Tendons are thick bands of connective tissue that connect bones and muscles and allow the muscles to move your bones. Within each foot, there are several tendons, the most notable of which are the Achilles tendon (also known as the calcaneal tendon) and the peroneal tendons. The Achilles connects your calf muscle to your foot, and the peroneals run alongside one another behind the ankle bone before going separate ways to the outer part of your midfoot and underneath to the arch.
Tendon injuries can be acute or chronic and occur for many reasons, including overuse, trauma, playing sports, and having high arches.
Common tendon injuries seen in the feet and ankles are:
- Tendinitis – most often caused by repetitive motion, overuse, or trauma
- Acute tears – caused by repetitive activity or trauma
- Degenerative tears (tendonosis) – occur over a more extended period and are generally caused by overuse
- Subluxation – occurs when one or both peroneal tendons have slipped out of their natural position behind the ankle bone and may be caused by congenital conditions or trauma
In most cases, rest, local immobilization, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and/or bracing can treat the injury and reduce inflammation. In more extreme cases, such as a ruptured tendon, surgery may be necessary to repair the tendon and any supporting structures. If surgery is required, physical therapy will also be a vital part of the recovery process.