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Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendonitis

Tendons are strong, fibrous cords that connect muscles with bones. The flexor hallucis longus (FHL) tendon extends from the calf muscle, past the side of the ankle, and all the way to the big toe. This tendon helps you flex your big toe and stand on the tips of your toes. Overuse of this tendon can cause inflammation, called tendonitis

Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendonitis Hero Image 2

Tendons are strong, fibrous cords that connect muscles with bones. The flexor hallucis longus (FHL) tendon extends from the calf muscle, past the side of the ankle, and all the way to the big toe. This tendon helps you flex your big toe and stand on the tips of your toes. Overuse of this tendon can cause inflammation, called tendonitis. FHL tendonitis is relatively uncommon. However, dancers and other active people who do a lot of pushing off are at greater risk for this injury.

What causes Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendonitis?

A common cause of flexor hallucis longus tendonitis is repeated pushing off from the big toe, a movement common among ballet dancers and other athletes. Over time, this motion can irritate the tendon, causing it to become inflamed.

FHL tendonitis is most common in these sports:

• Dancing
• Gymnastics

Symptoms

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

• Swelling of the ankle
• Pain that is worse when pushing off your toes
• A clicking sensation in the ankle, especially when flexing the toe

When to see a doctor

If you have nagging pain around your toe or ankle area, you should consult with your doctor. At your visit, your doctor will conduct a physical examination, looking for signs of tenderness around your ankle. Your doctor may also try to recreate the symptoms you experience when active by bending your toe and having you flex it with resistance against it. 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 FHL tendonitis is usually conservative. Your doctor may advise you take time off from dancing or other physical activities that cause pain to 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 the FHL tendon

If you have symptoms of flexor hallucis tendonitis  here are some exercises you can try at homeFlexor Hallucis Tendonitis

 

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is generally not needed to treat flexor hallucis longus tendonitis. 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 FHL tendonitis. When surgery is involved, recovery time will take up to three months before you can return to play.

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