The Human Body’s ‘Chink in the Armor’
The term “Achilles’ heel” has a rather interesting origin. Modern thinkers tend to define it as a point of weakness in someone who has an otherwise strong constitution. For example, a bodybuilder who can bench press 400 pounds might also have an ankle that gives out occasionally, or a nutritionist who maintains a perfectly healthy diet might not be able to pass up a delicious chocolate bar. This idea of a proverbial “chink in the armor” stems from the death narrative of the Greek hero Achilles, the central character of Homer’s “Iliad.” Although Achilles’ death is not presented in the novel, other sources concur that he died after being shot in the heel with an arrow. Later legends state that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel because when his mother dipped him in the River Styx as an infant, she held him by his heel.
Though many people doubt that a great warrior like Achilles could have died from one arrow to the foot, any person who has experienced a rupture in their Achilles tendon can attest to the pain the hero must have felt. The Achilles tendon is a thick rope-like structure that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone, and it helps control the movement of the foot. People with an Achilles tendon tear often report a “pop” in the back of the ankle when the injury occurs. Depending on the severity of the injury, the patient will have to wear a cast or a walking boot, or they might need surgery.
Our therapists here at In Motion O.C. offer various treatments to rehabilitate this tendon post-surgery. They will start by evaluating the ankle, specifically checking range of motion, strength, quality of motion, and functional ability. After that, they will provide hands-on treatment to relieve soft tissue restrictions of the calf, lower leg, and foot to improve ankle mobility. As patients’ symptoms improve, our therapists will educate them on functional activities to help them return to full physical activity.
In addition to rehabilitation, our therapists help patients prevent future Achilles injuries. If you are experiencing any pain symptoms localized in your heel or just want some more information, please come see us for a free consultation. Because while we know that everyone has their own version of an Achilles’ heel, we can help you avoid the experience of having to deal with the actual pain.