What is Peroneal Tendonitis?

Peroneal tendonitis, or peroneal tendinopathy, is an ankle injury that affects the peroneal tendons causing them to become inflamed or swollen.

Tendons are bands of tissue in our body that connect bones and muscles. The peroneal tendons refer to the two tendons found in the ankle that stabilize it and protect it from sprains when it bears weight. They also assist in turning the foot out and stabilizing the arch while walking.

People with peroneal tendonitis typically complain of pain and tenderness around their feet and ankle. In most cases, the pain starts gradually and worsens with extended use of the ankle. Sometimes, the runner might feel the pain more in the morning, and then it eases off as the runner goes through their day’s activities.

 

What Are The Likely Causes of Peroneal Tendonitis?

Peroneal tendonitis usually occurs when these tendons are subjected to increased load and overuse, causing them to rub against the bone. Over time, these tendons start to swell due to friction. The tendons will thicken over time to manage the increased load more efficiently. Peroneal tendonitis is more common in athletes, particularly runners, because they are more likely to roll their feet outwards, causing friction between the tendon and bone.

For people in this category, the following are some factors that can cause Peroneal Tendonitis:

1. Overuse of The Ankle

Frequent usage of the ankle is one of the leading causes of peroneal tendonitis. When you engage in repetitive running, especially across sloped or uneven terrain, you put excessive pressure on your ankle. The pressure will cause your foot to roll outward, increasing the friction between the tendons in your feet and the bone. Over time, the tension between the bone and tendon can result in peroneal tendonitis. Also, athletes that take part in football, gymnastics, football, or any other sport that requires fast pivoting movement in the ankle can cause tears in the peroneal tendons.

2. Improper Training

While a good training regime helps you keep fit, inadequate training can also cause problems. Sometimes, peroneal tendonitis happens when runners change their training or running routine. An abrupt increase in exercise, particularly weight-bearing activities like walking, running, and jumping, can pressure the tendons in the feet and ultimately lead to peroneal tendonitis. Similarly, inadequate training can make the tendons in your feet thicken, which might cause tension and tears.

3. Using The Wrong Type of Footwear

Not wearing one of the best running shoes for peroneal tendonitis is another big reason runners might have peroneal tendonitis. A lousy shoe will cause the tendons in your feet to work extra hard to achieve stability. This could result in inflammation in and around the peroneal tendons with time. 

For instance, therapists advise that people with high arches avoid wearing motion control shoes. That’s because these shoes limit pronation and often place excessive stress on the peroneal tendons.

4. Runners With Special Conditions

Specific individuals with the following conditions carry higher risks of peroneal tendonitis than others.

  • •   Abnormal Foot Position: If your heel is turned inwards slightly, a condition is known as “hindfoot varus,” you are likely to develop peroneal tendonitis. These conditions put excessive pressure, making the peroneal muscles and the tendons work harder.
  • •   Muscle imbalance in the lower limbs: Tightness in the calf muscles and weakness in the calf and peroneal muscles can lead to tendonitis.
  • •   Having foot arches that are higher than usual can also predispose you to peroneal tendonitis. Runners with high arches are more vulnerable because their heel is slightly turned inwards. Usually, the peroneal tendons in their feet have to work hard to turn the ankle to the outside, increasing the risk of developing tendonitis.

5. Injury in The Feet

Injuries in the feet can also cause peroneal tendonitis. The condition has also been linked to ankle sprains. If you have had re ankle injuries or recurrent ankle sprains, it may predispose you to peroneal tendon problems. That’s because the muscles in your feet give your feet lateral stability. Therefore, any damage to the feet that affect those muscles or ligaments will cause weakness and instability in your feet, putting additional strain on the peroneal tendons, ultimately causing peroneal tendonitis.

6. Failure to Complete a Rehabilitation Program

Failure to complete a rehabilitation program following an ankle injury, such as a sprain, can also increase the risk of developing peroneal tendonitis. The damaged peroneal tendons will thicken over time as scar tissue attempts to repair the damaged area. As a result, the tendons become weaker and more prone to tearing.

 

Next Article:

Now you know more about what peroneal tendonitis is, we will now head over to the second article in our series looking at whether running can cause peroneal tendonitis, or not.

 

Written by Susan

I'm very enthusiastic around sports, fitness and general wellbeing. I write for a range of sites around these topics, and I hope you find my articles and information insightful to help you on your way.

January 1, 2022

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