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Phone: 309-661-9975
Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates
Call 309-661-9975
Toll Free 866-274-0285
Fax 309-661-9920

Greek Mythology and Podiatry

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The body is comprised of approximately 4,000 tendons.  The largest and strongest of these tendons, the Achilles Tendon, is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.  Mechanically, when the calf muscle flexes, the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel.

This tendon was named after a character in Greek mythology.  Achilles was a demigod - half god half human - the son of Nereid Thesis and Peleus, the king of Myrmidons. He is most known for his contributions in the Battle of Troy, where he slayed Hector, the eldest son of Kim Priam of Troy.  Shortly after, Achilles was defeated by an arrow from Hector’s brother, Paris.  The arrow was guided by Apollo to impale Achilles in his one weak spot – his heel!

So, why was Achilles’ heel so vulnerable?  According to Encyclopedia Britiannica, the myth states that when Achilles was just a baby, his mother, Thetis (a Nereid, or sea nymph) held him by his ankle and dipped him in the waters of the River Styx to make him immortal.  She was unaware that the area she held him, his heel, would not be protected by the waters, therefore sealing his fate.

We see several Achilles tendon ailments in our office – from Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the tendon, to a rupture or breaking of the tendon.  If you have Achilles pain, don’t wait it out!  Give us a call at 309.661.9975

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