Anatomy word of the month: achilles tendon

January 1, 2010 —

The Achilles tendon attaches major calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus, to the calcaneous (heel bone). Achilles was a famous Greek warrior whose mother was one of the immortals, but he was not. His mother sought to protect her son by dipping him in the River Styx, which was believed to have magical powers. She held her infant son by his heel. Consequently, the only part of his body that was vulnerable was his heel. As fate would have it, at the battle of Troy, an enemy warrior, Paris, shot an arrow into Achilles heel and killed him. The phrase “Achilles heel” has come into common usage to describe someone’s personal weakness or vulnerability.

Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?