Tendinitis

Tendinitis Specialist
Tendonitis is a painful inflammation of the tendons and, sometimes, the sheath that surrounds them. At NoVa Foot and Ankle, patients in and around Herndon and Springfield, Virginia, receive custom care solutions to help them overcome painful symptoms of tendonitis, as well as lifestyle guidance to help them prevent tendonitis from recurring in the future.

Tendinitis Q & A

What is tendonitis?

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.

What causes tendonitis?

Several factors can cause or contribute to tendonitis, including:

  • age-related changes and “stiffening” in the tendons or the muscles
  • tight muscles, especially in the calf
  • injuries, including traumatic and repetitive use injuries or injuries due to twisting
  • bone spurs, small overgrowths on the edges of bones that can press into tendons
  • obesity
  • strenuous exercises or failing to warm up prior to exercise

Footwear that doesn’t provide adequate support or that doesn’t fit well can exacerbate the symptoms of tendonitis.

What is Achilles 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.

What is extensor tendonitis?

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.

How is tendonitis treated?

tendonitis usually can be treated with conservative approaches, including:

  • rest
  • application of ice packs
  • gentle stretching and strengthening exercises
  • physical therapy
  • custom orthotics to relieve strain and stress on the tendon
  • wearing shoes that fit properly and provide proper support
  • corticosteroid injections to relieve pain and inflammation

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.

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