Rubber bands are useful in so many ways. They hold ponytails in place, keep a deck of cards together, and keep a newspaper rolled. When they stretch too far, however, they snap, and they can no longer perform these tasks. The tendons in our bodies are like that. They are flexible bands of tissues that connect our muscles to our bones. An injury can prevent them from doing their job—and you from doing what you love. Peroneal tendon injuries especially can knock you off your feet—literally.
What Are Peroneal Tendons?
We have two peroneal tendons which are found in our feet and run alongside each other behind the ankle bone. One attaches to the outside of the midfoot, and the other runs underneath the foot and attaches near the interior of your arch. These tendons have the important job of stabilizing ankles and feet and protecting them against sprains. So clearly, an injury can have a profound effect on our day-to-day activities.
Causes and Symptoms of Tendon Troubles
Peroneal tendon injuries fall into two categories: they can be chronic, meaning the injury develops over time as a result of repetitive overuse, or they can be acute, which refers to a sudden trauma like a sprain. Having high arches puts you at risk of developing the condition, as does participating in sports that put continuous stress on your ankles. There are three basic injuries that can affect these tendons:
- Tendonitis—this is an inflammation of one or both peroneal tendons, resulting in pain and swelling. The area may also feel warm to the touch.
- Subluxation—with this type of injury, one or both tendons slip out of place. This can be due to an imbalance in bone or muscle shape at birth, or to trauma such as a sprain. It can also be the result of damage to a band of tissue called the retinaculum, which stabilizes the tendons. To avoid a chronic problem, treatment is critical to prevent the injury from progressing into an actual tear. Catch symptoms early! If you experience a snapping feeling around your ankle bone, as well as sporadic pain and weakness, seek help right away.
- Tears—acute tears occur suddenly and are characterized by swelling, pain, and a feeling of weakness and instability. Left untreated these types of tears can actually re-shape your foot and cause the arch in your foot to become higher, accentuating the problem. Tears can also be degenerative. Also known as tendinosis, this type of injury happens with overuse spanning a long period of time. The tendon becomes so overstretched that it eventually tears. Symptoms include sporadic pain, ankles that feel weak and unstable, and an arch that increases in height.
Are You Looking for a Peroneal Tendon Specialist in Austin, TX?
If you are looking for peroneal tendon care, you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900.