Peroneal tendon is a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. The two peroneal tendons in the foot run side-by-side behind the outer anklebone. One peroneal tendon attaches to the outer part of the mid foot, while the other tendon runs under the foot and attaches near the inside of the arch. The main function of the peroneal tendons is to stabilize the foot and ankle and protect them from sprains.
Causes and Symptoms of Peroneal Tendon Injuries
Peroneal tendon injuries may be acute (occurring suddenly) or chronic (developing over time). Basic types of peroneal tendon injuries are tendonitis, tears, and subluxation.
Tendonitis - an inflammation of one or both tendons. The inflammation is caused by activities involving repetitive use of the tendon, overuse of the tendon, or trauma (such as an ankle sprain).
Degenerative tears (tendinosis) - usually due to overuse and occur over long periods of time, often years. In degenerative tears, the tendon is like taffy that has been overstretched until it becomes thin and eventually frays. Having high arches also puts a person at risk for developing a degenerative tear.
Subluxation - one or both tendons have slipped out of their normal position. In some cases, subluxation is due to a condition in which a person is born with a variation in the shape of the bone or muscle. In other cases, subluxation occurs following trauma, such as an ankle sprain. Damage or injury to the tissues that stabilize the tendons (retinaculum) can lead to chronic tendon subluxation.
Early treatment of a subluxation is critical, since a tendon that continues to sublux (move out of position) is more likely to tear or rupture. Therefore, if a person feels the characteristic snapping, they should see a foot and ankle surgeon immediately.
When is Surgery Needed?
In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair the tendon or tendons and perhaps the supporting structures of the foot. The foot and ankle surgeon will determine the most appropriate procedure for the patient's condition and lifestyle. After surgery, physical therapy is an important part of rehabilitation.
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