Anatomy & Background
The human ankle is a multifaceted joint complex comprised of three separate joints in the region where the foot and the leg meet. It is necessary for these joints to possess a certain degree of strength, as they support the weight of the entire body. Increased strength translates into increased stability leading to higher standards of weight bearing, mobility, and adaptability for the entire body. The ankle, in conjunction with the foot, allows us to perform basic human functions such as standing, walking, running, and jumping while serving as connection to the ground. Its physiology allows it to withstand the stress of our body weight, as well as the ability to adapt and quickly react to changes in the environment and walking surface.
What Causes Tendinitis of the Ankle?
Tendinitis of the ankle is caused when the connective tissues in the ankle become inflamed. Tendons connect the muscles of the leg and foot to the ankle bones, anchoring these muscles and making them capable of flexing and extending. The tendons of the ankle consist of the peroneals, anterior tibialis, and Achilles tendon. Any of these tissues can become inflamed and cause pain. There are four different types of tendinitis in the ankle: Achilles tendinitis, Posterior tibialis tendinitis, perineal tendinitis, and anterior tibialis tendinitis. Treatment is unique to each condition, and only a medical specialist will be able to give an accurate diagnosis after a thorough evaluation is performed.
In a majority of cases, tendinitis is caused by overuse. Ankle tendinitis is commonly caused by:
- Athletic activities that strain the ankle and foot (like soccer and running).
- Work injuries involving repetitive tasks, such as climbing up and down stairs.
- Sudden impact or trauma to the ankle.
- Individuals with pre-existing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Signs and Symptoms of Ankle Tendinitis
- Tenderness and pain directly over the joint
- Pain that may radiate down the foot or up the lower leg
- Burning sensation during activities
- Weakness of the affected area may increase as swelling becomes worse
- Loss of range of motion
The following are procedures and plans of care most commonly given to individuals who have ankle tendinitis
- Rest and Ice
- NSAID:Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
- Steroid injections to reduce swelling
- A prescription of pain medication to alleviate pain
- Splinting may be used to help speed up recovery
Many people experience a full recovery from ankle tendinitis. Once the inflammation and pain begins to subside, motion and strength will begin to be restored. The individual will slowly be able to resume daily activities. Instructions will be provided by the physician on how to return to daily activities, placing limitations on repetitions.