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Tibialis Anterior Tendon Inflammation

Tibialis anterior muscleThe tibialis anterior muscle is the large muscle that runs down the outside of the shin. Inflammation of the tendon sheath can cause pain at the front of the ankle.


Symptoms include pain when bending the foot and toes up. Swelling and redness over the front of the ankle where the tendon is. If you push your fingers into the tendon you can sometimes feel a creaking when you move the foot up and down. There may be weakness lifting the foot upwards which may result in a foot drop or slapping gait.

What is the tibialis anterior?

The tibialis anterior muscle is the large muscle that runs down the outside of the shin. Its tendon can be felt at the front of the ankle. Its purpose is to lift the foot up and inwards (dorsi flexion and inversion).

Inflammation of the tendon or the protective sheath that surrounds the tendon can arise through overuse particularly through running on hard surfaces or in racket sports where you have to change direction frequently.


What can the athlete do?

Rest until there is no pain. Apply ice for the first two days (20 minutes every two hours). After the initial inflammation has settled down apply heat and use a heat retainer. Put padding into the shoe if the shoe is pressing on the tendon or aggravating the injury. See a sports injury professional who can advise on rehabilitation.

What can a Sports Injury Therapist or Doctor do?

A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen and advise on a full rehabilitation program. They may apply a plaster cast if the injury is severe although this is rare.