In this Article

Symptoms

Pain in the foot or ankle, and/or weakness are the most common symptoms of foot tendinitis. The pain will often get worse when trying to walk, or when doing other activities. The pain may also feel as though it moves down the foot or up the leg. Other symptoms may include:

  • Achiness in the foot and/or ankle
  • Snapping sounds or sensations in the ankle
  • Thickness at the heel or at the bottom of the calf muscle
  • Flat foot
  • Pain on the inside or back of the ankle

When to See a Doctor

The symptoms of foot tendinitis may mimic other, more severe conditions. If you have pain in the foot or ankle that doesn’t go away with rest, or worsens over time, see a doctor. Imaging tests may be needed to rule out or confirm foot tendinitis.

Causes

Foot tendinitis is sometimes caused by normal use and age but is more often brought on by overuse. This is most common in athletes because they perform the same motions over and over.

People that have flat feet also have a tendency to develop foot tendinitis.

Sometimes tendinitis happens because the tendon is injured.

Foot tendinitis can also occur with foot and ankle problems that have caused damage to the area, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Muscle tears
  • Dislocation
  • Other inflammation
  • Flat feet

Diagnosis and Tests

To diagnose foot tendinitis, your doctor will ask about your health history and your injury, and perform a physical exam. During this exam, the doctor may press on the area where the tendons attach to the calf or foot to see if they can feel any hardness or swelling. Your doctor may also ask you to move your foot and ankle to check your range of motion.

If your doctor finds that your symptoms are consistent with foot tendinitis, imaging tests, such as an x-ray or MRI may be ordered to confirm or rule out tendinitis.

Treatments

Treatment will depend on the severity and location of the tendinitis.

If your case is mild, non-surgical treatments, such as rest, ice, and medicine may be enough.

If your case is more severe, your doctor may recommend steroid injections, physical therapy, or surgery.

If your doctor recommends surgery, they will help you develop a rehabilitation plan that will help you with recovery. You may have to wear a brace or use another type of support during this recovery phase.

Prevention

It may not be possible to prevent tendinitis. However, stretching and using proper technique during your regular activities may help you prevent it. You may also be able to prevent tendinitis by easing up on regular activities.

Support and Resources

What is Foot Tendinitis?

Tendons are tough bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Tendinitis is when a tendon becomes inflamed due to injury or irritation. The tendons that are most likely to get tendinitis are the:

  • Achilles [ah-KILL-eez] tendon, which attaches the calf muscle (on the back side of your lower leg) to the back of the heel.
  • Posterior tibial [tib-EE-ul] tendon, which attaches the inside of the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot.
  • Peroneal [pair-uh-NEE-uhl] tendon, which attaches the outside of the calf to the outside of the foot.

Foot tendinitis [ten-duhn-EYE-tiss] is when one of these tendons becomes inflamed. When this happens, the tendon will swell and become irritated. In some cases, the tendon may harden (calcify) or cause a bone spur to grow.