The Achilles tendon, also known as the heel cord or the calcaneal tendon, is the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to the heel bone. It is the largest tendon in the human body and assists the leg and foot muscles in flexing, walking and running.
As the Achilles tendon endures a lot of stress and pressure from everyday activity (3.9 times the body weight while a person is walking and 7.7 times the body weight while a person is running), it is susceptible to disorders, ruptures, tears and inflammation, including Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendonosis.
Tendons connect muscles to bones, and in the case of the Achilles tendon, it connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the calcaneus (heel) bone. It begins in the bottom half of the calf and thins out the closer it gets to the heel, finally spreading back out again at the bottom of the calcaneus bone. Its main function is to help with plantar flexion of the foot and ankle.
People who have trouble with their Achilles tendon (Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendonosis, for example) generally need to see a podiatrist or orthopaedic surgeon for diagnoses and treatment. Rest, medication and orthotics (orthoses) are available options to help relieve the pain and assist in healing.