Q & A
What is Tendinitis?
Tendons connect muscles to bone. Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Achilles tendinitis, or an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, is one of the most common causes of foot or ankle pain. Other types of foot/ankle tendinitis include posterior tibial tendinitis and peroneal tendinitis. The posterior tibial tendon runs along the “inside” of your ankle while the peroneal tendon runs along the “outside” of your ankle.
Tendinitis can result from an injury or overuse syndrome. Improper stretching prior to exertion or incorrect form during physical activity can also contribute to the development of tendinitis. Some people, especially those with flat feet, tight tendons or arthritis, are particularly prone to tendinitis.
Pain is the most prominent symptom of tendinitis. The pain will be most noticeable when you try to move that part of your body. You may also note swelling or feelings of “fullness” in the area of pain.
Rest and ice can ease the pain of tendinitis. Stay off your foot or ankle as much as possible and apply ice for up to 15 minutes at a time, three to four times a day.
When to Visit a Podiatrist
If the pain doesn't go away with ice and rest, or if the pain persists beyond a week, it's time to see a podiatrist. Make an appointment with Dr. Tien, the leading foot and ankle specialist in Orange County of if you think you may be suffering from tendinitis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Dr. Tien will ask you some questions about your pain and general health and perform a complete physical examination of your feet and ankles. X-rays or an MRI might be ordered to rule out any other problems, such as a fracture or torn tendon.
Treatment will focus on relieving the pain and preventing further injury. Dr. Tien may elect to put you in a cast to effectively immobilize the affected area for a period of time. Often, a couple of weeks are needed for the tendon to heal. Custom orthotics may also be prescribed to help support the architecture of your foot and prevent the tendinitis from recurring. Oral or topical anti-inflammatories may also be used to treat the acute symptoms of tendonitis.
Dr. Tien will work with you to decrease your chances of re-developing tendinitis. She may create custom orthotics to help control the motion of your feet. She may also recommend certain stretches or exercises to increase the tendon's elasticity and strengthen the muscles attached to the tendon.
Gradually increasing your activity level with an appropriate training schedule—building up to a 5K run, for instance, instead of simply tackling the whole course the first day—can also help prevent tendinitis.
Content credit: apma.org
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