Peroneal tendinopathy causes pain and discomfort on the outside of the ankle, primarily resulting from either overuse or a sprained ankle.
Peroneal tendinopathy describes the damage or degeneration of the peroneal tendons, which travel down the outside of your leg and cross the outside of the ankle to attach to the bottom of the foot. Peroneal tendinopathy may also be referred to as peroneal tendonitis, depending on whether any inflammation is present and how long the pain has been present. The difference in terminology simply denotes varying characteristics of the injury, and tends to be used interchangeably by a majority of health professionals.
You have two peroneal muscles (with associated tendons) in each leg called the Peroneus Longus and Peroneus Brevis. They follow the same path down the leg and then pass behind the bony bump on the outside of your ankle (called the lateral malleolus), but attach at different sites at the base of the foot. The peroneals play an important role in our ability to walk and move our feet, helping stabilise the foot and ankle, and helping turn the foot outwards.
The symptoms of peroneal tendinopathy can range in severity depending on the extent of the damage to the peroneals, but can include:
In severe cases, the peroneal tendons may tear or even completely rupture, resulting in sharp pain that may go down the outside of the ankle, and even continue under the foot.
Peroneal tendinopathy is often an overuse injury that is caused by overloading the peroneals past a point that they can safely handle, causing small tears and damage in the tendons. Any action that everts the foot (rolls out the ankle) will stretch and place greater strain on the peroneal tendons, and may cause them to rub against surrounding bones and become inflamed. Contributing factors to the development of peroneal tendinopathy can include:
To help ease your ankle pain and start your path to healing and repair, you can try:
Here at Matt Raden Podiatry, our trusted and experienced podiatrists listen to the concerns, goals and needs of our patients with peroneal tendinopathy and ankle pain, and utilise a range of evidence-based treatment methods to help you get the best outcome.
Every appointment starts with a comprehensive assessment to understand the biomechanics of your ankles, feet and legs, and all of the factors that are playing a role in overloading your peroneals and contributing to your pain. We’ll then create a tailored treatment plan based on your results that focuses on helping to heal and repair the tendons, and regaining ankle strength and function so you can stay active long into the future. We may use:
If you’re experiencing ankle pain, even if you’re unsure whether it’s peroneal tendinopathy or something else, our team is here to help - and to ensure you have the best experience doing so. We’re proud to go above and beyond for our patients, focusing not only on managing your pain and symptoms, but helping you get the best long-term outcomes.