Does peroneal tendonitis ever go away?

Peroneal tendonitis can go away on its own, but it can take a long time. If there is a tear in one or both of the peroneal tendons, or if the tendons are subluxating (moving out of place), you may not get better without surgery. As a practicing orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs, Colorado, peroneal tendonitis is not something that I see too often as it is rare, but it can be a source of continued nagging heel pain.

What are the symptoms of peroneal tendonitis?

The symptoms of peroneal tendonitis are pain on the outside and back of the heel that is worse with activity. This especially includes activities that involve everting the foot (moving your foot to the outside), as the peroneal tendons are the main foot evertors. When the peroneal tendons are inflamed, it will cause pain whenever you move your foot to the outside. Those with high arches are also more likely to get peroneal tendonitis. 

How do you treat peroneal tendonitis?

The first step in treating peroneal tendonitis is to avoid the activities that are causing you pain. This will allow the tendons to calm down. If you are still having pain then a special shoe insert called a lateral forefoot post might be a good idea. It is worth seeing your doctor to see if this shoe insert would be right for you. If you still have pain, then wearing an ankle boot for around 6 weeks may help to calm everything down. It is also a good idea to do physical therapy for your peroneal tendonitis, as this will help strengthen the tendons and improve your biomechanics. An example of some of the exercises for peroneal tendonitis can be found in this video. It is not a great idea to get a steroid injection to your peroneal tendons, as this can cause them to rupture.

How long does peroneal tendonitis take to heal?

It can take months for your peroneal tendonitis to go away, assuming the tendons are not torn or subluxating. You can tell if you tore your peroneal tendons by getting an MRI of your ankle, you won’t be able to see this on x-ray. For peroneal tendons that are subluxation (moving out of place) your doctor should be able to tell if you have this by physical exam or a dynamic ultrasound. Your peroneal tendonitis is most likely to heal if you get appropriate treatment for it with proper footwear or possibly a short trial of an ankle boot, and physical therapy. If it does turn out that your peroneal tendons are torn and subluxating, and physical therapy and the ankle boot hasn’t helped you, then you may need surgery to repair the tendons and possibly deepen the groove they sit in. As an orthopedic surgeon in Colorado Springs, I always recommend conservative treatment first, unless your tendons are subluxating or there is a very obvious tear.

I hope I was able to answer some of your questions about does peroneal tendonitis ever go away. If you would like me to treat your peroneal tendonitis, contact us below to make an appointment if you are in the Colorado Springs area. I also am available for virtual consults.

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