Peroneal Tendonitis Information

Peroneal tendonitis is the condition that develops as a result of the overloading and stress on the peroneal tendons. Peroneal tendonitis may develop from either acute or chronic overloading of the tendon. Acute meaning the tendon becomes inflamed immediately following stress and chronic meaning the condition develops over a period of time. The information on this page looks at the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of peroneal tendonitis.

Peronial Tendon Anatomy


Below is a diagram of the foot. The peronial tendon is circled in red.

Peroneal Tendon

Common Causes

Peroneal tendonitis is caused by excess stress being placed on the peroneal tendon. As mentioned above, this stress can either be acute or chronic. Common activites that cause peroneal tendonitis are running on unvene surfaces, racket sports, manual work, basketball, hiking and skiing. In general, older people are at a higher risk of developing the condition. This is because as we age our tendons lose their elasticity and become brittle. A brittle tendon is much more likely to develop tendonitis.

Peroneal Tendonitis Symptoms

Here is a list of common symptoms associated with peroneal tendonitis:

  1. Pain and tenderness along the tendon, especially withing close proximity to the ankle and foot. This pain may be during or after exercise, or in severe cases at all times throughout the day.
  2. Stiffness of the foot and inability to stretch without pain.
  3. Swelling around the tendon.
  4. A burning or hot feeling around the tendon.
  5. Pain at night and first thing in the morning.

Treatment Options

Tendons are very slow healers and it could be weeks or even months until all the inflammation symptoms have gone. First, you should cease any activity that is likely to hinder the rehabilitation process. To help with the swelling you may want to apply ice to the affected area. You can do this on and off for 20 minutes at a time. Don't apply the ice directly to the skin, always wrap it in a towel. In needed, you may use over the counter anti-inflammatory medication to help with the swelling and pain.

Ideally, you should avoid walking in shoes that do not have adequate heel support and do not walk around too much with bare feet. Rest is the key to healing peroneal tendonitis. Once the symptoms allow, you may return to exercise or activity but you must ease back into it slowly. When you first return to exercise your peroneal tendon is very vulnerable to inflammation.

In most cases peroneal tendonitis can be treated without the need to see a doctor, but in a few cases further treatment may be required. Your doctor may recommend cortisone injections or surgery if no other treatment methods work.

Prevention

Prevention is always better than treatment, and there are a few simple steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing this condition. First, always warm up and stretch before you begin any exercise. Second, always wear the correct footwear to suit the activity. And finally, if you have been away from exercise for an extended period of time you should ease back in - your tendons won't be used to the stress!

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