A new look at the Achilles' heel
A team of doctors, physicists, chemists and engineers from the Technical University of Munich, the Center for Functional Protein Assemblies and the Munich School of Bioengineering have been working together to unlock the mystery of the Achilles' heel. The new research is published in the journal Nature Materials.
Walking, running, jumping, sprinting, every movement of the foot stretches the Achilles' tendon. Whilst jumping the loads can be up to 10 times the body's weight. The connection between the heel bone and Achilles' tendon withstands tremendous loads.
Until now the biomechanical processes, the micro mechanics and the microstructure of the tissue has hardly been researched. The teams of experts have newly discovered a tissue layer between the tendons and bones that comprises extremely thin protein fibres ensuring remarkable strength. It was previously believed that the tendons attached directly to the bone. In fact there is a transitional zone where the tendon tissue splits into dozens of fine fibres, these fibres are anchored firmly to the surface of the bone and are extremely durable.
About the journal: Nature Materials is a peer reviewed scientific journal published by Nature Publishing Group. Nature Publishing Group publishes academic journals in science and medicine.