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Achilles Tendon

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  • Alternative Names
    • Heel cord
    • Calcaneal tendon
  • Origin
    • Coalescence of the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles to form a common tendon
    • Plantaris, when present, also inserts into Achilles
    • Arises in the middle calf
  • Insertion
    • Calcaneal tuberosity of the Calcaneus
    • Rotates approximately 90 degrees laterally during its course to insert[1]
  • Characteristics
    • Approximately 12-15 cm long
    • Thickest, strongest and largest tendon in the human body
  • Paratenon
    • No tendon sheath, just a large highly vascularized paratenon
    • Acts as a conduit for the vasculature of the tendon and facilitates tendon gliding between the subcutaneous tissue and posterior fascia[2]
  • Kager's fat pad
    • Located anterior to Achilles tendon
    • Protects blood vessels entering the tendon[3]
  • History
    • Named after Greek hero Achilles


  • Plantarflexion of the ankle

Vascular Supply


Clinical Significance

See Also


  1. Ma�ulli, N.; Aicale, R.; Tarantino, D. Tendinopathy of the Achilles Tendon. In Ankle Joint Arthroscopy: A Step-By-Step Guide; Allegra, F., Cortese, F., Lijoi, F., Eds.; Springer: Cham, Switzerland, 2020; pp. 227–237.
  2. Lohrer H, Arentz S, Nauck T, Dorn-Lange NV, Konerding MA. The Achilles tendon insertion is crescent-shaped: an in vitro anatomic investigation. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008;466(9):2230–2237.
  3. enjamin M, Moriggl B, Brenner E, Emery P, McGonagle D, Redman S. The “enthesis organ” concept: why enthesopathies may not present as focal insertional disorders. Arthritis Rheum. 2004;50(10):3306–3313.
  4. Chen TM, Rozen WM, Pan WR, Ashton MW, Richardson MD, Taylor GI. The arterial anatomy of the Achilles tendon: anatomical study and clinical implications. Clin Anat. 2009;22(3):377–385.
Created by:
John Kiel on 4 May 2021 14:43:09
Last edited:
26 May 2021 12:54:03