While athletes often experience peroneal tendonitis, it’s actually very common. It is caused by excessive stress on the peroneal tendon in the foot, so in addition to athletes, we see it in women who wear high heels, factory workers or anyone who stands a lot, and people who work on uneven surfaces. Like many foot conditions, this one won’t get any better unless it’s treated, so we recommend coming in for an examination.
To understand peroneal tendonitis, here’s a quick little anatomy lesson. There are two peroneal tendons that stabilize your foot and protect it from sprains. They stretch side-by-side from the fibula (calf bone) down into the foot behind the ankle bone. One connects to the outside of the foot while the other runs under the foot and connects near the inner side of the arch.
When one or both of them become inflamed, that’s called peroneal tendonitis.
It’s usually a result of either repetitive overuse or injury, such as a sprained ankle. We see this injury mostly with athletes like runners, skiers, hikers, and basketball and tennis players.
Symptoms include pain or tenderness around the ankle or foot, swelling, stiffness, pain while stretching, a concentrated warm feeling in the foot, and a foot that feels warm to the touch. These symptoms might come on suddenly (acute) following some type of injury or overuse like an intense workout or game, or the pain may come and go over a period of time (chronic).
Peroneal tendonitis can be easily confused with an ankle sprain, so it’s important to see a podiatrist if you begin experiencing any of these symptoms. When you visit our office for an examination, we will take a careful look at the foot and ankle and may do an X-ray to evaluate the injury and rule out other possible causes of the pain.
Along with an examination and a thorough medical history, additional testing may be required to confirm a diagnosis of Sciatica. MRI, CT, Electromyogram and Radiographs are all examples of tests that may be obtained to further evaluate Sciatica.
Peroneal tendonitis is a notoriously slow healer, and it will definitely not heal if you continue to do the activity that caused the injury. In addition to rest, treatment options may include immobilizing the foot with a splint or cast to allow the injury to heal, orthotics, prescribing anti-inflammatory medications, applying ice and physical therapy. Platelet Rich Plasma Injections (PRP) have also been effective in helping peroneal tendonitis. Surgery is only used as a last resort and will only be considered if there has been a tear to the tendon. But we always try the most conservative treatments first.