Foot & Ankle Tendonitis - Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
The Ultimate Guide to Prevent Foot and Ankle Tendonitis
Foot Tendonitis occurs due to inflammation or irritation of the tendons, usually because of stress from repeated movements or injuries. Foot tendonitis is common, but it can cause intense pain and further complications when left untreated. While it could take a couple of months to recover from foot tendonitis completely, early diagnosis can help recover sooner. Preventive measures can also be taken to ensure you don't contract the condition.
What is Tendonitis
Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. It is called tendonitis, when tendons face inflammation or irritation through overuse by excessive movement, running, or stretching. There are various types of tendonitis based on the specific tendons it affects.
Types of Tendonitis
The types of foot tendonitis that can cause intense pain and distress include Achilles, Extensor, Peroneal, Posterior tibial tendonitis, and Plantar fasciitis.
Achilles is used to referring to the tendon that connects your heel bone to the calf muscles. The Achilles is instrumental in helping us perform activities such as running, jumping, and walking.
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
The posterior tibial tendon connects the calf muscles to the bones inside your foot. Posterior Tibial Tendonitis is characterized by pain when you push your feet, a flat foot, and the inability to stand on your toes.
This type of tendonitis foot causes pain and inflammation on the back and outer side of your ankle or foot. The peroneal tendon connects your midfoot and the arch of your ankle to help maintain stability. If contracted with peroneal tendonitis, pain can be felt while standing.
The flexor tendon on tendonitis foot extends from the calf muscle to the toes of the feet through the side of the ankle. This tendon is key in ensuring you can easily bend your toes. Overuse of this tendon can cause pain and inflammation.
The Extensor tendon runs along the top of your foot and connects the toes to the bones at the front of your leg. Extensor tendonitis is relatively rare and prevents you from being able to lift your toes, and causes intense pain during physical activities.
Causes & Risk Factors Associated with Tendonitis
The most common cause of tendonitis foot is overuse. When tendons are continually stretched, used for exercise, or demanded to work harder, it creates an overload leading to tendonitis. Thus, exercising sparingly and taking breaks to rest your feet and ankles is essential.
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Injuries are a common cause of foot tendonitis and tendonitis pain, as frequent involvement in sports increases friction around the tendon leading to tendonitis. While indulging in these activities, it is important not to over-exert yourself.
Footwear is essential in maintaining healthy bone and muscle health at the feet and ankles. When footwear is either too soft, rough, worn out, fluffy, or formless, it can cause irritation or flat foot in certain cases.
Poor Posture or Body Mechanics
Bad posture can often lead to foot and ankle problems as it causes you to place stress on different parts of the feet, causing irregular circulation. As a result, there is poor blood flow, eventually leading to swelling of the ankles.
Symptoms of Tendonitis
While pain is a standard indicator of several foot and ankle-related conditions, it is common to experience tendonitis pain around the ankles while going through foot and ankle tendonitis.
Swelling & Redness
One of the best ways to recognize tendonitis foot or ankle is by noticing swelling and redness along your ankles and foot. This could be due to inflammation caused by tendonitis.
Limited range of motion or stiffness
Tendons around your feet and ankles are important to ensure your feet are flexible and can perform basic activities like jumping, stretching, and running. Thus, foot tendonitis creates a clear obstruction in motion.
Tendonitis pain can be intense and distressing. When you cannot use your feet for daily activities due to swelling, it creates weakness and overall tiredness in a person.
Clicking or Snapping Sensation
Due to foot and ankle tendonitis, your tendons often face inflammation and irritation, and they could further elongate or tear. When tendons are displaced, they often create a clicking or snapping sensation, indicating the condition.
Treatments for Tendonitis
Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medications
Experts usually prescribe safe over-the-counter medications such as painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help relieve tendonitis pain.
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
The combination of rest, ice applied on the affected area, compression (wrap the affected area), and elevation (raising the affected area to the level of your heart) has shown to be an effective method to reduce the adverse effects of foot tendonitis.
Physical therapy is a reliable way through which one can achieve relief from peroneal tendonitis and other forms of the condition. A physiotherapist provides the best advice on the balance between rest, methods, and exercise based on your requirements.
Orthotics or other supportive devices
Since poor footwear causes foot tendonitis, expert physiotherapists often recommend using orthotics - special medical devices that help you recover gradually and other supportive devices, including special footwear.
While resting and avoiding strain on your feet and ankles will go a long way in recovery, other methods such as ice, compression, and changes to diet to include more vitamins and minerals can help you recover smoothly.
When left untreated for an extended period or depending on the severity of the injury to the tendon, physiotherapists may advise considering surgery options, including Gastrocnemius recession, Tenosynovectomy, Tendon transfer, or Ultrasound-Guided Hydrodissection (TenJet).
Diagnosis of Tendonitis
The diagnosis of foot and ankle tendonitis is based on various factors. These include:
Medical history: When a person has already suffered from another physiological condition earlier or has an existing chronic condition, it is examined to determine whether you have tendonitis.
Physical examination: The physiotherapist conducts a thorough physical examination by observing gait, balance, inflammation, bruising, range of motion, etc
Imaging tests: Scans and other imaging tests help identify tendonitis.
Prevention of Tendonitis
Warm-up and Stretching
Before undertaking any continual physical activity such as exercise, running, or jumping, warming up your muscles by stretching them will ensure that your muscles are prepared for exercise, avoiding inflammation and injury.
Unruly, unsupported, worn-out footwear can have serious consequences on your foot, leading to foot and ankle tendonitis. Therefore, if you feel uncomfortable with your current footwear, switching to supportive footwear is best.
Cross-training refers to mixing additional cardio-vascular exercises with your recovery exercises. This means that along with stretching and exercises to recover from ailments like peroneal tendonitis, you can add activities like swimming, cycling, aqua-jogging, etc., to your routine.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Unhealthy weight can impact your posture, and being heavy on your feet can cause pain and inflammation. Take measures to stay at an optimal height, including following a healthy diet, exercising, and more.
Seek Professional Help
Seeking professional help is necessary if foot tendonitis causes severe pain and discomfort. When left unattended, tendonitis pain can cause further complications, which can be avoided with the guidance of an expert physiotherapist.
Finding Relief from Foot and Ankle Tendonitis
Foot and ankle tendonitis is common but can be prevented and treated with the right care. The qualified physiotherapists at Physiotattva are equipped with the expertise and tools to diagnose and treat foot tendonitis and are prepared to send you through a personalized recovery process. Call us if you are suffering from foot or ankle pain and require assistance: +91 89510 47001
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of Tendonitis?
Common symptoms of tendonitis include pain, swelling & redness, limited range of motion or stiffness, weakness, and clicking or snapping sensation in the foot or the ankle.
How do you treat tendonitis in the ankle and foot?
Common treatments for foot or ankle tendonitis are as follows:
Can foot and ankle tendonitis be treated without surgery?
If the cases aren't severe, foot and ankle tendonitis can be treated without surgery.
How long does it take to recover from foot and ankle tendonitis?
If the case of foot and ankle tendonitis is not extreme, it can be treated as early as 1-2 months up to 6 months. In case of surgery, it may take 6-12 months to recover fully.
Is foot and ankle tendonitis a chronic condition?
Foot and ankle tendonitis can be either acute (short-term) or chronic.