Tendonitis of the Foot and Ankle
Your feet and ankles are the foundation of your mobility. So, whether you work or play on your feet, pain in this area can give you significant setbacks in your daily life.
To relieve pain and inflammation due to tendonitis — and return proper function in your feet — it’s crucial to get the right help. JAG-ONE Physical Therapy provides personalized treatment of foot and ankle tendonitis.
As regional physical therapy experts, our certified professionals will design a plan to address your specific condition and personal needs, and guide you along the path to recovery.
Do You Have Pain Resulting from Foot and Ankle Tendonitis?
Maybe it’s hard to get out of bed because once you’re on your feet, the pain is crippling. Or you rolled your ankle, and the pain radiates from your toes up to your lower leg.
If you haven’t seen a professional, it can be challenging to identify tendonitis as the source of your pain, but it helps if you know some of the symptoms most associated with it, which include:
- Difficulty walking, running, or long periods of standing
- Pain, burning sensation, or tenderness that radiates in the foot, ankle, or heel
- Discomfort causing loss of motion
- Weakness, tightening, or swelling of tendons
What is Tendonitis?
Tendons are the tissues that connect your muscles to your bones and help you move your skeleton. Tendonitis, or tendinitis, occurs when those tendons become irritated or inflamed. This inflammation can be painful and debilitating. Although they’re strong and fibrous structures, many of the tendons in the foot are vulnerable to injury. In the ankle and heel, the posterior tibialis, peroneal, and Achilles tendons can all become inflamed, and tendonitis can worsen if not treated promptly.
Common Causes of Tendon Pain and Inflammation
Tendonitis is commonly caused by the overuse of extremities. Athletes, dancers, or people who run regularly are more likely to see this injury.
More specifically, causes include:
- Performing repetitive or forceful activities on the feet like running, jumping, or dancing
- Flat feet or fallen medial arches
- Athletic activities that involve high strain on the feet like soccer, tennis, basketball, and running
- Athletic training that increases stress on and the use of tendons
- The use of artificial turf
- An accident that causes trauma to the foot or toe, like a fall with an awkward landing
- Certain medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
Reducing these activities will help prevent strain on the tendons in the foot and ankle and decrease the likelihood of experiencing tendonitis.
Tendonitis in the Foot, Ankle, and Achilles Tendon
Several tendons within the foot and ankle structure can become inflamed or injured. The location of the affected tendon can determine the level of pain you may experience and the course of treatment that is necessary for recovery.
The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the ankle. This long tendon is attached to the heel bone and stretches up to the calf muscle. While the Achilles is prone to inflammation, tears can occur in the weak spot where the tendon attaches to the heel. In addition, further damage may result in the need for surgery. There are various exercises you can do to help avoid Achilles tendonitis.
Extensor tendonitis is less common than most other types. This tendon is found at the top of your foot, so less stress is placed on it during physical activity. Certain health conditions like arthritis can contribute to an increase in swelling and tightness in this area.
Posterior Tibial Tendon
The posterior tibial tendon attaches muscles to the inside of the ankle, extending down into the foot. This tendon is in place to hold up the arch of the foot and support walking. Unfortunately, the inner side of the ankle is one of the most common sources of tendonitis because of flat feet, overuse, and high-impact sports.
These tendons run down the fibula, behind the bump of the ankle bone, along the outside of the foot. This pair of tendons are responsible for carrying the weight when you stand. In addition, the peroneal tendons protect the ankle from sprains.
Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendon
Flexor tendons run down the ankle and foot, like the posterior tibial. However, the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) also extends to the big toe. Thus, flexor tendonitis is typically experienced by people who constantly push off with their toes, like dancers.
How Do You Treat Foot and Ankle Tendonitis?
Depending on the severity of the inflammation and your pain level, you may need to rest and apply ice to the affected area before beginning any physical therapy. Staying off your feet may be difficult, but it is necessary for healing. Your doctor may also recommend an injection of steroids to reduce the inflammation. In addition, you may be treated with anti-inflammatory pain medication, orthotics, or surgery may be necessary. Recovery time for tendonitis in the foot or ankle can take several weeks to several months. However, without proper treatment, recovery could take much longer.
JAG-ONE Physical Therapy for Tendonitis of the Foot and Ankle
JAG-ONE's physical therapists are specially trained medical professionals here to help you recover. With our personalized rehabilitation plan, you can get back to your active lifestyle with interventions that reduce pain and reestablish strength. Some of the standard techniques and interventions that JAG-ONE physical therapists use include:
- Stretching, strengthening, and stabilization exercises
- Manual techniques like massage and joint mobilization
- Neuromuscular reeducation helps restore mobility and improve mechanics
- Electrical and ultrasound stimulation
If you are experiencing foot and ankle pain due to tendonitis or an ankle injury, JAG-ONE Physical Therapy’s experts are ready to assist. Our highly qualified team goes above and beyond isolating your pain, implementing the best therapeutic techniques, and getting you back on your feet.