People with pain in the Achilles tendon, which connects the muscles of the calf to the heel, should consider getting their cholesterol checked. In research involving 200 people, those with a common form of hereditary high cholesterol were nearly seven times more likely than those without to report tendon pain lasting three days or more, researchers report in the March 2006 issue of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. cholesterol builds up in the tendons, as well as the arteries, causing pain and swelling."
Sounds like it's not a rheumatic problem, then. We recently reported the story about how different ways men and women store fat manifests itself in how heart disease appears differently in women than in men, and why some traditional tests don't reveal the disease in women. Now, fat deposits in the tendons can be a tip-off for cholesterol problems.
So far, I've missed that one. Knock wood.
As you all know, Achilles was dipped in the river Styx by his mother, Thetis, until he was invulnerable. But she held him by the heel as she dipped, leaving that tiny area unprotected, hence the Achilles heel, which may literally or metaphorically indicate a weakness that can bring down an apparently inpregnable person or thing. Achilles was slain by a wound in his heel inflicted by the heel, Paris.
Or, as one of the students quoted in The Boners Omnibus: "He was dipped in the river Stinx by his mother until he was intolerable."
[Illustration from mlahanas, along with more of the story.]