What is Peroneal Tendonitis?
Peroneal tendonitis is the common term for a peroneal tendinopathy.
Peroneal tendonitis is a condition which is characterised by structural changes of the peroneal tendon in response to load. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an inflammatory condition. Swelling is common due to irritation of the tendon and surrounding structures, however, it is not a crucial aspect of the condition. This is why health practitioners now refer to peroneal tendonitis as the more accurate term: peroneal tendinopathy.
What are the Peroneal Muscles?
What Causes Peroneal Tendonitis?
There are a number of different factors which can cause peroneal tendonitis, including
- A sudden increase in weight bearing activities, particularly walking, running or jumping
- Inadequate or unsupportive footwear
- Muscle imbalances of the lower limb
- Poor lower limb biomechanics
- Incomplete rehabilitation following an acute ankle injury, such as an ankle sprain
What are the Symptoms of Peroneal Tendinopathy?
People with peroneal tendinopathy may experience:
- Gradual worsening pain over the outside of the ankle
- Pain during and/or after weight bearing activities
- Pain with turning the foot in and/or out
- Instability around the ankle when weight bearing
How is Peroneal Tendonitis Diagnosed?
Peroneal Tendonitis Treatment
The prognosis for peroneal tendinopathy is variable, depending on the stage of the injury.
In the acute phase, you should start to notice an improvement within a couple of weeks of treatment. Treatment in this stage is aimed at reducing load and allowing the irritated tendon to settle. Once the pain lessens, you will be started on a home exercise programme to normalise range of motion, strengthen the lower limb muscles and improve your balance.
Peroneal Tendonitis Prevention
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing peroneal tendinopathy.
- Wear correct, supportive footwear for you- this is not necessarily the most expensive or newly released shoe on the market!
- Gradually increase your training load or exercise level
- Maintain a level of activity in the “off-season”
- Cross training is not only great for maintaining your cardiovascular fitness, it will also ensure your muscles stay strong and reduce your risk of re-injury when your return to your chosen sport!
- Improve your balance and ankle proprioception
Return to Sports with Peroneal Tendinopathy
Recovery for athletes with a peroneal tendinopathy is generally good and most people are able to return to their previous sporting level without any ongoing problems. It is important that you complete your full rehabilitation programme as prescribed by your physiotherapist to prevent further problems and reduce your risk of re-injury.