Your peroneal tendons are located on the outside of your ankle just behind your fibula. These tendons provide essential stabilization to your foot, working hard to aid in certain foot movements and prevent ankle sprains. If these tendons become irritated, they can inflame, leading to a condition known as peroneal tendonitis. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at why peroneal tendonitis develops and how Dr. McDonald can help you treat the condition.
What Causes Peroneal Tendonitis?
Like most forms of tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis tends to develop as a result of repetitive stress and overuse of the peroneal tendons. If you’re an athlete who doesn’t take enough time off between activities, or you have a physically demanding job where you’re on your feet for most of the day, you may be at a heightened risk for peroneal tendonitis.
Peroneal tendonitis can also develop as a result of poor footwear choices. If you wear high heels or shoes that don’t provide adequate support to your ankle complex, your peroneal tendons may have to work harder to support the ankle joint. This can cause the tendons to inflame or weaken, which puts you at an increased risk of sprains or fractures. Athletes who wear shoes that don’t provide ample support to the ankle are at an extreme risk for peroneal tendonitis and ankle injuries.
Peroneal tendonitis oftentimes presents with similar symptoms, like:
- Pain or discomfort on the back or outside of the heel
- Discomfort that increases with activity
- Decreased one-legged balance when standing on the affected leg
- Feeling unstable when walking on uneven surfaces
- DIscomfort that worsens as the day goes on
If you are dealing with any of the above symptoms, especially if you’ve been putting a lot of stress on your feet of late, you’ll want to connect with a doctor or begin some at-home treatments. Left untreated, peroneal tendonitis only tends to get worse, and that can lead to more intense symptoms or leave you at risk for more severe ankle injuries.
Treating Peroneal Tendonitis
Fortunately, the vast majority of cases of peroneal tendonitis resolve with the help of non-operative techniques, which again speaks to the importance of seeking out treatment at an earlier stage. Your doctor will give you some specific instructions based on your individual circumstances, but oftentimes patients with peroneal tendonitis find relief by pursuing a combination of the following treatments for a few weeks:
- Rest/Activity Avoidance/Activity Modification
- Protecting the tendons with a walking boot
- Physical therapy to strengthen the tendons and to strengthen nearby structures to take stress off the tendons
- Gradual reintroduction to physical activity
- Shifting away from high-impact exercise to some activities that put less strain on the personal tendons
- Changing footwear to a more supportive option
- Platelet-rich plasma injections
The two most effective options are likely rest and physical therapy. You need to protect the peroneal tendons in the short-term so that inflammation can resolve, then you need to strengthen the tendons and the nearby soft tissues so that the ankle complex can effectively handle the stress you put on it. Most patients notice symptom improvement or total relief after just a few weeks of treatment, but you may want to continue some of the above recommendations even after symptoms have resolved to prevent a recurrence.
For more information about peroneal tendonitis or treating discomfort in your foot or ankle, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.