Achilles tendon basics
The Achilles tendon connects the foot to the leg. Specifically, it begins at the calf muscle and attaches to the heel bone, creating a flexible connection between the leg and the foot that allows walking, jumping, and running.
It is the longest tendon in the body, and we use it constantly. It has little blood flow, and it’s in a fairly exposed place, so it’s vulnerable.
Achilles tendon injuries
Achilles tendon injuries are common in athletes, but they’re also found in men over 30, in women who wear high heels, and in people with flat feet. In fact, injury to the Achilles tendon is one of the more common injuries your doctor will meet.
One of the most frequent types of injuries to the Achilles tendon is tendinitis, a condition in which the tendon becomes stiff and sore. But you can also tear your Achilles tendon, especially during sports. A quick start to a sprint or an incautious bound can tear your Achilles tendon.
If you rupture your Achilles tendon — a complete break that separates the tendon into two parts — you’ll probably hear it. You’ll need to get medical attention. Your doctor will run tests to be sure there’s a rupture, and then you’ll be looking at extended rest and possibly surgery.
A smaller injury may be treatable at home.