What Is Tendonitis?

By Gary N. Friedlander DPM, FACFAS and Jay C. Larson DPM
March 21, 2016
Category: Foot Problems

The average person throughout the day can take anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day. These steps may seem subtle one by one; however, clearly add up throughout our day. When looking at the numbers it is quite amazing how well our feet hold up. This is not always the case; there are many different injuries that can arise in the legs and feet.  A common injury can be tendonitis in one of the many tendons in the lower limbs. These tendons have to run through tight spaces and work very hard to stabilize and propel us throughout our day.

Tendonitis is a common term used to describe inflammation in a tendon. The ending “-itis” refers to just that, inflammation. A tendon is a strong structure that attaches muscle to bone to provide increased strength and stability to allow movement. There are many muscles in your lower leg and feet. These muscles have tendons that travel through tight spaces and work very hard through those 7 to 10 thousand steps everyday. Although technically you can have tendonitis in any tendon, Achilles, peroneal and posterior tibial tendonitis are some of the most common in the lower extremity. (For more information about tendonitis check out this previous blog on insertional peroneal tendonitis.)

Signs and Symptoms of tendonitis:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain while walking
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Improves with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication

Treatment for tendonitis typically involves rest and ice. If swelling is involved, compression and elevation are valuable additions. Additionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medication will help reduce pain and swelling of the involved tendon. Your podiatrist will perform a clinical exam and may order x-rays, MRI, or musculoskeletal ultrasound to help narrow the diagnosis and provide him/her with the severity of the injury. It cannot be stressed enough how important rest is in letting the tendons calm down and heal. Also, bracing or physical therapy may be a useful treatment to prevent the tendonitis from reoccurring.

If you suspect you may have tendonitis or notice any changes in your foot health please consider making an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. 

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