Foot pain comes in a lot of different forms and it can be caused by a lot of different ailments, which can make fixing it a bit tricky. Before you start treating your foot pain, you need to figure out the root cause. Is it tendinitis or something else likeplantar fasciitis or heel spurs?
THE BASICS ---
Your feet are much more complex than you might think, with lots of bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. That's a lot of parts that can develop problems. Tendinitis is just one cause of foot pain. It happens when one of the many tendons in your foot becomes inflamed.
Because there are so many different tendons in your foot, there are different types of foot tendinitis. They include Achilles tendinitis, posterior tibial tendinitis, peroneal tendinitis, extensor tendinitis, flexor tendinitis, and anterior tibial tendinitis. Each affects a different tendon.
Treatment for tendinitis in the foot includes taking a rest from your activities, icing the painful area and using pain medications. Stretching can help as well.
One treatment for Achilles tendinitis, posterior tibial tendinitis, and some other types of foot tendinitis are insoles. We recommendedTread Labs Pace Insoles, part of the Pain Relief series. They offer the firm support podiatrists recommend to relieve foot pain. However, if you're uncertain whether insoles are right for you, check with a podiatrist before using them.
Your feet are much more complex than you might think. In fact, nearly a quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet.A quick anatomy lesson- Each of your feet has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The main tendon of the foot is theAchilles tendon, which runs from the calf muscle to the heel. The Achilles tendon makes it possible run, jump, climb stairs and stand on your toes.
Each component of your foot is necessary for the range of motion and mobility required in daily life. However, so many different parts means pain and other problems can develop in many parts of your foot. Foot tendinitis - sometimes spelled tendonitis - is a common cause of foot pain that occurs when a tendon becomes irritated or inflamed.
Tendinitis can affect any tendon in the foot, and since there are so many of them, it may be difficult to tell what you have if you’re in pain. Fortunately, there are some straightforward ways to identify your foot tendinitis and determine the best treatment based on the location of your symptoms.
What Causes Foot Tendonitis?
Understanding what causes tendonitis in the foot starts with knowing what a tendon is. A strong, cord-like band of tissue that connects muscle to bone, tendons can withstand a great deal of force, but they have limits. When a tendon works too hard for too long, or in the wrong way, tiny tears start to develop.
To cure these tears in your tendon, your body creates inflammation.According to Live Science, inflammation is a vital part of the immune system's response to injury and infection. It is the body's way of signaling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue.An inflammation in a tendon is called tendonitis, so it it's affecting a tendon in your foot, it's called foot tendonitis.
While tendinitis in the foot can be caused by a sudden injury, a much more common cause is overuse, or more specifically, the repetition of a particular movement over time. This is true for the various types of foot tendinitis that affect different parts of the foot. All share similarities and usually develop for similar reasons.
Athletes who push themselves too hard or people who spend lots of time on their feet both have a higher chance of damaging their tendons and getting tendinitis. Injuring the foot or ankle, as well as havingflat feetorhigh archescan also increase this risk. But the type of tendinitis that develops has to do with several factors.
What Are The Different Types of Foot Tendinitis?
The anatomical complexities of the foot mean there are a number of different types of foot tendinitis that can develop and cause you pain. While the best way to figure out which of these types you may have is to see a medical professional for a diagnosis, below are the different types of foot tendinitis, as well as their symptoms, causes and treatments.
Symptoms– Pain, stiffness, and possibly swelling will be noticed either right at the bottom of the heel or slightly above the ankle, depending on which part of the tendon gets inflamed. The pain is usually worse after taking the first few steps of the day or after long periods of rest.
Causes– The Achilles tendon is a large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel. A common sports injury,Achilles tendinitistends to develop when active individuals increase the intensity of their training too aggressively without enough time to recover. Having tight calf muscles or a heel spur will also add to this risk.
Treatment– Rest, ice, pain-relieving medications, and physical therapy are always recommended as the first line of treatment. Adding orthotic insolesis also a good way to address Achilles tendinitis, especially if a foot deformity like flat feet is contributing to the problem. Doing so will take some of the strain off the Achilles tendon and reduce damage to the tendon.
Posterior Tibial Tendinitis
Symptoms– Pain and possibly swelling will be centered on the inner side of the foot, which often arises when pushing off the foot. Pain may also occur on the outside of the ankle if the foot collapses.
Causes– The posterior tibial tendon attaches the calf muscles to the bones on the inside of the foot. It holds up the arch and supports the foot when walking. High-impact sports like basketball, tennis, and soccer, being overweight and old age can all lead toposterior tibial tendinitis. Individuals with flat feet are also at a higher risk.
Treatment– As with Achilles tendinitis, rest, ice, pain medications, physical therapy, and orthotics are most appropriate for managing posterior tibial tendinitis. Thebest insoles for posterior tibial tendinitiswill help correct flat feet and other types of foot problems. Cortisone injections may be needed if other treatments fail.
Symptoms–Peroneal tendinitis of the foot results in pain around the back and outer side of the ankle and foot, especially when standing or pushing off the foot. The ankle might also feel unstable during activities.
Causes– Two peroneal tendons wrap around the outside of the ankle. One connects to the little toe and the other to the big toe. Inflammation of these tendons usually comes from a history of ankle sprains, training too hard, wearing unsupportive footwear, or having muscle imbalances.High archesare also considered a risk factor.
Treatment– Rest, apply ice, use pain medications, and elevate the ankle above the heart when resting to manage the pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises for all the muscles of the calf will also reduce tension and speed up the healing process. Orthotics may be helpful, but for this type of tendinitis it’s best to seek medical advice to determine if they are best for your foot type.
Symptoms–Extensor tendinitis of the foot symptoms involve pain directly on the top of the foot, which gets worse with activity and better with rest. There may be some swelling, tenderness, or bruising in this area as well.
Causes– The extensor tendons run from the front of the ankle, across the top of the foot, and attaches to the tips of the toes. This type of tendinitis typically occurs in people who lace their shoes too tightly, walk or run on uneven surfaces regularly or spend lots of time on their feet. Tight calf muscles can also contribute to the problem.
Treatment– When it comes to extensor tendonitis for running, rest, ice, pain medications, and physical therapy are among the best ways to address the issues. It can also be helpful to change the way you lace your shoes. Try tying the knot on the side or skip lacing the holes over the most painful area. Orthotics may also help to support your feet, but speak with a doctor before doing so.
Symptoms– Pain is felt in the deep back of the ankle, on the side of the big toe, or in the arch of the foot, when the big toe is being bent.
Causes– The flexor tendon runs from the lower leg, along the inside of the ankle, and connects to the big toe. Inflammation of this tendon results from bending the big toe too much. Ballet dancers are most likely to develop flexor tendinitis, while athletes with flawed technique or the wrong shoes are also at risk.
Treatment– Rest, ice, pain medications, physical therapy, stretching, and gently massaging the painful toe are all recommended. Taping the foot to protect the arch may also help.
Anterior Tibial Tendinitis
Symptoms– Pain and possibly swelling develops in the front of the foot when walking or running on sloped surfaces.
Causes– The anterior tibial tendon lies on the inner front part of the ankle and helps to lift the foot and ankle upwards and inwards. It is one of the least common types of tendinitis, and inflammation occurs more frequently in older adults than athletes.
Treatment– Rest, ice, pain medications, physical therapy, and calf stretching are all appropriate. A brace or walker boot may also be needed to stabilize the ankle or limit its movement.
Treating Tendonitis In The Foot
As you can see, tendinitis of the foot can strike many places in the foot, but there is always a solution. The best treatment will usually consist of taking a rest from your activities, icing the painful area and using pain medications.Stretching out the connecting musclesand making adjustments to your shoes may also help.
Our pain relief insolesare ideal for addressing Achilles tendinitis and posterior tibial tendinitis, and may be appropriate for other types of tendinitis as well. Be sure to check with a podiatrist or sports medicine professional if you’re uncertain whether insoles are right for you.
An inflamed tendon in the foot can impact your exercise routine and daily life, but the good news is that it's usually a minor problem that you have the power to fix. Listen to your body, take time off when you need it, and make changes to your exercise habits as necessary. Your feet, and the rest of your body, will thank you.
Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.