Achilles was a Greek hero in the Trojan war. As an infant, his loving mother held him by his left heel and dipped him in the river Styx to make him immortal. Later in life, in battle at the gates of Troy, it is said he was taken down by an arrow that hit him in the left heel - where he had no protection. "Achilles' Heel" has come to be known as a weak spot, a flaw, or imperfection.
While there are many different combinations of foot structure, range of motion, activity level, and footwear - there seems to almost always be one common denominator in those with foot pain: a tight Achilles tendon.
What is this formidable tendon, and why is it such a problem? The Achilles tendon serves as the common tendon for 3 calf muscles, which all join together just above the heel bone. It is the largest and strongest tendon in the body. When it is too tight, it has the power to disrupt normal movement and function of the foot and lower leg.
A shortened Achilles tendon may lead to:
Achilles tendonitis (pain at the back of the heel bone)
Strain of the anterior muscles of the lower leg (shin splints)
Mid-foot compensation and over-pronation (flattening of arches)....
which can lead to plantar fasciitis (heel pain), bunions, and many other symptoms in the foot and leg.
So is the Achilles tendon the "Achilles' Heel"? Absolutely!
The good news is that a proper stretching program and a few accommodations in footwear and/or inserts (whether they be off the shelf or custom), can help get things back on track.
Schedule an assessment with the Pedorthist for more information.