What is peroneal tendonitis?

Peroneal tendonitis (also known as peroneal tendinopathy) is a form of tendonitis that affects the foot and ankle. Peroneal tendonitis is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the foot and up the outside of your lower leg when walking or running.

Peroneal tendonitis is rare and caused by overuse that impacts athletes such as runners and longer distance walkers.

Causes of peroneal tendonitis

Causes of peroneal tendonitis include:

  • Repetitive running on sloped streets can cause peroneal tendonitis; as your foot rolls outward, the friction increases between the tendon and the bone, and this over pronation can increase this tension between the tendon and the bone.
  • Marathoners or long distance runners commonly get peroneal tendonitis from the repetitive motion of running long distances.
  • Tight calf muscles increase the tension on the tendons and causes them to rub more which can cause peroneal tendonitis.
  • People who have recurrent ankle sprains are more likely to develop peroneal tendonitis because the ankle is weaker around the injury.

Risk factors for peroneal tendonitis

Risk factors for peroneal tendonitis include:

  • People with high arched feet are more likely to develop peroneal tendonitis.
  • Runners who run at a fast pace or do interval workouts are at a higher risk of developing peroneal tendonitis.
  • People with tight calves are more likely to develop the condition.

Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis

Immediate symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include pain and swelling in the ankle.  If the pain does not subside with rest you may need to be evaluated for peroneal tendonitis. Other symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include:

  • Tenderness behind the ankle bone
  • Pain the first thing in the morning when you wake up

Diagnosis of peroneal tendonitis

Peroneal tendonitis is diagnosed under the care of your primary care provider or an orthopedic or sports medicine physician.

The physician will start with a full medical history of the injury and the patient, and then perform a full medical exam of the injured area.

Treatments for peroneal tendonitis

Rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications are the first line treatments for peroneal tendonitis.

When necessary more advanced treatments for peroneal tendonitis include:

  • Orthotics
  • Splint or brace
  • Physical therapy & rehabilitation
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection

Recovery from peroneal tendonitis

Rest is imperative to recovering from peroneal tendonitis. The peroneal tendon heals more quickly than other foot and ankle conditions if the treatment regimen is followed closely.

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