In our daily lives, we subject our feet to varying degrees of force and weights. Excessive activities can result in various feet complications and problems. One of these problems is peroneal tendonitis. This is a condition characterized by inflammation and pain of the peroneal tendons.
Peroneal tendons are a strong, cord-like band of tissues. They connect the peroneal muscles to the foot bones. Their major function is providing ankle stability and shouldering the weight. They also help to cushion the feet against sprains. When walking, peroneal tendons are responsible for turning the foot.
An increase in load or overuse of the tendons causes them to rub the bones. This leads to their damage and inflammation due to friction. It results in pain when walking and can limit movement. Athletes and other sportspersons are the most susceptible to this problem—the reason being the intermittent outward rolling of feet during training and sporting.
Some several causes and factors can lead to peroneal tendonitis. The problem is more prevalent, particularly to runners. The is because their work involves a lot of ankle movement. Below is a list of possible factors that can lead to peroneal tendonitis;
- Sudden increase in your training patterns: More so if the training is too intensive involving running, jumping and walking.
- Improper training: This involves unapproved training techniques that strain your ligaments and tissues.
- Using unsupportive footwear when in action: Wearing shoes not well-equipped means your feet aren’t secured. So, your peroneal tendons can suffer strain and overstretch.
- Overuse: Engaging in many activities that involve peroneal tendons can trigger the problem. As the tendons try to provide stability, it overworks. The more friction with the bones will lead to pain and inflammation.
On top of the above factors, several other minor issues can result in the problem. Some of them are biological factors that nobody has control over. There are also those caused by our own ignorance or lack of understanding. These include;
- Having higher foot arches.
- If your lower limb muscles and joints are not healthy enough to function together as it should be.
- Having imbalanced muscle on your lower limbs. This leads to malfunctioning of the joints and nerves.
- Failure to complete medical rehabilitation after an injury.
People experience different levels and types of peroneal tendonitis; Acute and chronic. The acute problem is instant, whereas the chronic type develops over a period of time. Whether acute or chronic, both conditions exhibit several similar symptoms. These include;
- More pain during an activity which decrease when resting.
- Ankle instability when put underweight.
- Experiencing pain when turning your foot in or out.
- Ankle swelling at the back and feels warm to the touch.
Peroneal Tendonitis Home Treatment
Looking at the causes of peroneal tendonitis, change of behavior is a sure remedy. That means you can treat yourself at home without involving any medical doctor. The following are home treatments we can recommend to peroneal tendonitis patients;
1. Wearing special footwear
Wearing ankle braces: Wearing ankle braces decreases the weight applied to the peroneal tendons. That will give the tissues enough time to rest and begin the healing process. Start wearing an ankle brace immediately you start experiencing the symptoms of Peroneal tendonitis. These you can wear together with your shoes for a period of about two weeks. After this period, you can then transition to special shoes fitted with good arch support.
Using walking boots: If the problem persists even after using the ankle braces, your foot needs more resting. Only the walking boots can grant the peroneal tendons that absolute rest. So, the boots should be after you have tried the other simpler treatments. They will reduce the tension on the tendons while still being able to walk around.
Wearing shoes with Arch support: Using shoes with arch support is very helpful. The arch support transfers the force from the outside foot. OTC arch supports may not be very effective like the custom orthotic, but they deliver. There are various models, some with very excellent features like adjustable arch height. The choice should be yours.
2. Hot/Cold therapy
Therapy is one of the most effective methods of peroneal tendonitis treatment. During the first week, RICE therapy your ankle two times a day for at least 10 minutes. A special cold/hot foot wrap allows you to do this while free to walk around in your house. Deep tissue heating and icing repair the damaged tissues, which helps.
3. Safety precautions
When you start feeling better and want to start training, be cautious of the surfaces. You should start on flat surfaces where the chances of tripping are minimal. This helps to prevent the possibility of reinjury.
Peroneal tendonitis is often a result of how you use your peroneal tendons. Thus, there are several things you can do to avoid it;
- Always wear the appropriate footwear whenever engaging in physical exercise. This includes shoes and equipment that support ankles and the entire foot.
- Avoid abrupt change to training workload. You should try a gradual increase.
- If you are a sportsperson, try to keep yourself engaged during recovery. This will ensure you won’t strain your peroneal tendons when you get back.
- After inflammation and pain subside, stretch the calf and the peroneal muscles.
- Avoid training or running on a sloppy or uneven ground.
- After recovery, avoid the temptation of going back to immediate full training.
Frequently Ask Questions
How Long Does Peroneal Tendonitis Take to Heal?
The peroneal tendonitis healing time varies. It will depend on how consistent you are with your forms of treatment and the level of your injury. Acute tendonitis always takes the shortest period than chronic. The recovery process will take anywhere between 4-6 weeks.
Can A Peroneal Tendon Tear Heal on Its Own?
In most cases, if left untreated, peroneal tendonitis won’t heal on its own. This is even worse if you have torn tendons. They will keep inflicting more pain on you when engaging in activities.
Can Shoes Cause Peroneal Tendonitis?
Yes. Improper footwear is one of the leading causes of peroneal tendonitis. For instance, wearing too tight or rough shoes lead to pain and inflammation. Also, if you use shoes with pressing laces, they can inflame the tendons.
Can You Walk on A Torn Peroneal Tendon?
Yes, although with difficulties and pain. Since the condition is due to the use of the peroneal tendons, rest is advisable.
Should I Go to The Doctor for Peroneal Tendonitis?
Contacting your doctor is in order if the pain doesn’t ease after 7-10 days of home treatment. You can also seek medical help if the pain is too severe. Extreme swelling accompanied by profound stiffness should also be a cause for alarm. It may mean you are suffering from ruptured tendons that need surgical intervention.
Can I Still Exercise with Peroneal Tendonitis?
Yes. Although, it is not advisable. If you choose to continue with training, you should at least scale down your activities. Doing so may worsen the situation. Also, I prefer abandoning it altogether if the pain becomes too severe.
The good news about peroneal tendonitis is that it isn’t resistant to treatment. Also, unless you have suffered ruptured tendons, home treatment is enough. If you suspect peroneal tendonitis start the home remedies right away. If you follow your schedule, you should be returning to full training within a few weeks. But, if you don’t notice any changes after 10 days, you should consider seeing a doctor.