A tendon is a band of tissue that connects a muscle to a bone. The two peroneal tendons in the foot run side-by-side behind the outer ankle bone. The main function of the peroneal tendons is to stabilize the foot and ankle and protect them from sprains . Tendonitis can happen to anyone, but it is more commonly found in adults over 40. As we get older, the tendons are less elastic and can tear more easily.

Causes and Symptoms of Peroneal Tendon Injuries

Tendon injuries can happen suddenly or develop slowly over time. They most commonly occur in individuals who participate in sports that involve repetitive ankle motion. In addition, people with higher arches are at risk for developing tendon injuries . Basic types of peroneal tendon injuries are tendonitis, tears, and subluxation.Because peroneal tendon injuries are sometimes misdiagnosed and may worsen without proper treatment, prompt evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is advised.



Tendonitis is an inflammation of one or both tendons. The inflammation is caused by activities involving repetitive use of the tendon, or overuse of the tendon or trauma (such as an ankle sprain ). Symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warm to the touch
Acute Tears

Caused by repetitive activity or trauma. Immediate symptoms of acute tears include:

Degenerative Tears (Tendonosis)

Tendonosis usually due to overuse and occur over long periods of time, often years. In degenerative tears, the tendon is like taffy that has been overstretched until it becomes thin and eventually frays. Having high arches also puts you at risk for developing a degenerative tear. The symptoms of degenerative tears may include:
  • Sporadic pain (occurring from time to time) on the outside of the ankle
  • Weakness or instability in the ankle
  • An increase in the height of the arch


This means one or both tendons have slipped out of their normal position. Subluxation occurs after a trauma, such as an ankle sprain . The symptoms may include:
  • A snapping feeling of the tendon around the ankle bone
  • Sporadic pain behind the outside ankle bone
  • Ankle instability or weakness
Early treatment of a subluxation is critical since a tendon that continues to move out of position is more likely to tear or rupture. Therefore, if you feel the characteristic snapping, see a foot and ankle surgeon immediately.


Treatment depends on the type of peroneal tendon injury . Options include:

  • Immobilization. A cast or splint may be used to keep the foot and ankle from moving and allow the injury to heal.
  • Medications. Oral or injected anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy. Ice, heat, or ultrasound therapy may be used to reduce swelling and pain. As symptoms improve, exercises can be added to strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion and balance.
  • Bracing. The surgeon may provide a brace to use for a short while or during activities requiring repetitive ankle motion. Bracing may also be an option when a patient is not a candidate for surgery.
  • MLS Laser Therapy. This therapy uses concentrated light energy to stimulate the body’s own healing process. It can speed up the process of relieving inflammation and pain associated with many conditions including tendonitis . For more information on the many benefits of MLS Laser Therapy click here !


To help prevent tendonitis , follow these tips:

  • Start Slow- Gradually increase your activity level.
  • Try to avoid excess force and repetitions.
  • If you feel pain, stop and do something else. Try the activity later in the day and if the pain recurs, stop.

If you are having foot or ankle pain, please contact Dr. Kylin Kovac at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kovac has dedicated his life to helping the people with foot and ankle pain. He is highly qualified and ready to get you back on your feet.

Some content provided by webmd.com