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Extensor Tendonitis of the Foot

Tendons are strong, fibrous cords that connect muscles with bones. The extensor tendons of your foot run across the top of your foot connecting your lower leg to your toes. These tendons help you bend your foot up and raise your toes. Overuse of these tendons can cause inflammation, called tendonitis.

Extensor Tendonitis of the Foot Hero Image 2

Tendons are strong, fibrous cords that connect muscles with bones. The extensor tendons of your foot run across the top of your foot connecting your lower leg to your toes. These  tendons help you bend your foot up and raise your toes. Overuse of these tendons can cause inflammation, called tendonitis.

What causes Extensor Tendonitis of the Foot?

A common cause of extensor tendonitis is overuse. Over time, repetitive  motion, seen in activities like running, can irritate the tendon, causing them  to become inflamed.    As these tendons are very close to the skin, they may also become irritated from poorly fitting shoes or sneakers especially if the laces are tied too tight.

Extensor   tendonitis is most common in these sports:

  • running
  • cross country
  • hockey or figure skating

Symptoms

Symptoms of extensor  tendonitis usually include pain, especially on the top of the foot. Pain often develops very slowly over time, rather than due to a single event. Other common symptoms include:

  • Pain with curling the toes or raising the foot up
  • Mild swelling especially with activity

 

 

 

When to see a doctor

If you have a nagging pain on the top of your foot that does not go away over time, you should consult with your doctor.  At your visit, your doctor will conduct a physical examination, looking for signs of tenderness and swelling around your foot. Your doctor may also try to recreate the symptoms you experience when active by asking you to move your foot up and down against resistance. X-rays may also be taken to rule out other causes of your injury, such as bone spurs or a fracture. Sometimes other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

Non-operative treatment

Treatment of extensor tendonitis is usually conservative. Your doctor may advise you take time off from running or other physical activities that cause pain in your foot.  Other common treatments include:

  • Applying ice and elevating your foot to reduce swelling and pain
  • Wearing a cast or special boot to support your foot
  • Anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief
  • Physical therapy to strengthen your foot
  • Making sure you have the appropriate footwear
  • Orthotics to correct any foot and ankle imbalances

 

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is generally not needed to treat extensor  tendonitis of the foot. In rare cases, surgery may be considered if your symptoms don’t improve with rest and other conservative treatments. Your doctor will advise if you should explore surgery as a treatment option.

 

Recovery

In most cases, normal activity can resume within a few weeks with rest and conservative treatment of extensor tendonitis of the foot.

Sources

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