What is peroneal tendonitis and how do we treat it in our Powder Springs, GA podiatry practice? Well, this condition is a kind of tendonitis (tendon inflammation) that impacts the tendons connecting your lower leg to your foot, running along the outside of your ankle. You may also hear it called peroneal tendinopathy. Either way, it's a rare problem for most people, but as a type of overuse injury, it's more common among runners and athletes.

What is an Overuse Injury? man holding lower leg due to peroneal tendonitis pain

An overuse injury describes any joint or muscle problem that develops because or repetitive trauma.Common athletic overuse injuries include plantar fasciitis and turf toe. But peroneal tendonitis is another injury that falls into this category.

Peroneal Tendonitis Causes

As mentioned, peroneal tendonitis is typically an overuse injury. So that means overtraining of any kind could lead to this condition. Still, certain forms of movement are more likely than others to trigger this condition.

Hill running can cause peroneal tendonitis; as it puts your foot in a rolling position that adds pressure to the tendon on the the outside of your ankle. Similarly, marathoners and triathletes often develop this type of tendonitis, because their high-mileage training strains the peroneal tendons.

Even if you aren't a distance or hill runner, you can develop tendonitis if you don't stretch your calf muscles. Why? When your calves are tight, that increases tension on your tendons, making them rub against your bones and causing inflammation. 

Your body type and medical history can also increase your risk. If you've suffered ankle sprains in the past, that ankle weakness increases your risk for tendonitis. High arches can also contribute to your risk for this condition.
 

Signs and Symptoms

With peroneal tendonitis, your ankle may be painful and swollen. You may also experience lower leg pain. (Both will get worse when you're active.) Additionally, the skin around your ankle bone can become tender. And you may develop a mass that moves as your tendons do. 


Diagnosis and Treating Peroneal Tendonitis

It can be hard to diagnose this condition because it shares symptoms with many other foot and ankle conditions. Usually, we can get to a proper diagnosis with a thorough exam and medical history. Sometimes, we'll order x-rays or an MRI, to rule out other diagnoses.

Once we know you're dealing with tendonitis, we can address your pain and inflammation with rest, ice and anti-inflammatories. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need to splint your ankle. In some cases, we'll have you reduce your activity levels significantly to rest your tendons. Many patients will benefit from custom orthotics, since these can help take pressure off your peroneal tendons. And that will reduce your risk for further injury.

As with most overuse injuries, getting early treatment is the key to an easier recovery. So if you notice lower leg or exterior ankle pain during or after a workout? Don't wait around and hope things get better. Instead, schedule an immediate appointment with our office. We'll reduce your pain and inflammation and help you safely return to your favorite athletic activities.