Achilles Tendon - What is and Definition

Achilles Tendon - What is and Definition

What is Achilles Tendon and Definition

Achilles Tendon - A thick, strong band of connective tissue at the back of the heel that joins the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calf (back of the lower leg) to the calcaneus (heel BONE). The Achilles TENDON makes possible extension of the foot, a necessary element of walking, running, and jumping. A sharp tap to the Achilles tendon with a REFLEX mallet causes the foot to jerk downward; this is the Achilles tendon reflex. Motor NEURON diseases such as AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS (ALS) and post-polio syndrome produce abnormal Achilles tendon reflex responses.

Injury to the Achilles tendon affects the ability to move the foot down. The Achilles tendon is vulnerable to damage during running and jumping, and especially “plant and twist” kinds of movements, common in numerous sports such as baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, football, and running. The tendon may become inflamed (TENDONITIS) or tear (rupture).

For further discussion of the Achilles tendon within the context of musculoskeletal structure and function, please see the overview section “The Musculoskeletal System.”


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The Musculoskeletal System

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