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Achilles tendon (Achilles? tendon), also known as the calcaneal tendon or the tendo calcaneus, is a tendon of the posterior leg. It serves to attach the plantaris, gastrocnemius (calf) and soleus muscles to the calcaneus (heel) bone.

Achilles is the tendonous extension of three muscles in the lower leg: gastrocnemius, soleus, and plantaris . In humans, the tendon passes behind the ankle. It is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body. It is about 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long, and begins near the middle of the calf, but receives fleshy fibers on its anterior surface, almost to its lower end. Gradually becoming contracted below, it is inserted into the middle part of the posterior surface of the calcaneus, a bursa being interposed between the tendon and the upper part of this surface. The tendon spreads out somewhat at its lower end, so that its narrowest part is about 4 centimetres (1.6 in) above its insertion. It is covered by the fascia, and the integument , and stands out prominently behind the bone; the gap is filled up with areolar and adipose tissue, along its lateral side, but superficial to it, is the small saphenous vein. The Achilles muscle reflex tests the integrity of the S1 spinal root. The tendon can receive a load stress 3.9 times body weight during walking and 7.7 times body weight when running.

The most common Achilles tendon injuries are Achilles tendinosis and Achilles tendon rupture. Achilles tendinosis is the soreness or stiffness of the tendon, generally due to overuse. Achilles tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) was thought to be the cause of most tendon pain, until the late 90's when scientists discovered no evidence of inflammation. Partial and full Achilles tendon ruptures are most likely to occur in sports requiring sudden eccentric stretching, such as sprinting. Achilles tendon rupture is a partial or complete break in the tendon; it requires immobilization or surgery.

Initial treatment of damage to the tendon is generally nonoperative. Orthotics can produce early relief to the tendon by the correction of malalignments, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are generally to be avoided as they make the more-common tendinopathy (degenerative) injuries worse, though they may very occasionally be indicated for the rarer tendinitis (inflammatory) injuries. Physiotherapy by eccentric calf stretching under resistance is commonly recommended, usually in conjunction with podiatric insoles or heel cushioning.

In a case where Achilles tendon rupture is concerned, there are three main types of treatment:

Depending on the severity of the injury, recovery from an Achilles injury can take up to 12?16 months.