read to understand why having diabetes means you need to take extra steps to care for and protect your feet. 

Can Bunions Be Corrected Without Surgery?

Bunions can cause significant foot discomfort and make it challenging to find shoes that fit. If you’re not ready for bunion surgery, do you still have treatment options? Read on to learn nonsurgical ways to deal with bunions.

What Issues Can Orthotics Correct?

Orthotics are shoe inserts that can help with many podiatric problems, from hammertoes to fallen arches. Do you have a foot problem that’s treatable with orthotics? Read to learn more about the ways orthotics could benefit you.