Tendons are the cord-like structures that connect a muscle to a bone. Tendinitis occurs when there is inflammation in a tendon, and it can be quite painful and debilitating. Tendinitis is most commonly an injury of overuse, without one specific injury. Rather, tendinitis occurs when there is increased strain placed on the tendon, over a long period of time or activity. If inflammation persists long enough in a tendon, the healthy tendon cells will be replaced by scar tissue. This chronic tendinitis is also known as tendinosis.
Tendinitis in the Foot & Ankle (Includes Location Around Ankle):
Achilles Tendinitis (Back) - Frequently a result of tight calf muscles, or Equinus. Occurs in athletes and people with increased activity levels
Peroneal Tendinitis (Outside of Ankle or Midfoot) - Commonly seen in people with Pes Cavus (high arches). Can also result from ankle sprain injuries
- Posterior Tibial Tendinitis (Inside) - Commonly seen in people with Flat Feet. Rarely caused by a single injury
- Anterior Tibial Tendinitis (Front) - Least Common. Seen in athletes who train on incline terrain. Also occurs spontaneously in elderly population
It is important to understand that tendinitis does not occur without some kind of stimulus. It is important to treat the pain associated with tendinitis, but it is equally important to diagnose the source of tendinitis, to help prevent future injury to the area. Activity related sources are fairly easy to identify through obtaining a good clinical history of the injury. Improper foot structure or shoegear can place your tendons in a position of mechanical disadvantage, leading to increased strain over time. Identifying this requires a more attuned physical examination.
Potential Sources of Tendinitis:
- New Activity or Exercise
- Increase in Duration or Intensity of Exercise
- Foot Structure (High or Flat Arches)
- Improper Shoes
Most cases of tendinitis resolve without need for surgery. Activity modifications are usually required during the treatment period, and physical therapy is extremely important to decrease pain and strengthen the injured tendon.
Surgery is required in cases of tendinitis that do not respond to non-surgical treatments. In many of these instances, there is some kind of underlying foot or ankle deformity that prevents the tendinitis from fully healing.
When addressing tendinitis through surgery, it is important to address any foot structure or deformity issues that contribute to the tendinitis. Otherwise, the success of surgery may only be temporary, and symptoms may return over time. We utilize a comprehensive procedure selection protocol when performing surgery to treat tendinitis, to help minimize any potential complications. Minimal Incision Techniques, such as Topaz Radiofrequency Ablation, can be used in certain instances to help speed up recovery time.
If you have pain from Tendinitis, Call us at 512-593-2949 or CLICK HERE to Schedule an Appointment.