Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Tendonitis

Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Tendonitis

You might think the reoccurring pain in your foot and ankle is normal. But what happens when this pain and discomfort remains and impacts your ability to move, walk and do the things you love?

Without suitable diagnosis and treatment, foot or ankle tendonitis can significantly impact mobility, comfort and livelihood. Worse, it can lead to permanent damage. An appropriate treatment plan is essential if you think you have tendonitis or are living with tendon issues. We’ve got you covered if you’re unsure where to find treatment and how to relieve your tendonitis. Before seeking treatment, you might want to understand what tendonitis is, its causes and its symptoms.

What Is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of tendons. Your tendons are solid bands of cord-like fibers connecting your muscles to your bones. They promote body movement by applying force to bones when your muscles contract.

When these tendons are overworked or overstretched, they can become inflamed and swollen, leading to tendonitis. While you can experience tendonitis anywhere in the body, it commonly occurs in the foot and ankle. Because you use feet and ankles for most basic movements like walking, running and playing sports, these joints and tendons are more prone to overexertion.

What Causes Tendonitis?

Many factors can cause tendonitis, including overuse injuries, rheumatic disease and unique foot structure. Some of these factors can develop over time, while others might be side effects of illness or physical structure.

  • Overuse: You might overexert or stretch your muscles too far during moderate movement or, more commonly, intense physical activity like playing sports.
  • Infection: Excess sugar in your blood from diabetes can speed up advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) production, impacting your tendon structure and functionality. This change can result in thicker tendons, reducing the ability to support your weight and leading to injury.
  • Medical condition: Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to joint inflammation, impacting the tendons
  • Injury: Sudden or prolonged foot or ankle injury can strain the tendons.
  • Foot structure: If you have flat feet or high arches, you might overuse specific muscles, causing and imbalance and straining your tendons.

Symptoms of Foot and Ankle Tendonitis

Recurring pain and swelling during movement can be common signs of tendonitis. These can occur in various foot and ankle areas depending on the type of tendonitis. The location and severity of tendonitis can also cause varying pain levels and symptoms. Here are some more common symptoms of tendonitis:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Bone spurs
  • Enlarged tendon
  • Dull and recurring foot pain
  • A bump or lump on the tendon
  • Tenderness around the affected area
  • Cracking feeling when moving the tendon
  • Red bruising and warmth around the tendon
  • Worsened pain during movement and physical activity

Types of Foot and Ankle Tendonitis

Common types of tendonitis include Achilles tendonitis, peroneal tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis and extensor tendonitis. Tendonitis variants can have varying causes and impact your foot and ankle differently.

Achilles Tendonitis

Overuse injuries commonly cause Achilles tendonitis. Runners and other athletes can be prone to this tendonitis due to constant and intense pressure on their joints during physical activity. Achilles tendonitis can have symptoms like pain at the back of the ankle, heel pain and tenderness during physical activity like walking and running.

Extensor Tendonitis

Extensor tendonitis can occur at the top of your foot and is commonly caused by wearing unsuitable shoes or footwear that doesn’t fit or is too tight. For example, when runners wear the wrong or poorly fitted shoes, their footwear can rub against their foot and aggravate the extensor tendon over time, causing pain at the top of the foot. This tendonitis is common in runners, figure skaters and dancers.

Peroneal Tendonitis

Peroneal tendonitis impacts the stabilizing tendons in the ankle. Peroneal tendons support your ankle while walking, keeping it stable and preventing it from rolling over and spraining. This tendonitis is often caused by overuse and can happen suddenly due to ankle injury. When these tendons become inflamed, they can cause side effects like ankle instability and pain in the back of the ankle.

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

Posterior tibial tendonitis often causes pain on the inner side of the foot and ankle. This tendonitis is often caused by recurring trauma or injury to the tendons due to sudden or quick movement. Symptoms of posterior tibial tendonitis can include pain, tenderness and swelling on the inside and back of the ankle. It can also cause difficulty standing on your tiptoes.

How to Treat Tendonitis

How to Treat Tendonitis

Self-care is a suitable initial treatment if you’re experiencing tendonitis symptoms and have not yet seen a physician. At-home tendonitis treatment can include:

  • Rest: Take a break from physical activity and strenuous movement to avoid tendon damage.
  • Ice: Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the pain site, avoiding direct contact with your skin.
  • Compression: Wrap a bandage around the pain location to compress and reduce swelling.
  • Elevation: Keep your foot elevated above your heart when sitting down.

Living With Foot and Ankle Tendonitis

If you’ve been diagnosed with foot or ankle tendonitis, you need a custom treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and successfully treat your tendonitis. Here are some common treatments to manage foot and ankle tendonitis:

  • Orthotics: This therapy can include splints, braces and specialized shoes to support your arch and reduce strain on your tendons.
  • Physical therapy: This treatment can consist of stretching and strengthening the muscles to reduce pain and trauma on the affected tendon.
  • Soft cast or boot: A customized cast or boot can help keep your foot and ankle stable in one position, preventing movement and supporting you in distributing weight evenly.

When to Seek Treatment for Tendonitis

You should seek treatment for tendonitis if you experience any severe symptoms, including:

  • Inability to bend or flex your toes
  • Inability to walk or support weight on your foot
  • Swelling in and around your foot and ankle
  • Cracking, snapping or popping sounds in your foot and ankle during movement

Treat and Manage Tendonitis With Help From Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates

Treat and Manage Tendonitis With Help From Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates

You can manage your symptoms and treat tendonitis with expert and professional foot and ankle treatment. Getting treatment sooner rather than later is critical, as neglecting diagnosis and treatment can damage your ankle and foot ligaments.

If you want to avoid permanent tendon injury, we can help! At Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, we understand the importance of a custom treatment plan to relieve your tendonitis symptoms and help you get back to where you deserve and want to be. Our dedicated staff is committed to helping you get the best treatment and will support you with every step of your journey to recovery.

Fill out an online form, or call us at 360-754-3338 for a consultation.



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