2 3 Technical Tuesday Achilles Tendon | Ballet Webb

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Technical Tuesday Achilles Tendon

Technical Tuesday Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon is also called the calcaneal tendon. The gastrocnemius and soleus of the calf come together as one band of tissue which becomes the Achilles tendon. It is the strongest and largest tendon in the body, and an important one for dancers to understand.

The Achilles tendon is subjected to the highest loads in the body, especially during the rigors of classical ballet. It is highly susceptible to injury especially in dancers who habitually fail to “put their heels down”. Correct use of a good plie allows this tendon to relax in between jumps, etc.

The term “Achilles tendon” is said to have been coined by Lorenz Heister, a German surgeon. He based it on the Greek myth of Achilles, whose mother held him by the heel when she dipped him in the River Styx. The water made Achilles invincible – except for his heel.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Anatomical Secret #24b:  
“The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel.”

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― Ian McEwan

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