To answer this question, we need to first understand what the peroneal tendon is and where on the body it’s located. Tendons are a type of fibrous connective tissue which connect muscle to bone (not to be confused with ligaments, which connect bone to bone). This connection enables the tendons to regulate the force between muscle tissues during movement so that the body can remain stable. Peroneal tendons run along the outside area of the ankle just behind the fibula bone. Each foot has two of these tendons. One peroneal tendon is connected to the outer part of the midfoot, while the other tendon runs under the foot and connects near the inside of the arch. The primary function of the peroneal tendons is to stabilize both the foot and ankle, protecting them from sprains.
What causes Peroneal Tendonitis?
Peroneal tendonitis is a condition where one or both of the peroneal tendons become inflamed, leading to pain and discomfort. This inflammation can be caused by overuse and excessive rubbing against bone. Runners are particularly susceptible to peroneal tendonitis, especially distance runners who train on uneven terrain which can cause the foot to repeatedly roll outwards and stretch the tendon across the bone. Also, people with higher arches and or those who participate in sports which involve repetitive ankle movement, such as basketball or tennis, can be at higher risk of developing this condition.
Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis generally include pain and swelling on the outside of the ankle. The area can also be warm to the touch. Pain is worse with activity but tends to subside with rest.
How to treat Peroneal Tendonitis
A treatment plan for peroneal tendonitis generally begins with resting and limiting the activity of the tendon. You can also apply ice or a cold wrap to the affected area. Some doctors and treatment specialists will recommend 10 minutes of ice every hour until symptoms reduce and swelling goes down. Check with your doctor. Elevating your foot can also help reduce the swelling. Taping the ankle or investing in a neoprene ankle wrap can also help stabilize the foot and ankle while then tendonitis heals.