Peroneal tendon injuries often occur with ankle sprains and are commonly overlooked until your ankle pain becomes chronic. The peroneal tendons stabilize the outside of your foot and ankle and allow you to turn your foot outward. There are two tendons which run side by side, behind your outer ankle bone, then split in the foot; one to the outside while the larger one dives under your foot and inserts in the arch just behind your big toe joint. People with high-arched feet are more likely to experience peroneal tendon injuries.
Peroneal tendon injuries fall into three categories: tendonitis, tears, and subluxation. They are more common in active, athletic patients and can be acute (sudden) or chronic (lingering) in nature. Tendonitis is inflammation, acute tears are caused by an injury and tendonosis (chronic tears) are usually caused by overuse and repetitive stress or chronic tendonitis. Subluxation usually occurs in an acute injury, like an ankle sprain, where the tendons actually dislocate onto the outer ankle bone and snap back and forth with activity.
The symptoms of a peroneal tendon injury can include swelling, pain, warmth, weakness and instability of the foot and ankle. Subluxation can also include a snapping feeling and sporadic pain with activity.
Treatment of peroneal tendon injuries is often delayed by misdiagnosis. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a peroneal injury, seek medical attention from a foot and ankle surgeon urgently. The longer the tendons go untreated, the more damage occurs. X-rays and physical examination usually lead to an MRI to solidify the diagnosis.
Treatment include rest, casting, functional orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication or injection therapy, physical therapy, bracing, and in some cases surgery.
Your disability from a peroneal tendon injury can be significantly reduced by early intervention, so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call or contact the office and be evaluated. The sooner you have a proper diagnosis, the faster you will return to normal activity levels pain-free.