LA Rams’ RB Cam Akers’ injury: the 411 plus a ‘lil Greek mythology

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Cam Akers
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Amidst all the speculation this week about the devastating Achilles tendon injury suffered by LA Rams‘ featured rusher Cam Akers, perhaps it is a good time to attempt to separate a few facts from fiction, the wheat from the chaff, and delve a bit into the 411 of this particular injury. (with a sprinkling of a little Greek mythology thrown in for seasoning).

And while we are not medical doctors, we can hang a stethoscope ’round our neck just as well as the next guy.  We can play one on TV just like actors Robert Young did as “Marcus Welby, M.D.” and James Brolin as Dr. Steven Kiley. Or, before that, (if you’re of a certain age to remember black and white TV), a young Richard “The Thornbirds” Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare. We may even do a better job than those three hacks because we can Google anything, and if it’s on the Internet, it’s Gospel, right?

From the git-go, there can be no doubt that this can be a career-ending injury. None moreso than for a running back – a position premised on bursts, cuts, and quick changes of direction.

In short, the Achilles tendon is what allows the body to point the toes of your foot. Connects the calf muscles to the heel. The contracting calf muscles lift the heel by this tendon, and it’s responsible for all the “foot action” basic to walking, running, and jumping. Feet support the body’s entire weight, distributing it over a surface area that allows sudden starts, stops, twists and pivots.

Not a whole lot more needs to be said then about its critical function and importance to an NFL running back.

Must Read. LA Rams: 15 greatest running backs of all-time. light

Plantar flexion is its game, to be precise. You got your plantar flexion and your dorsiflexion action going on down there in the lower leg between ankle and foot. Dorsal refers to the front of the leg, and plantar is considered the back of the leg. This cable-like tendon at the back of the ankle, AKA the calcaneal tendon, is what attaches bone to muscle – more specifically, the Plantaris, Gastrocnemius, and Soleus muscles (they are collectively referred to as the triceps surae muscle) to the calcaneus bone.