Tendonitis, also referred to as tendinitis, is a condition characterised by the inflammation or irritation of the tendons. Tendons are the strong bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones, and tendonitis can affect any of the tendons in your body. Ankles have an important number of tendons, which can become sore and swollen, resulting in a case of ankle tendonitis.
Ankle tendonitis usually develops due to overusing our muscles. This usually affect people who practice sports or activities that require repetitive ankle movements. Tendonitis can also develop after an acute injury, such as a sprained ankle.
Suddenly increasing the intensity or length of your workouts can also cause ankle tendonitis, especially if you’re overexerting your muscles. Wearing shoes that don’t offer proper support can increase the risk of developing ankle tendonitis. People with flat feet or abnormally high arches, or those who suffer from inflammatory conditions –such as gout- also have a higher risk of suffering from ankle tendonitis.
The symptoms of tendonitis can develop suddenly, in the case of an acute injury; or they can build up over time if you are suffering from chronic tendonitis. These symptoms include:
- Sharp or burning pain over the tendon. This pain tends to be localized at first, but it can spread as the injury worsens. Pain caused by tendonitis usually worsens with activity.
- Swelling: this symptom will usually only develop after a few weeks if you’re suffering from a chronic case of ankle tendonitis. A sore, tender lump can form over the affected tendon.
- Limited mobility: your ankle might become stiff or unstable due to tendonitis. Additionally, since the pain caused by this condition worsens with movement, you will unconsciously limit your movements to avoid pain.
There are several tendons in your ankle, and the location of your symptoms will depend on which one has been injured. The most common types of ankle tendonitis are:
- Peroneal tendonitis: causes pain on the back and lateral portion of your ankle and foot. Usually causes pain when standing.
- Achilles tendonitis: results in heel and calf pain. Pain is felt when walking or running.
- Posterior tibial tendonitis: causes pain on the inner portion of your foot. This pain is felt when you push through your foot.
- Anterior tibial tendonitis: results in pain at the front of your foot. Pain is usually felt walking or running down slopes, or when climbing down stairs.
- Extensor tendonitis: causes pain at the top of the foot. The pain tends to worsen while running.
The treatment of ankle tendonitis starts with RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rehabilitation will strengthen your tendons again, and seek to correct risk factors that might result in the re-injury of your tendons.