Achilles tendon: One of the longest tendons in the body, a tough sinew that attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone (calcaneus). The name comes from Greek mythology: The hero Achilles was invulnerable to injury except for his heel, which proved his downfall when it was pierced by Paris's arrow. It has also proved, literally, to be the downfall of many athletes who have experienced the sudden pain of its rupture.
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Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012