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Peroneal Tendonitis Exercises to Try at Home

by Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT September 28, 2021 0 Comments

Wooble cushion exercise

Tendonitis pain to the peroneal tendon is most often caused by overuse or a quick increase in activity level, leaving the side of the ankle, foot, and lower leg feeling sore. However, peroneal tendonitis exercises that strengthen the foot and ankle can relieve pain and promote better muscle endurance. Keep scrolling to learn more the best exercises to relieve peroneal tendonitis. 

Strengthening Exercises

Working the muscles in the foot and ankle will help with recovering from peroneal tendinopathy. Generally, focusing on the muscle groups surrounding the sore peroneal muscles will help restore the most balance while preventing further irritation.

3-Way Ankle Exercise

Grab a resistance band to get started. First, loop the band around the ball of your foot with a moderate level of resistance. Then, push the foot down against the band as you point your toes toward the floor. Next, bring the band around the bottom of the opposite foot to change the angle of resistance. This time, push the outside of the foot away from the body into eversion. Lastly, cross your looped foot on top of the other leg and hold your hand as far away from the body and foot as possible. Then, push the inside of the foot inward, down and across the body.

Repeat 15 times with each position and repeat 2-3 times on each leg. Make sure to keep the motion slow and controlled, especially with the return. Progress your band strength as tolerated.

Calf raises

Depending on your pain level and balance, you can do this exercise on the floor or on a foam balance pad. Simply stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing straight forward. Then, lift your heels up off the ground as you shift all of your weight into the balls of your feet to work the calf muscles. Go as high as you can while keeping good ankle stability, before slowly returning to the start position and repeating. Doing this move on the foam pad boosts full ankle stability- make sure to be near a chair or counter for balance support.

Repeat 10-15 times for 2-3 sets total.

Toe Extensor Strengthening

This exercise is great for restoring balance to the foot and ankle. Stand facing a chair or bench and place your affected foot flat on top of it. Then, shift your weight forward as you bend the knee to bring it in line with the toes. If flexibility allows, align your knee with the front of your big toe. Then, keep the ball of your foot on the floor as you lift all the toes up toward the ceiling and hold for 2-3 seconds. Make sure you’re lifting all toes together and not just the big toe.

Repeat 10-15 times for 2-3 sets.

Towel toe scrunches

This will help build strength within the foot muscles themselves to better support the ankle. Sit in a chair with a hand towel spread out underneath your feet. Place your feet flat on the floor at hip-width on top of the towel. Then, curl the toes under as you attempt to scrunch up the towel and bring it closer to you. Continue scrunching until you are out of the towel to move and repeat.

Scrunch the toes up to 30 times for 2 sets per day.

Balance Exercises

Challenging your balance is a great way to boost full ankle and foot stability. You can simply stand on one foot or start adding more specific functional moves. For a further challenge add a foam pad, balance disc, or wobble board.

Marching on a Foam Pad

Simply marching in place on a softer surface like a foam pad or grass can help build strength in the lower leg and prepare you for higher-level activities like jumping and running. Step up onto the foam pad and make sure you are well balanced before marching in place on top of the pad. To further strengthen the upper legs, you can increase the height of your march.

Repeat for 1 minute 2-3 times.

Standing Lateral Leg Lifts

What surface you will stand on for this one depends on your comfort level and balance. In the video, she is using a balance disc, which is a very high-level challenge for the ankle when the foot is placed in the center of the disc. Choose your balance level and then shift your weight onto one leg. Then, bring the free leg out to the side as far as is comfortable while keeping the toes and kneecap pointing straight forward. Avoid leaning to the side with your trunk and keep the abs tight to help with stability.

Repeat 10-15 times for 2-3 sets on each leg.

Step-Ups

Stand in front of a step or foam pad for this one. Then, step up onto the elevated surface with one leg and bring both feet to rest flat on the step or foam pad. Return to the starting position by leading with the same leg that you stepped up with. Alternate which leg is leading each time you take a step. This is a great way to build full leg strength while addressing ankle stability- particularly when using a foam pad. You can progress to stepping sideways or placing the foam pad securely on a higher step when comfortable.

Repeat 10-15 times on each leg for 2-3 sets.

Benefits of Exercise

The peroneal muscles run along the side of the shin in line with the fibula bone, wrap around the outside of the ankle (lateral malleolus) and attach to the bottom of the foot on the outside edge of the 5th metatarsal. This leaves a lot of different areas susceptible to pain and dysfunction. A well-rounded consistent exercise program can keep the lower body strong and healthy.

  • Decreased pain and inflammation in the outside of the ankle 
  • Improved endurance and strength for daily activity or sport
  • Expedited rehab secondary to increased circulation
  • Increased ankle and foot range of motion/flexibility
  • Boost your overall quality of life and health
  • Protect against ankle injury and ankle instability
  • A good supplement to a calf stretch routine

Quick Tips

When completing an exercise program for the foot and ankle, there are a few things to watch out for that will help you maximize your results. What works specifically for you and your exercise program will be unique, so always adjust as needed.

  • Do not force any exercise that feels painful on the outside of the foot, back knee, or calves
  • Warm up the legs and ankle joint with gentle stretching, movement, or even walking
  • If you are having trouble tolerating exercise, try pain-relieving modalities first like ice, massage

    Tips for Peroneal Massage

  • Pay attention to the alignment in your foot and ankle with exercise and try to keep it as neutral as possible
  • Gradually progress your exercises to avoid aggravation and allow an eventual return to higher-level activities like running 

    How to Return to Running

  • If you’re struggling with your exercise program during rehab or aren’t even sure where to start, consider a round of physical therapy
  • Strengthening exercises are best when combined with other treatment options like stretching and massage.

    Explore More Treatment Options Here

Safe Peroneal Tendonitis Exercises

Since a peroneal tendon injury is most often due to overuse, a balanced exercise program is best for getting the relief and healing you want. Addressing full ankle, foot, and lower leg stability will help optimize the recovery process as long as you use your symptoms as a guide. If your symptoms aren’t improving or are getting worse and affecting your quality of life, please get in touch with your orthopedic doctor, podiatrist, or physical therapist for further medical advice.

Sources:

https://footeducation.com/peroneal-tendonitis/

Peroneal Tendonitis Products

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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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