The Achilles tendon connects the back of the calf muscle to the foot (at the back of the heel). The strongest of all the tendons in the body, the Achilles tendon, together with the calf muscles (see comment by Maria below), are responsible for plantar flexing the foot, or pointing the foot downward, and aids people, particularly ballet dancers, to stand on their toes.

There are basically two types of Achilles injury that can befall someone, especially athletes: Achilles tendon rupture and Achilles tendinitis.

An Achilles tendon rupture means the tendon is torn or severed at some point. The most common area of rupture is the point where the Achilles tendon inserts into the calf muscle. Depending on the severity of the rupture, recovery may require a plaster cast of up to eight weeks or surgical intervention.

Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon and in most cases is caused by excessive training over an extended period of time. Sufferers are typically athletes, whose sport requires running, jumping or changing direction rapidly. Athletes in sports such as cycling, football, basketball and tennis are frequent sufferers of Achilles tendinitis.

To learn more about Achilles tendinitis and Achilles inflammation, visit our comprehensive Achilles tendinitis article for additional information.

Until next time, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.

Kind regards,
Brad Walker
The Stretch Coach

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