Doctor Inspecting Tendinitis in an AnkleSimply put, tendinitis is an inflammation of the thick, fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone throughout the body. Tendons in hard-working joints such as the shoulders, elbows, knees, and heels are the most vulnerable to injury and inflammation. If you are experiencing tendinitis in your feet or ankles, an effective treatment solution could be physical therapy techniques that reduce swelling, restore stability, and increase mobility. We take a look at common forms of tendinitis in the feet and ankles and how PT might be the answer for you.

Common Types of Foot and Ankle Tendinitis

We put a lot of stress and strain on our feet and ankles every day, and much of the pressure is borne by the tendons. When these tissues become irritated and inflamed, it can make even simple movements such as walking too painful. Common forms of tendinitis in the feet and ankles include:

  • Achilles tendinitis. As the largest tendon in the body, it’s no surprise that the Achilles tendon is also the most frequently injured. This important tendon makes it possible for you to walk, run, and jump. You can tell that your Achilles tendon is injured when you feel pain along the back of the leg and around the heel.
  • Posterior tibialis tendinitis. Running along the inner side of your ankle and foot, this tendon supports your foot arch. If you are feeling pain along the inside of your foot or ankle, you might have injured this tendon. It is often associated with fallen arches.
  • Peroneal tendinitis. Twisting your ankle could result in a strain or tear of the peroneal tendon, which runs along the outside of your foot and ankle. This injury is usually associated with a sprained ankle.
  • Turf toe. A common injury in many athletes, including soccer, field hockey, and football players, turf toe is not often thought of as a form of tendinitis, but that is actually what it is. When the big toe is stretched back towards the shin, the tendons in the metatarsal-phalangeal joint become inflamed or torn, causing pain and immobility.

Regardless of the kind of tendinitis you have, physical therapy techniques, in conjunction with other forms of treatment, are often effective in relieving your pain and getting you back in the game.

How Physical Therapy Can Be Used to Treat Tendinitis

Most primary care doctors will advise immobilization, ibuprofen, and ice to treat foot and ankle tendinitis, and these conservative measures can be effective. However, many people who suffer from tendinitis are athletes and fitness buffs who experience the same pain over and over. For them, we recommend a consultation with a physical therapist who might suggest the following treatments:

  • Massage. Hands-on care and manual manipulation can help restore range of motion to a stretched or inflamed tendon.
  • Therapeutic exercise. Under a PT’s guidance, tailored exercises can help relieve tightness and strengthen the muscles surrounding the compromised tendon.
  • Retraining. A physical therapist can coach a person with tendinitis to improve movement technique and mechanics to relieve pain and prevent further injury.
  • Home programs. Only so much can be accomplished during an office visit, so a program of strengthening, stretching, and stabilization exercises will be sent home to enhance hands-on care.
  • Cutting-edge therapies. Injured tendons can be treated with state-of-the-art therapies such as ultrasound, shockwave therapy, laser therapy, and more.

A physical therapy program will be developed specifically for you depending on your injury, goals, abilities, access to equipment, availability, and more.

Discuss PT for Tendinitis With Our Team

Tendinitis in the feet and ankles can be a chronic problem for many athletes, especially if they don’t seek early intervention and commit to physical therapy. Don’t let tendinitis sideline you. Whether you are a high school or college athlete or an active adult, you deserve the best available treatment to overcome painful tendinitis. Call us today at 503-245-2420 to make an appointment to discuss your treatment options in the Portland-area office closest to you.

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