Definition

Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement. The injury can include:

    
  • Tendonitis—inflammation of the tendon
  • Tendinosis—tiny tears in the tendon tissue with no significant inflammation
  • The peroneal tendons run along the outside of the ankle bone. Treatment depends on the severity of the injury.

    Causes

    Peroneal tendinopathy often occurs as a result of:

        
  • Repetitive overuse injuries which may occur from regular activities
  • Trauma to the ankle such as a sudden twisting of the ankle or foot
  • A sprained ankle that turned inward
  • Overstretching the foot
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your risk of peroneal tendinopathy include:

        
  • High arched foot
  • Previous ankle sprain or injury
  • Weak ankles
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include pain, tenderness or swelling along the bottom of the foot or side of the ankle. You may also experience weakening or instability in the foot or ankle.

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Your doctor may also need images of the foot and ankle. These may be taken with:

        
  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Your doctor may also inject a medicine in local structures. This can help your doctor confirm what structures are causing the problem.

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

    Immobilization

    A cast, splint, or brace may be needed. They will help keep your foot and ankle from moving to let the tendon rest. You may also be asked to wear special shoes or inserts.

    Medications

    To help manage pain, your doctor may recommend:

        
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs)
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical Therapy

    Physical therapy exercises will help to regain strength and range of motion within the foot and ankle. Other physical therapy methods include ice, heat, or ultrasound to reduce pain and swelling.

    Surgery

    Surgery may be needed in some cases. It can help to repair the tendon or adjust support structures of your foot.

    Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting peroneal tendinopathy, take the following steps:

        
  • Avoiding activities and sports that repeatedly stress the ankle.
  • Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the ankle.
  • Build strong muscles to support your joints.
  • Gradually increasing the frequency and intensity of exercise.
  • Learn proper technique for sports and exercise.