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Treatment Options For Extensor Tendonitis

There are a number of different tendons in your feet and ankles, and they can inflame if they become overstressed or irritated. When a tendon or group of tendons becomes inflamed, it is known as tendonitis, and oftentimes it’s a rather mild condition that can get worse if you ignore the issue and try to push through the pain. One area of your feet that is especially prone to tendonitis is the top of your foot. Here rest the extensor tendons, which help to straighten, move and lift your toes. As you can probably imagine, inflammation in your extensor tendons can make every single step uncomfortable.

In today’s blog, we take a closer look at why extensor tendonitis develops and how Dr. McDonald can help you treat it.

Causes And Symptoms Of Extensor Tendonitis

As we mentioned in the introduction, the most common underlying cause of tendonitis is due to overstress. If you repeatedly stress your feet, like if you are walking for long periods in unsupportive shoes or you increase your workout duration too quickly, these tendons can become overworked. Their natural response to this strain is to inflame, and if you keep putting additional stress on your feet, this inflammation will fail to resolve and it can get worse.

Besides repetitive stress, some other contributing factors to extensor tendonitis include being older, having an underlying autoimmune or osteoarthritic condition, or having an irregular foot shape like a high arch or flat feet that can lead to abnormal pressure on the extensor tendons.

Common symptoms of mild to moderate extensor tendonitis include:

  • Pain on the top of your foot
  • Worsening discomfort when walking or flexing your toes
  • Stiffness
  • Localized swelling
  • Discoloration or warmth on the top of your foot

Diagnosing And Treating Extensor Tendonitis

If you are dealing with one or more of the above symptoms and have reason to believe that you may be suffering from extensor tendonitis, you may be able to treat the issue at home. Dr. McDonald and his team are more than happy to provide hands-on support, but mild cases typically resolve by following some basic conservative treatments at home, so you may be able to avoid the doctor visit by following some smart steps.

Mild cases of extensor tendonitis tend to respond well to short-term rest and protection, which is why the RICE method is usually recommended. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest the area and protect it from additional physical stress, use ice and compression wraps to help manage swelling and discomfort, and elevate your foot above your heart to help move fluid out of the affected area. Anti-inflammatory medications can also prove helpful at this time. 7-10 days of treatment followed by a gradual reintroduction to more physical activities oftentimes does the trick.

If you’re dealing with a more severe case, or you’re plagued by recurrent extensor tendonitis, connect with Dr. McDonald. He’ll begin by performing a physical exam that may involve gently pressing on the area to figure out exactly which tendons are most affected. On top of some of the previously mentioned conservative techniques, Dr. McDonald may recommend a corticosteroid injection or physical therapy exercises to combat inflammation and strengthen areas of your foot to take stress off your tendons. Surgery is not a standard course of treatment for extensor tendonitis, as most people can manage it with the previously mentioned techniques.

Don’t let each step be painful because you didn’t take the time to effectively treat your extensor tendonitis. Instead, connect with a specialist like Dr. McDonald and put your tendonitis behind you once and for all. For more information, or for help with a different foot or ankle issue, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.

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