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Anatomical Terminology –Origin of body part names: Achilles tendon


The Achilles tendon or heel cord, also known as the calcaneal tendon (Latin: Tendo calcaneus), is a tendon of the back of the leg, and the thickest in the human body. It serves to attach the plantaris, gastrocnemius (calf) and soleus muscles to the calcaneus (heel) bone. These muscles, acting via the tendon, cause plantar flexion of the foot at the ankle, and (except soleus) flexion at the knee.
The tendon can rupture and become inflamed.

“Achilles’ heel”, referring to a vulnerability, relates to the mythical story of Achilles, an ancient Greek war hero who, as a baby, was dipped into a river by his mother to gain a magical coating of invincibility. Because Achilles’s mother held her son by one heel as she put him into the river, the heel was not exposed to this protective coating and therefore remained his one site of vulnerability.

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