The Trojan hero and son of Thetis and Peleus from a Greek myth: Achilles is the central character in the Illiad and is the most important warrior of the Achaean camp.
Achilles heel (s) (noun) (no pl)
A weakness that seems small but makes someone fatally vulnerable even when he or she is in an otherwise strong physical condition.
Etymology: Named about Achilles
, a hero in the Greek mythology. When Achilles
was a baby, his mother Thetis dipped him into the magical river Styx to make him invincible or unconquerable. She held him by the heel which remained untouched by the water and so it became his weak point. He was killed when the Trojan prince Paris shot an arrow that pierced his one vulnerable spot which was his heel.
In addition to Achilles, the tendon in the lower back of the ankle is now also known as the Achilles tendon.
—Dr. Ernest Klein, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language
, page 15.
The term Achilles heel was first used by a Dutch anatomist, Verheyden, in 1693 when he dissected his own amputated leg.
Achilles jerk (s) (noun)
, Achilles jerks (pl)
A reflex action of the foot that jerks downward when the lower leg muscles contract; Achilles tendon reflex: It was interesting to read about the Achilles jerk relating to the plantar flection as a reaction to a punch on the large tendon that extends from the heel to the calf.
Achilles tendon (s) (noun)
, Achilles tendons (pl)
The tendon that connects the heelbone to the calf muscles: Bruce's left and right Achilles tendons became inflamed from excessive training for the long distance foot races.
achillobursitis (s) (noun) (no pl)
Inflammation and thickening of the saclike cavities that are filled with fluid in the Achilles tendons; retrocalcaneobursitis: Dr. Jackson diagnosed Susan's foot that hurt her so much, and said that she had a case of achillobursitis, or a swelling and painfulness of the bursae, which should be treated immediately.
achillodynia (s) (noun) (no pl)
Pain in the Achilles tendon or in its bursa; achillobursitis: Nigel couldn't take part in the long-distance competition because he suffered from achillodynia
, which was extremely sore and tender.
The Achilles tendon is one of the better-known anatomic features in sports medicine because of the nature of some unexpected injuries to this tendon. It is in the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle (the triceps surae) with the calcaneus bone in the heel.
This tendon is so named for the hero whose heel, according to Greek mythology, was the only part of his body where he was unprotected from harm.
achillogram (s) (noun)
, achillograms (pl)
A reflexogram of the Achilles tendon reflex: An achillogram is part of a method of examination regarding an artery that has caused a muscle insufficiency.
achillorrhaphy (s) (noun) (no pl)
Suture (a stitch in which the opposed surfaces are closely united, or material used in closing a surgical wound with stitches) of the Achilles tendon: Dr. Mathews told Ned that an achillorrhaphy was made to connect the tissues after the operation on his tendo calcaneus, and it would take some time to heal. In the meantime, he was to use crutches to walk and not to put any weight on that foot at all!
achillotenotomy, achillotomy (s) (noun)
; achillotenotomies; achillotomies (pl)
Surgical division of the Achilles tendon or one of the longest tendons in the body, (formally called the tendo achilles
or the tendo calcaneus
) is a tough sinew that attaches the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone (the calcaneus
According to Greek mythology, Achilles's mother held him as a baby by the heel and dipped him in the River Styx to make him invulnerable, but the heel by which she held him remained unimmersed and hence vulnerable, as Paris' arrow in Achilles' heel later proved.
See Achilles' Heel, the Myth for more details.
plastic achilles (s) (noun) (no pl)
A plastic surgery procedure to elongate the Achilles tendon: Plastic achilles is used to stretch the Achilles tendon with the result that a person can then walk normally or to bring relief to constant pain.