Extensor Tendinopathy

A tendinopathy refers to a painful overuse injury of the tendons. In this case, it affects the tendons which run along the top of the foot and act to extend (‘pull up’) the ankle and toes. These tendons are the tibialis anterior, extensor hallucis longus, extensor hallucis brevis, extensor digitorum longus and extensor digitorum brevis. Together, the extensor muscles bring the toes and foot up toward the shin, in direct opposition to the larger calf muscles. If the calf muscle is tight this places more strain on the extensor tendons.

Extensor Tendinopathy

Extensor Tendinopathy Symptoms

Symptoms of an extensor tendinopathy include difficulty raising the foot, pain which worsens with hill running and climbing stairs, and in some cases mild swelling on the top of the foot. As with other tendinopathies, treatment consists of relative rest, soft tissue releases and a graduated strengthening program. Analysis of lower limb biomechanics is also important to identify underlying contributing factors.

Common causes of Extensor Tendinopathy

  • Overuse   i.e increasing activity levels
  • Abnormal Foot Position
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Muscle Imbalance
  • Poor & tight fitting footwear

Treatment for Extensor Tendinopathy

  • RICE – rest, ice, compression & elevation
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (Nurofen etc)
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Modify activity levels
  • Orthotics
  • Acupuncture & physical therapy

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