Calcaneal tendon

The calcaneal (Achilles) tendon is the strongest and largest tendon in the foot and even in the human body. It is also one of the commonest tendons to injure due to its high biomechanical load but poor vascularity 2.

The calcaneal tendon forms by the merging of fibres of the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles, forming the tendon that inserts into the posterosuperior aspect of the calcaneus.

The upper fibres of the calcaneal tendon have a rounded appearance that become relatively flat about four centimetres proximal to the insertion site. This alignment gives the tendon its spiral pattern that help locomotion.

All the tendons that cross the ankle are enclosed within their own synovial sheath except the calcaneal tendon, which has no covering surrounding synovial sheath but posterior paratendon (so there is no calcaneal synovitis but tendinitis or peritendinitis instead 1). 

Achilles tendon permits the person to rise up on his toes and go forward during walking or running. We also jump upon it. It allows the person to go up and down stairs 2.

The oldest written record for the term Achilles being used to describe the calcaneal tendon was in 1693 by Flemish/Dutch anatomist Philip Verheyen in his text Corporis Humani Anatomia. The use of the term itself is based on the Greek myth of the warrior Achilles 4

Anatomy: Lower limb
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Article information

rID: 32275
Section: Anatomy
Tags: ankle, foot
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Calcaneal tendon
  • Tendo calcanei
  • Chorda Achillis
  • Achilles cord
  • Achilles tendon

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