Peroneal tendonitis is a condition characterized by inflammation or irritation of the peroneal tendons, which run along the outside of the lower leg and ankle. The peroneal tendons are responsible for stabilizing the foot and ankle during walking and other weight-bearing activities.
The condition is typically caused by overuse, repetitive stress, or trauma to the peroneal tendons. People who participate in sports that involve running, jumping, or sudden changes in direction, such as basketball, soccer, or tennis, are at higher risk of developing peroneal tendonitis.
Causes of Peroneal Tendonitis
Peroneal tendonitis is typically caused by overuse, repetitive stress, or trauma to the peroneal tendons, which are located on the outside of the lower leg and ankle. Some common causes of peroneal tendonitis include:
Repetitive activities: Engaging in activities that involve repeated movements of the ankle and foot, such as running, jumping, or dancing, can put stress on the peroneal tendons and lead to inflammation and irritation.
Ankle instability: People with weak ankle muscles or ligaments may be more prone to ankle sprains or other injuries that can cause peroneal tendonitis.
Improper footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support or cushioning can increase the risk of peroneal tendonitis.
Abnormal foot mechanics: People with flat feet, high arches, or other foot deformities may be more likely to develop peroneal tendonitis due to the increased stress placed on the peroneal tendons.
Trauma: Direct trauma to the peroneal tendons, such as from a fall or other injury, can cause inflammation and irritation.
It is important to identify the underlying cause of peroneal tendonitis in order to develop an effective treatment plan and prevent the condition from recurring. A healthcare professional or a physical therapist can evaluate the condition and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of Peroneal Tendonitis
Peroneal tendonitis is characterized by pain, tenderness, and swelling on the outside of the ankle and lower leg. Some common signs and symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include:
- Pain: The most common symptom of peroneal tendonitis is pain on the outside of the ankle and lower leg. The pain may be sharp or dull and may worsen with activity or after prolonged periods of standing or walking.
- Swelling: Inflammation and irritation of the peroneal tendons can cause swelling around the ankle and lower leg.
- Tenderness: The peroneal tendons may be tender to the touch, particularly at the point where they attach to the ankle bone.
- Stiffness: People with peroneal tendonitis may experience stiffness or limited range of motion in the ankle.
- Weakness: In severe cases, peroneal tendonitis may cause weakness or instability of the ankle, which can make it difficult to walk or stand.
- Clicking or popping: In some cases, people with peroneal tendonitis may experience a clicking or popping sensation when moving the ankle.
If left untreated, peroneal tendonitis can lead to chronic pain and instability of the ankle. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of peroneal tendonitis, as early treatment can help prevent long-term complications.
Treatment for Peroneal Tendonitis
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for peroneal tendonitis. A physiotherapist can design a treatment plan tailored to the individual needs of the patient, which may include the following interventions:
Rest and ice: The first step in treating peroneal tendonitis is to rest the affected area and apply ice to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Pain relief: Pain management strategies, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can be used to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Manual therapy: Manual therapy techniques, such as massage, stretching, and joint mobilization, can help improve circulation, reduce pain, and restore range of motion in the ankle.
Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises can help improve the strength and stability of the ankle and reduce the risk of future injury. Exercises may include resistance band exercises, calf raises, and ankle strengthening exercises.
Balance and proprioception training: Balance and proprioception exercises can help improve the stability and control of the ankle, reducing the risk of re-injury.
Gait training: Gait training involves analyzing and correcting the patient’s walking pattern to ensure proper alignment and reduce stress on the peroneal tendons.
Footwear and orthotics: The physiotherapist may recommend appropriate footwear or orthotics to provide support and reduce stress on the peroneal tendons.
Overall, the goal of physiotherapy for peroneal tendonitis is to reduce pain, improve function, and prevent re-injury. The duration and frequency of physiotherapy treatment may vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual needs of the patient.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about peroneal tendonitis please call us at 03 9836 1126.
Cote, P., Wong, J. J., Sutton, D. A., Shearer, H. M., Varatharajan, S., Randhawa, K., . . . Southerst, D. (2019). Management of peroneal tendonitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research