24 May How Much Do You Know About Your Achilles Tendon?
About Your Achilles Tendon?
How much do you know about your Achilles tendon? Here are some intriguing facts about a ligament we depend on for walking, jumping and running.
The Achilles tendon is the thickest, longest tendon in your body.
It’s Named for a Greek Warrior
According to Greek mythology, Achilles was one of the greatest warriors in the world. When he was a baby, his mother held him by the heel and dipped him into the River Styx. This made him immortal in every part of his body except the heel, which didn’t get wet. Achilles later died when an arrow struck him in the heel.
That’s appropriate because injuries to the Achilles tendon have ended the careers of many athletes. This month, U.S. track star Christian Taylor announced he might miss the upcoming Tokyo Olympics because of a ruptured Achilles.
Anyone Can Injure It
Athletes are not the only people who can suffer debilitating injuries to their Achilles’s tendons. Famous people in other professions have also felt the pain of an Achilles injury.
- Late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek once woke to discover a woman had broken into his hotel room. As he chased her out, he ruptured his Achilles tendon
- In 2015, dancer and Riverdance star Michael Flatley told the British press he could barely walk after a lifetime of dance-related knee, back and Achilles tendon injuries.
- Isn’t it ironic? Brad Pitt tore his Achilles tendon while playing Achilles in the movie Troy.
Recovery Is Quicker Than Doctors Previously Thought
Achilles tendonitis used to require a long recovery period. Even after recovery, many athletes did not perform as well as they had before the injury. New rehabilitation techniques, however, have led to much better outcomes. According to a recent study in Foot and Ankle International, about 73% of NFL players can return to their former skill level after an Achilles injury.
The study authors said typical recoveries are shorter now. They noted the example of former Baltimore Ravens player Terrell Suggs, who was able to play at peak performance after six months of recovery.
There is some bad news. For the remaining 23% who don’t recover quickly, Achilles tendonitis is a career-ending injury.
Talk Tendonitis to Us
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we know how to diagnose and treat Achilles tendonitis and other sports-related injuries. If you have pain in your ankles, feet, or lower legs, call us today. We provide the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques in a warm, caring environment.