What is an Ankle Tendonitis?
Ankle tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon located in your ankle. Tendonitis can usually happen due to overuse of your ankle with repetitive movements or stretching. The ankle is one of the most common areas to develop tendonitis over other parts of the body. It is also sometimes referred to as ankle tendinitis.
Tendons are the strong, cord-like bands of connective tissue that attach muscles to bone. There are various tendons that work around the ankle when we are active on our feet. If one of the tendons is damaged, tiny tears may develop in the tendon that cause inflammation.
Causes of Ankle Tendonitis
The common causes of ankle tendonitis include:
- Aggressive sports activities that are associated with repetitive movements of the foot or ankle such as running, jumping etc
- Trauma to foot or ankle tendons
- Fall or slip ankle injuries
- Rheumatic disease such as gout or arthritis
- Foot or ankle altered mechanics conditions such as flat feet or high arch feet
- Worn out or inappropriate shoes that don’t support the feet
- Osteoporosis (weakening and brittling of bones)
Risk factors of Ankle Tendonitis
The following risk factors are associated with Ankle Tendonitis:
- Men are more likely to develop tendonitis in the foot or ankle
- People over the age of 40
- Obesity can cause stress or overload on the tendons in the foot and ankle
- Bone cancer
Symptoms of Ankle Tendonitis
Symptoms of foot tendonitis typically include
- Pain in the ankle
- Swelling and warmth around your ankle
- Stiffness, particularly noticeable in the morning
- Tenderness or pain with touch or movement of your ankle
- Trouble standing on your toes
- Trouble finding shoes that fit your feet comfortably
Types of Ankle Tendonitis
Ankle Tendonitis can cause pain and inflammation in different areas of the foot and ankle, including:
- Achilles tendonitis -This condition causes pain at the back of the ankle, heel pain, and calf pain. It is typically felt when walking or running, extending all the way up to the middle of the calf.
- Peroneal tendonitis -This condition causes pain and inflammation along the outer side of the ankle, and this is more common in high arch feet.
- Posterior tibial tendonitis -This condition causes pain and inflammation on the inner portion of the ankle (under the protruding bone) and it is more commonly seen in flat feet condition.
Diagnosis of Ankle Tendonitis
Your doctor will look for signs of tenderness in the tendon in your ankle, and signs of weakness when it’s moved. Your physicians might also recommend imaging studies such as X-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds of your ankle to look for causative factors such as calcium deposits around the tendon and tears in and around the surrounding tendon sheath.
Usually it takes two to three months to completely recover from ankle tendonitis. The condition must be treated early, otherwise it can develop into a severe foot deformity with worsening pain and dysfunction.
Treatment of Ankle Tendonitis
Treatments for foot or ankle tendonitis depends on the severity of the injury and may include:
- Resting the affected foot
- Ice pack application to reduce swelling
- Anti-inflammatory and pain relievers to decrease inflammation and pain
- Splint or brace to support ankle
- Foot elevation
- Compression (or pressure) by applying a gauze bandage, ACE bandage or Coban, or over-the-counter ankle support. Compression can bring swelling down and keep the ankle from moving too much.
- Exercises to strengthen muscles and reduce stress on tendons
- Comfortable footwear or custom orthotics
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
In some severe cases, doctors might recommend surgical treatments and other regenerative techniques to treat ankle tendonitis that has not responded to traditional and conservative treatments.