Tendinitis and You


Dear Foot Blogger Chick,
When I was exercising a few weeks ago I noticed that my foot hurt on the inside of the foot.  It got worse the more I exercised and now it hurts all the time. How could the inside of my foot hurt? Do you think I broke bones in there?
My pain is a Mystery
Dear Pain,
It really might not be such a mystery. I want you to go to your friendly local podiatrist but I don’t think you broke a bone. I think that you would know it if you did that. You didn’t indicate that your foot was bruised or swollen when you first noticed the pain, which could be the indication of a break.
It is more likely that you have a case of tendinitis.  There are four major tendons in the foot. There is the large tendon in the back of the foot – the famous Achilles tendon, there is a tendon in the inside of your foot (the posterior tibial tendon), another in the front of your foot  (the anterior tibial tendon) and last but not least, one on the outside of your foot  (the peroneal tendon) .
A tendon is the tissue that connects a muscle to a bone. It is a tough band of tissue that is made up of fibers. Tendons are flexible and come in many sizes. There are tendons in your fingers to help move them. Those tendons are very small while the Achilles tendon in the back of your foot is the largest tendon in the body.
Most tendon injuries are from overuse. While I am sure this is not the case with any of the readers of this blog, the so called “Weekend Warriors” are known for injuring their tendons. The sudden increase activity can cause small tears in the tendon tissue. If the activity is continued without allowing the tears to repair, the tendon will become inflamed. Unfortunately most of us will ignore the first signs of tendinitis and keep going with exercise until the pain has become constant.
When you go to your friendly local podiatrist to have your foot checked, the doctor will ask you questions about your injury and then do a physical exam of the area. In most cases, you will not have to even have an x-ray. Tendinitis is generally diagnosed fairly simply with a physical examination of the foot and ankle. Sometimes, if the doctor is concerned that there could be something else that caused the tendinitis  an x-ray or MRI will be ordered. It could be  the doctor is concerned that there might be something wrong with the bone or the connections between the tendon, bone, and muscle.
In the meantime, what can you do to help with the discomfort?  If your foot is swollen, you can apply heat via a heating pad or hot towels to the tendon for 30 minutes two or three times a day.  If your foot is not swollen but is painful you can apply ice for about 10 minutes several times a day. If you can tolerate it, an over the counter ibuprofen can help with the inflammation and pain.
You will also need to slow down. Unfortunately, tendinitis is not a quick recovery injury. The tendons require rest so that they can recover. Perhaps if you are a runner, you can swim. In other words, select a different way to exercise and let the tendon recover. With some tendon injuries, if they are very painful, the doctor may give you a cortisone injection.  Cortisone injections are rarely given to the Achilles tendon due to the probability of the injection causing a rupture of the tendon.
So make sure you warm up and don’t overuse your tendons. The recovery can take a long time and the pain is not worth the overuse!
Your pal,
Foot Blogger Chick
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send them to footbloggerchick@gmail.com or leave them in the comment section below. I am not a doctor but I check with one before answering questions.
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