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Peroneal Tendonitis & Tear Overview

by Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT May 09, 2018 0 Comments

Peroneal Tendon Tear

A peroneal tendon tear can interfere with your life in a major way, without the right information and treatment options. If you have pain on the outside of your ankle, especially when turning your foot outward, you could be experiencing peroneal tendonitis. The first step toward an effective treatment is learning everything there is to know about symptoms, causes, and treatment to reduce recovery time and to prevent peroneal tendonitis from affecting you.

What is Peroneal Tendonitis

Peroneal tendonitis is an inflammation of the peroneal tendons. It is caused by prolonged or excessive activity and typically develops over a long period of time.

To understand peroneal tendonitis you first need to have a basic knowledge of the anatomy involved. Tendons connect muscle to bone and allow the muscle to apply force against the joints. The peroneal muscles themselves run along the outside of the shin between the knee and ankle. The two peroneal tendons run along the outside of the ankle/foot and work to stabilize the area and prevent sprains. There are many different causes of  ankle instability and pain- peroneal tendonitis is just one.

Peroneal Tendonitis Causes

Peroneal tendonitis causes are linked to overuse or improper shoe support. It is important to address any of these causes listed below before your peroneal tendonitis progresses into further tendon damage.  

  • Repetitive ankle movements
  • Quick increase in exercise intensity
  • High arches
  • Tight calf muscles

Peroneal Tendonitis Symptoms

Peroneal tendonitis symptoms vary depending on the severity of the injury. Your signs and symptoms may appear gradually or occur immediately after an ankle injury. Take a look at the symptoms listed below to see if you have peroneal tendonitis. However, keep in mind these symptoms are quite general and can also be due to other problems, consult your doctor if needed. 

  • Pain on the outside of the ankle or foot
  • Swelling on the outside of the ankle
  • Tenderness around the ankle
  • Pain when turning the ankle outward
  • Pain when stretching the ankle inward

Diagnosing Peroneal Tendonitis

Your doctor will diagnose your ankle injury based on imaging and an exam of your leg, ankle, and foot. Be prepared to answer questions relating to your recent physical activity. Since changes in exercise routines can cause peroneal tendonitis, notify your doctor of those changes as it will be vital information when obtaining an accurate diagnosis. 

Physical Exam

During your physical exam, your doctor will check your foot and ankle. Pain, swelling, weakness and ankle instability are all signs of peroneal tendonitis. Additional injuries can occur with peroneal tendonitis, so your doctor will determine if you need further testing.

Peroneal Tendonitis Recovery

Peroneal tendonitis recovery time will vary based on the severity of your injury. It is always best to take it easy and allow your ankle to fully heal before getting back into higher-level activities like running or other physical activity. In most cases, this will take between two to three weeks.

Treatment options typically include home options like ice, heat, massage, stretching, exercise, and rest. If you don’t notice an improvement with this time, you will most likely be referred to a physical therapist.

Learn more about proper treatments here

If you have surgery you will not be able to bear weight on that foot for up to six weeks. Expect your doctor to recommend peroneal tendonitis physical therapy after surgery to maximize your recovery and prevent complications.

Preventing Peroneal Tendonitis

If you are active and have recently increased your physical activity or changed your shoes, pain on the outside of your ankle could be peroneal tendonitis. A quick diagnosis with effective treatment will reduce your recovery time. Prevent further damage by resting your injured ankle and exploring one of the treatment options listed above. In no time at all you'll be walking confidently again.

Sources:

https://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/conditions/ailments-of-the-ankle/Pages/Peroneal-Tendonitis.aspx

https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/peroneal-tendon-injuries

https://www.acfas.org /footanklein fo/peroneal-tendon.htm

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Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT
Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT

JayDee Vykoukal is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, owner of the healthy habit platform Health Means Wealth, and freelance medical writer. She loves traveling and spending time with her family in nature. Her passion is helping others continue to participate in the activities they love through education and proper exercise.



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