The tendons in and around the heel are an infamous weak spot for runners. Athletes are often affected by pain in the Achilles tendons or achillodynia.
Anatomy & Importance of the Achilles Tendon
The calf muscle consists of three parts, which join in the lower part of the calf to form the Achilles tendon and insert on the calcaneus (heel bone). The Achilles tendon is 0.5 to 1 inch long and transmits the power of the calf muscles to the bone – in particular to the foot, i.e. the heel.
This region must withstand very high forces, especially when jumping and landing. For example, a force equal to eight times your own body weight acts on the Achilles tendon when you run.
Achilles was a hero in ancient Greek mythology. He was considered indestructible, but he did have one weak spot: his heel. His heel was hit by an arrow during the Trojan War and Achilles lost his life. This legend is the reason why the Achilles heel has become synonymous with vulnerability.