Peroneal Tendon Injuries

There are two peroneal tendons in the foot. One tendon is connected to the outer part of the mid-foot while the other runs under the foot and is attached to the inside of the arch. The primary function of these two tendons is to stabilize the foot and ankle.

There are three types of peroneal tendon injuries: tendonitis, degenerative tears, and subluxation.

Signs and Symptoms of Peroneal Tendon Injuries

Tendonitis is one of the most common types of peroneal tendon injuries. This inflammatory condition is caused by repetitive use or overuse of the tendon. It can also be attributed to certain traumas like ankle sprains. Signs and symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Area is warm to the touch
  • Weakness or instability in the ankle

Degenerative tears are progressive in nature and tend to worsen over time. This condition is also a result of overusing the tendon to the point that it becomes over-stretched and weak. Common signs and symptoms of a degenerative tendon tear include:

  • A change in the height of the arch
  • Sporadic pain along the outside of ankle
  • Weakness or instability in the ankle

Subluxation is when one or both tendons slip out of their normal position. This can often be caused by a sprain or other trauma. It can also occur in people who are born with variations in the shape of their bones or muscles. Subluxation is also a progressive condition, so when the following symptoms are experienced, it is important to seek a foot and ankle surgeon as soon as possible in order to help prevent further damage to the tendon. Signs and symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Sporadic pain along the back outside area on the ankle
  • A “snapping” feeling around the ankle bone
  • Weakness or instability in the ankle

How are Peroneal Tendon Injuries Diagnosed?

Peroneal tendon injuries can be difficult to self-diagnose because they can often resemble other types of injuries. For this reason, it is extremely important to seek diagnosis and treatment from an experienced foot and ankle surgeon. In order to properly diagnose these conditions, the surgeon will perform a thorough examination of the foot and ankle in order to look for signs of swelling, pain, inflammation, and weakness. X-rays and a diagnostic MRI may also be ordered to help determine the extent of the injury.

Conservative Treatment Options for Peroneal Tendon Injuries

Peroneal tendon injuries can sometimes be successfully treated without requiring surgery, but this does depend on the type and severity of the injury. Conservative treatment options for these conditions include one or more of the following:

  • Cast or splint immobilization
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Bracing

When is Surgery Needed?

When a patient has a severe tendon injury that cannot be treated through conservative techniques, the foot and ankle surgeon may recommend surgery to repair the tendons and improve the stabilizing structure of the foot. The type of surgery used is determined by a number of factors including the patient’s lifestyle, current health condition, and more.

Regardless of the case, you surgeon at Pennsylvania Foot and Ankle Associates will discuss all of the conservative and surgical treatment options available to you so you can make the most informed decision about your treatment plan.

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