What You Should Know About Extensor Tendonitis
- Damien Richardson, MD
We spoke to Dr. Damien Richardson, orthopedic ankle and foot doctor at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, to get information about what extensor tendonitis is, causes, preventions, treatment options and when you should seek help from a medical professional.
Q: What is extensor tendonitis?
A: Almost every muscle in our body is associated with a tendon. The tendon is the terminal portion of muscle that attaches to bone and is responsible for human motion. The extensor tendons in your leg are responsible for lifting your foot during the gait cycle when walking or running.
The extensor tendons connect the bones of your toes to the muscles on the front part of your leg that cross over the ankle joint as tendons. The extensor tendons are what allows you to move your toes. The suffix itis, in medical jargon, means inflammation or an inflammatory process is present. Extensor tendonitis involves inflammation of those muscle tendons that control lifting the ankle, the big toe, and all the other toes of the foot.
Q: What causes extensor tendonitis?
A: Typically, extensor tendonitis happens to patients who spend a lot of time on their feet or people who wear shoes that are too tight. Poorly fitting running shoes, for example, may press too hard on the extensor tendon which can lead to inflammation and extensor tendonitis.
Q: What are potential treatments for this condition?
Q: Can running lead to pain on the outside of the foot? In what circumstances can this occur?
Burning Pain On Top Of Foot
Many of these include over the counter topical creams and ointments you can buy at your local drugstore or grocery store. You should be careful with the creams you buy, especially if prescribed by a doctor.
Although these are usually over the counter topical, there are still risks involved, and you should avoid putting them on your foot. You should also wear loose-fitting shoes if you are using foot creams.
Another way you can take care of this burning pain in your feet is to use your ice pack on them. It would help if you did not let this ice penetrate through the skin because it will cause more pain.
The ice packs should only be applied when the pain has been severe, and you have tried every other treatment. If you do not know how to apply ice on your foot, then you can try rubbing the area.
However, dont rub too hard because this could cause even more pain. The best method is to put a towel on your foot and put ice on top of it. This method of ice application should only use if your pain is severe.
To prevent burning pain in your feet, you should make sure to keep your toes and feet clean and dry. You should also avoid wearing tight shoes, socks, stockings, and sandals when you are at the gym or doing any strenuous activity such as jogging and running.
You can treat the pain, but if it does not go away, you should consult your doctor to make sure that the pain is something that cannot be treated by just using over the counter creams and ointments.
Treatment Options For Torn Foot Ligaments
The appropriate treatment for a torn ligament in the foot varies depending on the severity of the injury. Minor sprains resulting from small tears to your ligamentsoften referred to as grade Iwill generally heal on their own within a few weeks. Large tears to your foots ligaments, also known as grade II sprains, need more attention these moderately severe sprains usually require a splint or cast and can take up to eight weeks to heal. For both minor and moderate sprains, your doctor may provide you with crutches to help limit the pain as your foot heals.
The most severe injuries to the ligaments of the foot involve cases where the ligaments are completely torn or detached from the bones of the feet. For these grade III sprains, foot surgery may be the only suitable treatment.
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What Can I Expect If I Have Extensor Tendinitis
You should expect to make a full recovery from extensor tendinitis. Its a temporary injury that shouldnt have long-term impacts on your health or your ability to work or do the activities you love.
Do I need to miss work or school with extensor tendinitis?
If you can do your job or schoolwork without putting additional stress on your injured hand or foot, you shouldnt need to miss work or school while your tendons heal.
If the work you do or one of your hobbies caused extensor tendinitis, you might need to take time away from them while you recover.
Can I walk or run with extensor tendinitis?
Most people can still walk and move with extensor tendinitis in their foot. Just make sure to give your body time to recover after moving or walking.
Talk to your healthcare provider before resuming any physical activities like running or working out. If you resume any activity that puts stress on your injured tendon especially if that activity caused your tendinitis you can make your symptoms worse. You might also cause more damage to your tendon, which can lead to more serious issues like a torn or ruptured tendon.
What Can Help With Extensor Tendinopathy
The great news is that most peoples symptoms improve by following the recommended advice below, but it may take several months to get better.
If you have any of the contributing factors that can be changed it is important that you make the necessary changes to these. This will help your recovery.
Footwear: Avoid wearing hard, flat or unsupportive footwear. Very flat shoes may aggravate your symptoms especially if you also have tight calf muscles. It is important to note that shoes that have flexible soles generally offer the foot less support and can increase the stress in the soft tissues of your foot and ankle. If your footwear has shoelaces makes sure they are tied correctly.
Most people with Extensor tendinopathy symptoms improve within 3 months of following the recommended advice, however, symptoms can take up to 1 year to improve in some people.
It is also normal to have periods of increased pain or flare-ups during your recovery.
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How Do You Treat Extensor Tendonitis
Treatment for extensor tendonitis aims to reduce irritation, inflammation and pain in top of foot. There are a number of things that can help:
- Rest: It is really important to avoid aggravating activities for ample time to allow the tendon to heal. If it hurts, stop!
- Ice: Using ice regularly helps reduce the pain and inflammation. Visit the Ice Treatment section to find out how to safely and effectively use ice
- Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen are often used to reduce the top of foot pain and inflammation
- Shoe Laces: The simplest way to treat and prevent extensor tendonitis is to change how you lace your shoes. Either tie your knot at the side or miss out one of the lacing holes over the most painful area. It sounds simple, but it really does make a big difference.
- Exercises: Strengthening exercises for the extensor muscles help to improve strength and endurance. Calf stretches can also help as having tight calves puts more strain on the extensor tendons
- Orthotics: Shoe insoles and inserts can be used to provide padding and support the foot, taking any undue tension off the tendons
- Physical Therapy: As well as working on a rehab programme with you, a physical therapist may use electrotherapy such as Ultrasound therapy to help promote healing
- Steroid Injections: If the pain fails to settle, a steroid injection can be given to help reduce the inflammation. Care must be taken as it does temporarily weaken the extensor tendon
The Tendons Of Your Feet And What They Do
Your body is an amazing machine made up of many connected parts that work together to allow movement. A tendon, also known as a sinew, is a fibrous tissue that helps to facilitate this movement.1 Tendons join muscles to their corresponding bones. Without tendons, your muscles wouldnt be able to make your bones move.
Tendons are sometimes confused with ligaments. Ligaments and tendons serve similar purposes, but in different ways. While tendons connect muscle to bone, ligaments connect bones to other bones.2
Your feet contain more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments.3 These invisible structures work together to help you do your most important movement walking.
Tendons have different jobs, depending on their location. If you have a foot injury, it can benefit you to know the types of tendons and where they exist in your feet. Injuries to tendons, such as tendinitis and tendinosis, are common, especially for athletes.
Here is an explanation of the types of tendons present in your feet and their purposes.
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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
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.
How To Tell If Top Of Foot Is Broken
When people think about their feet condition, they automatically think of the problems of plantar fasciitis. This problem causes when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed and then breaks off the fascia, causing it to pop jar back into place.
This condition is often accompanied by a painful shooting pain in the heel area and sometimes in the foots ball. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to get it treated.
If you do not get the heel pain and inflammation treated quickly, you can damage the heel and cause injury. The sooner that you treat this condition, the better for you.
If you are unsure whether you have a broken top of your foot, you should take your shoes off and stand on your toes. If you notice that your bottom foot does not feel right after that, you may be suffering from a broken top of your foot.
There are several symptoms to look for if you have a broken top of the foot. Your toes will be swollen, tender, warm to the touch, and extremely painful.
You will also experience pain in the ball of the foot, which can become very painful. It is important that you immediately go to the doctor to have the condition checked out and to see if it needs to be treated.
The main treatment for a broken top of the foot is an anti-inflammatory medicine taken by mouth. You must try and avoid activities that require the use of your feet until the medication wears off and that you keep trying different kinds of pain relievers.
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Whats The Prognosis For People With Foot Tendonitis
Most people recover fully from foot tendonitis without any permanent damage. You can expect tendon injuries to heal with conservative treatments within a few months. If you have surgery, your recovery period could take from six to 12 months. Most people need physical therapy following surgery.
Once youve had a foot tendon injury, youre at a higher risk for future injuries in that area. Take extra measures to prevent reinjury when playing sports or exercising.
Treatment At Home For Extensor Tendonitis
Reduce training load while symptoms are present.
Apply localized ice to the foot in 10 – 15 min intervals when pain first presents.
Elevate foot to reduce swelling.
Apply topical ointments to reduce pain and discomfort while the foot heals.
Gentle flexion and extension of the foot to facilitate mobility and blood flow to the area.
Try alternative lacing techniques to reduce pressure to the top of the foot.
Get reassessed for adequately fitting running shoes.
* Avoid using foam rollers or massage guns on the top of the foot. They can result in a greater risk of injury due to the lack of blood flow to tendons and prolonged healing.
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What Is Foot Tendonitis
Foot tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon in your foot. Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Overuse usually causes foot tendonitis, but it can also be the result of an injury.
Are there different types of foot tendonitis?
Your feet contain many tendons. Tendonitis can affect any of them, but the most common include:
- Achilles tendonitis: Affects the tendon connecting your calf muscle and heel bone. This tendon is the strongest tendon in the body. It helps us run, jump, walk and do other activities that require us to rise up on our toes.
- Extensor tendonitis: Irritation of the tendon that runs along the top of your foot. These tendons attach bones at the front of your leg to your toes.
- Peroneal tendonitis: Inflammation in either of the two tendons that run along your outer ankle bone. They connect to your midfoot and your arch to help with stability.
- Posterior tibial tendonitis: Affects the tendon that connects your calf muscle to bones on the inside of your foot. These tendons help hold up the arch of your foot.
- Plantar fasciitis: Pain at the underside of your heel and within the arch of your foot. While this is technically not a tendon but a ligament, it can produce the same type of painful conditions that present like tendonitis, with similar treatment approaches.
Tendonitis In Foot Treatment
Its a good time to look at all kinds of Tendonitis in the feet. Besides, many people find that surgery or therapy for tendinopathy can help alleviate some of their symptoms. If you suffer from these types of conditions, it is worth your time to investigate the different options available.
The most common cause of Achilles tendon problems is an injury to one or more of the tendon sheaths around the heel bone. These tendons are composed of a hard bony outer covering called the tendon.
They connect the bone to the muscles and ligaments that support it. They can become inflamed when the body over-stretches the muscles surrounding the heel bone, causing the outer layer of the tendon to wear off.
When this happens, pressure builds in the heel bone and pulls on the tendon, causing pain and inflammation. Pain, swelling, and warmth also may be a symptom of this condition. When this occurs, treatment options include rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, electrical stimulation, cortisone injections, and physical therapy.
Peroneal tendinopathy often causes by repetitive stress on the tendon sheath due to wearing the outer tendon sheath. When this happens, it causes a herniated tissue around the tendon, which causes irritation, stiffness, tenderness, redness, and tenderness around the foots heel and arch.
While some cases of this condition will clear up on their own if the condition worsens, it is important to seek medical attention for diagnosis and possible treatment immediately.
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Sharp Pain On Top Of Foot When Walking
Sharp pain on top of the foot while walking is known as Achilles heel. Most people have pain on the top of the foot, and sometimes they think its a bone fracture, but it is not. It is caused by some injury or muscle injury.
This kind of pain will affect the joint and keep you from walking normally and can be felt in the leg or ankle area. This can be very painful if there is a long time on your knees because when there is a sharp pain on the top of your foot while walking, you need to sit back and rest your legs.
You can try taking some ibuprofen, and you need to do this for you to feel better. But after this pain, you will feel that your foot is swollen and will feel pain all the time while walking.
If you are having pain on top of your foot while walking because of a fracture of the ankle, you should see a doctor because it will tell the bone and muscle injury from his examination.
He will do a blood test, X-rays, and MRI to diagnose you with this condition. The doctor will give you the treatment of the problem, but you should be ready to wait, and you need to follow the doctors treatment so that you wont have the pain on top of your foot while walking ever again.
You need to get yourself treated because you will feel pain when you walk. There is a medication that you can take to avoid this kind of pain. When you have pain in your leg or foot while walking, it is the same as having some infection.
Who Does Extensor Tendinitis Affect
Extensor tendinitis can affect anyone. However, youre more likely to develop extensor tendinitis if your job or a hobby causes you to use your hands and feet in repetitive motions.
People with certain health conditions are more likely to develop extensor tendinitis, including:
- Certain types of arthritis .
- People with foot issues like osteoarthritis.
- People with flat feet or high arches.
People older than 40 or anyone with naturally tight tendons are more likely to develop tendinitis too. Youre more likely to develop tendinitis if you smoke or use tobacco products.
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What Causes Extensor Tendonitis
Stress and pressure on the tendons can cause this condition. The pain builds gradually over time through use of the injured tendon. Several factors can put you more at risk for this condition:
- Spending too much time on your feet
- Repetitive motion. Typically through exercise
- Wearing shoes that are too tight, particularly if youre physically active.
- Running uphill and downhill can be particularly problematic in the development of this condition.
- Tight calf muscles can contribute to this condition.
- Also, commonly found in dancers, skiers, and figure skaters.