The story goes that as a baby, Achilles’ mother took him down to the River Stix and, holding him by his ankle, dunked him into the magical water, which granted invulnerability to every part of him it touched. While he proved to be a great warrior, a poison-dipped arrow eventually found the back of his unprotected ankle and killed him.
Named after the mythical Greek hero, the Achilles tendon is located at the back of the ankle. It is a vital connector within the muscular-skeletal system, responsible for joining the calf muscle to the foot at the heel. The Achilles may be the body’s largest and strongest tendon, but like the story suggests, it is also the most vulnerable. As the body ages, tendons tighten and become less pliable and more prone to injury, unable to absorb the shock of impact during activities like running and jumping.
According to Dr. Sherman Nagler, Houston’s Foot Doc, there has been a recent increase in Achilles injuries among “weekend warriors,” ages 35-55, who are ill prepared for their activities. However, athletes like football and basketball players, dancers and swimmers still face the greatest risk of injury. Both professional and amateur athletes fear the telltale popping noise made by a partial or complete Achilles tendon rupture, and the severe pain followed by lengthy recovery foretold by the frightening sound.
Houston’s Foot Doc, Sherman Nagler, shares the following advice:
Do not leave any injury untreated. Minor problems today may cause long-term, irreversible damage tomorrow. Schedule an appointment with Nagler Foot Center or contact the specialists with questions online, by phone (713-529.1010) or email.
“We may not have access to magical waters,” said Dr. Nagler, “but we still help patients heal quickly and yes, even prevent the suffering and pain caused by debilitating Achilles injuries.”