Tendons are strong, fibrous bands of tissue that connect bones to muscles, helping to provide support, strength, and flexibility. Sometimes, these tendons can become irritated and inflamed, resulting in a painful condition called tendonitis (sometimes spelled tendonitis). Many tendons are found in the feet and ankles, and any of these tendons can develop tendonitis. The most common types of tendonitis in the feet and ankles are Achilles tendonitis and extensor tendonitis.
Several factors can cause or contribute to tendonitis, including:
Footwear that doesn’t provide adequate support or that doesn’t fit well can exacerbate the symptoms of tendonitis.
The Achilles tendon is a large tendon - the largest tendon in the body - that extends from the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone. This tendon provides significant support and flexibility to the foot and ankle, and when it becomes inflamed and irritated, it can cause significant pain and loss of function. When inflammation occurs in the middle of the Achilles tendon, it’s called non-insertional tendonitis; when it occurs where the tendon attaches to the heel, the condition is called insertional tendonitis. Non-insertional Achilles tendonitis is more common among younger, active people, while insertional tendonitis occurs among all ages and activity levels.
Extensor tendonitis is a painful condition that occurs when the tendons that elevate the toes become irritated and inflamed. While Achilles tendonitis primarily causes pain in the calf and heel, extensor tendonitis causes pain along the top of the foot. It most commonly occurs in people who spend long periods of time on their feet and among runners. It can also be caused by shoes that are very tight across the toes and the top of the foot.
tendonitis usually can be treated with conservative approaches, including:
Laser treatments can be very useful in treating tendonitis and in stimulating deep healing. Rarely, surgery may be recommended to repair tendon damage or to remove heel spurs.
Our Pain Laser at NOVA Foot and Ankle in Herndon and Springfield, Virginia is FDA cleared to emit energy in the visible and infrared spectrum, to provide topical heating for the purpose of elevating tissue temperature for the temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain or stiffness, minor arthritis pain, or muscle spasm, the temporary increase in local blood circulation, or the temporary relaxation of muscle.